Former gangster rapper ditches the chains for coffee

A once world renowned gangster rapper has ditched the gold chains and baggy clothes for a life serving coffee and cakes.

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A once world renowned gangster rapper has ditched the gold chains and baggy clothes for a life serving coffee and cakes, UAE daily The National has reported.

Formerly known as The Outlawz’ ‘Napoleon’, Mutah Beale, converted to Islam in 2001 and moved to Saudi Arabia. But he also has a business venture in the northern Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah where he has ditched the “thug life” to focus on the “mug life” the newspaper added – having opened Mug Ways Café in November, 2015.

The Outlawz was a group founded by the late rapper Tupac Shakur - who was shot in September, 1996. Mug Ways café is Beale’s first specialist-coffee shop. The 38-year-old, who now works as a youth instructor in Saudi Arabia, enjoys selling lattes and cappuccinos to coffee lovers in the region.

With its wooden paneling and comfortable seating, Mug Ways Café fits in well with its coastal site. The coffee shop serves beans sourced from farms in Ethiopia, Mexico, El Salvador, and Rwanda.

It’s a big contrast to his former tough rapper past, with him now selling a selection of coffee and desserts, including chocolate cakes and waffles. Beale told The National he enjoyed the drive from Riyadh to RAK in order to spend Ramadan days breaking his fast with young Emiratis that visit his shop.

The Dutch entrepreneur and the café’s co-owner Anthony De Bruijn, who contacted Beale to bring his Mug Ways brand to the UAE, said coffee was a huge part of the culture.

“Unlike in the West, over here the hustle is not done in the streets," said De Bruijn. “It is mostly done in cafes and hotels over a cup of coffee.”

Beale said he always had a passion for finding a good coffee brew. This zeal for the brown stuff goes way back to his childhood in New Jersey.

“I also have some Cuban heritage,” he told the newspaper. “Some of my earliest memories of coffee are when some relatives brought over Cuban coffee to our house. Now I don’t know how they manage to get it past customs, but I remember I loved it so much, and since then I was hooked.”

Beale added that he hopes to further educate people about specialty coffee and develop it as part of the café’s philosophy.

The Mug Ways brand is looking to expand in Dubai and Muscat, according to the National.