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Actor Tristan Wilds made a name for himself after his breakout role as Michael Lee on HBO‘s smash hit series, The Wire. With a name change and new direction, Tristan is now known as Mack Wilds as he embarks on a singing and rapping career.

The New York Daily News profiled the 24-year-old actor and followed him home to Staten Island’s Stapleton Projects where he grew up. He told the paper the meaning for the name change and why he’s decided to take up music at this juncture.

“For now, yeah, Tristan’s gone,” says Wilds to the Daily News. “Mack has a whole stronger meaning. It’s a name that my grandmother gave me.”

Although The Wire and Wilds’ current role on the CW’s 90210 series are how most of his fans know him, it appears music has been a part of his life long before the small and big screen. “This is who I am,” added Wilds. “I’m just a young kid from the Stapleton projects that’s trying to change the world.”

Wilds also lived in the rough neighborhood of Park Hill and has seen friends succumb to the violence that surrounded them. Despite fame, Wilds’ family still resides in the borough and they all confirmed his decision to become a recording artist has been in the works long before acting.

Wilds will release his debut album, New York: A Love Story, and it features Staten Island legends, the Wu-Tang Clan’s Method Man and Raekwon on a track. Besides repping Shaolin alongside the Wu, Wilds also remade a Michael Jackson classic, “Remember The Time.” And it appears his intentions are to go beyond just making a name for himself.

“People don’t make it out of Stapleton very often,” he said. “A lot of people don’t even leave Staten Island. I want the people in Stapleton to feel the same way that the people in [the Marcy Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant] feel. That hometown pride. What Jay Z did for Marcy, I want to do for Stapleton.”

New York: A Love Story will be released September 30.

Photo: Norman Y. Lono/New York Daily News

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