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Tyrese wasn't always a first-name-only superstar -- he was born Tyrese Darnell Gibson in Watts, California on December 30th, 1978.

Tyrese grew up quickly in the Los Angeles ghetto, but in a positive sense: he was already singing when he was 14 and winning talent competitions, and counted future monomial star Brandy among his friends.

Not long afterward, Tyrese's foray into acting began -- although on a shaky start. In 1995, he went to an audition for a Coca-Cola commercial, landing the part even though he showed up over two hours late and had to beg to be heard.

But it was with modeling that Tyrese made his first splash, working for such big names as Tommy Hilfiger and Guess?. In between fashion shoots, Tyrese guest starred on a number of sitcoms in the late 1990s, including Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Martin, Sister, Sister, and Moesha. In the latter he reunited with childhood friend Brandy.

In 1998, Tyrese landed a record deal with RCA and released his first album, Tyrese. Starting off with the hit "Nobody Else" -- written by Tyrese for his girlfriend to assure her that he wouldn't let fame steal his heart -- the album was a great success, going platinum by selling over a million copies and earning him an American Music Award for Soul/R&B Favorite New Artist. "Sweet Lady," another track from his album, was nominated for the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Grammy Award.

As both musician and media personality, Tyrese next landed a job hosting the MTV Jams show and countdown, replacing former host Bill Bellamy. In spite of all the hard work and travel that it entailed, Tyrese was nevertheless committed to releasing his sophomore album, 2000 Watts, which was released in 2000. His third record, I Wanna Go There, was released soon afterward in 2002.

Right in the middle of a burgeoning singing career, Tyrese was poised to take Hollywood by storm as well. In 2001, he was cast in director John Singleton's Baby Boy, and Tyrese also sang the movie's theme song, "Just a Baby Boy" (from 2000 Watts), in collaboration with Snoop Dogg.

In 2003, he starred in 2 Fast 2 Furious, the sequel to the street racing action movie The Fast and The Furious. He's currently filming The Flight of the Phoenix, set for release in 2004, and has been cast as an undercover Los Angeles cop in the crime thriller Extortion, which is based on Tyrese's own idea.

Tyrese is also nominated for another Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for his hit single "How You Gonna Act Like That," from his album I Wanna Go There, for 2003.

Tyrese has become a multimedia success. Yet he never forgot where he came from and has donated his free time and money to helping underprivileged inner-city kids. He founded a charity organization, 2000 Watts, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Tyrese also participates in Charity Basketball. So it doesn't seem that things will ever get too fast or furious for Tyrese.

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