Overview
Jean Grae (born Tsidi Ibrahim, November 26, 1976) is a South African born American hip hop recording artist, actress, and comedian from Brooklyn, New York City. She rose to prominence in the underground hip hop scene in New York City and has since built an international fan base.

She was born in Cape Town, South Africa from musician parents who migrated to America during Apartheid.

Early Life
Jean Grae was born Tsidi Ibrahim, in Cape Town, South Africa, on November 26, 1976. The daughter of South African jazz musicians Sathima Bea Benjamin (17 October 1936 – 20 August 2013) a South African vocalist and composer, based for nearly 45 years in New York City and Abdullah Ibrahim (born Adolph Johannes Brand on 9 October 1934 and formerly known as Dollar Brand) a South African pianist and composer. She was raised in New York City, where her parents relocated after her birth. She studied Vocal Performance at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, before majoring in Music Business at New York University. She dropped out after three weeks of class.

Career
In 1995, she was discovered by George Rithm Martinez, when he recruited her for a five-song demo under the name of his group, Ground Zero. Their demo was critically acclaimed and earned the duo “Unsigned Hype” honours in The Source in March 1996.

She later joined a hip hop group called Natural Resource along with fellow rapper Ocean and disc jockey James “AGGIE” Barrett. In 1996, they released a pair of 12-inch singles called “Negro League Baseball”, “Bum Deal”, “They Lied”, and “Bum Deal (remix)”, “They Lied (remix)”, “I Love This World”, on their own label, Makin’ Records. She also appeared on singles by fellow Makin’ Records artists Pumpkinhead and Bad Seed, as well as on the O.B.S. (Original Blunted Soldiers) and produced much of the material released on the label under the pseudonym Run Shaw. Natural Resource dissolved in 1998, after which Ibrahim changed her stage name from (What? What?) to Jean Grae, a reference to the X-Men character Jean Grey. Under her new moniker, she released her first LP (Attack of the Attacking Things) in 2002, and followed it in 2004 with (This Week). Throughout her career she has also recorded tracks with numerous major hip-hop artists, Atmosphere, The Roots, Talib Kweli, The Herbaliser, Da Beatminerz, Phonte, Mr. Len, Masta Ace, Vordul Mega, C-Rayz Walz, Mos Def, Styles P, Pharoahe Monch and Immortal Technique among them.

Previously signed to Babygrande Records, she signed a deal in 2005 with Talib Kweli’s Blacksmith Records.
On September 18, 2008, Jean Grae posted a Craigslist ad offering her creative services for $800 for 16 bars. Since that time, all of her music has been self-released through her website and Bandcamp.

On June 23, 2011, after a three-year break, Grae released a free mixtape entitled Cookies or Comas, which features guest appearances from Styles P, Talib Kweli and Pharoahe Monch; it also includes the highly praised tracks “Assassins” from Monch’s W.A.R. album and “Uh Oh” From Talib Kweli’s Gutter Rainbows. This was followed on January 2, 2013, by the 10-track Dust Ruffle, featuring unreleased songs from between 2004 and 2010.

In December 2013 she combined the releases into one, entitled (Gotham Down Deluxe). In an interview on Judge John Hodgman late in 2012 she foreshadowed that her next full-length album would be called Cake or Death. More recently Grae has branched out from music, releasing the audiobook The State of Eh, in January 2014, and writing, directing and starring in the online sitcom Life with Jeanie. In 2013, she had a supporting role in the indie feature film Big Words and in 2015 appeared on the And (The Crime Ring) episode of CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls.