From rapping alongside hip-hip legend Tupac in the 1990s to selling Arabic coffee in Saudi Arabia, Mutah Beale has seen it all.

Beale, best known to gangster hip-hop fans as Napoleon, converted to Islam after leaving his previous life in the United States and headed to Saudi Arabia where he now sells coffee.

After an 11-year journey as a rapper that saw him sell more than four million records, he told Al Arabiya that it was finally time to let it all go.

“I joined Tupac when I was only 15-years-old. I wrote lyrics and sang as part of the crew. After he died, I joined another where I was able to find some success. Under my leadership, we sold 40 million copies of one of the albums worldwide. I earned huge amounts of money, owned luxurious cars, private jets, mansions and all the false pleasure that you can ever dream of,” he told Al Arabiya from Abha.

“When I decided to retire, I had to pay the fines resulting from the termination of my contracts with the recording companies, and that’s what drove me to the starting point,” he said.

From hip-hop to coffee
Beale, who lived a life of hardships after his parents’ death during his childhood, had to sell everything he owned.

He then converted to Islam in 2001. He opened his own coffee shop in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE and plans to open a coffee cart service company in Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh.

Beale told Al Arabiya that his grandfather - originally from Cuba - would bring his family large amounts of coffee from Havana. He attributes his grandfather’s love for coffee as inspiration behind his determination to start selling it as a startup many years earlier.

The old rapper-turned-coffee seller revealed that he admires Saudi cuisine, especially the national rice and meat dish called the “Kabsa”. But asserts that it is the traditional Arabic coffee found in Saudi Arabia that he is really after.

It was once a cup of coffee that led him into meeting a group of Young Saudis who now work with him to launch a coffee cart project, set to be launched in the Streets of Saudi Arabia.

Beale eventually found marriage with a Yemeni woman and recounts the story behind meeting her for the first time.

“One day I was sitting at a coffee shop with some friends wearing a necklace with an Allah pendant, so a woman approached me and asked me if I was Muslim, I told her ‘yes’. She then told me that Muslims are not permitted to wear necklaces. I asked her for her father’s number and three months later we were married,” he recalls.

“We now have four boys and girls and my children speak fluent Arabic and plan on finishing their education in Saudi Arabia,” he added.