Diehard fans of HBO’s original hit series The Wire are overjoyed at the news that the show will be making a comeback to our TV screens just one day after Christmas on December 26th, 2014. The Baltimore-based show has been remastered in HD and will be airing in its entirety, and it will also be available for purchase via iTunes, Google Play, Xbox Video and Vadu come Monday, January 5th–making for the best holiday present ever!

I had the pleasure of chopping it up with Tray Chaney who played Malik ‘Poot’ Carr on The Wire. Tray opened up about what life after The Wire has been like for him, how he landed the role as Poot, the impact the show had on pop culture, his relationship with Mack Wilds (who also starred on the show), some of the craziest groupie stories he’s encountered, fatherhood, his music career and much, much more. Click below to check out the full IFWT exclusive interview with Tray Chaney and make sure to check out all five seasons of The Wire if you’ve been deprived thus far of such greatness!

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In Flex We Trust: HBO’s original hit-series The Wire is making its way back to a TV screen in HD starting up again on December 26th and will be available for purchase on January 5th in its entirety. Since it has been a total of six years since The Wire has aired on TV, the anticipation is serious. What kind of feedback have you been getting as a cast-mate on the show after the announcement was made?

Tray Chaney: There has been a huge amount of positive feedback because just thinking back when The Wire first premiered in 2002, social media wasn’t popping like it is now. People that heard about the show but never watched it now can finally tune into one of the greatest TV shows on the planet!

IFWT: Your career kicked off when you were cast as Malik ‘Poot’ Carr on The Wire. How did you hear about the casting call and how fast was the process before you found out you got the job?

TC: Well I’m from Forestville, Maryland (if you walk two miles from where I am from, you’re in the heart of Washington, DC.) So that being said, I rep my city to the fullest and a women by the name of Linda Townsend who lived in the Maryland area had a management company and heard about me wanting to make a transition from being an R&B/ Hip-Hop dancer to an actor. She got in contact with me through some of the local radio stations here and asked if she could submit me for a show called The Wire. I was like “sure, why not.” So she submitted me for an audition, and I had to go to Baltimore to see a women name Pat Moran. I read for the character ‘Wee-Bay’ and I was called back two weeks later to read for David Simon (the creator of the show) and some of the producers. Another week went by and they called me and said I didn’t get the role of Wee-Bay, but I was casted as the character Malik ‘Poot’ Carr. This was actually my first role ever!

IFWT: What were you doing with your life prior to working on the show?

TC: I was just a young kid in Forestville hanging with the wrong crowd and getting in trouble in school, worrying my parents like crazy! I always had that dream of wanting to become an entertainer, though. So I put in work and made it happen!

IFWT: On the show, your character was a troubled teenager who got caught up in the harsh reality of the street life. What was your actual childhood like compared to your character as ‘Poot?’

TC: Well one thing I didn’t do was try to be somebody I wasn’t. I remember trying to sell drugs once but it just wasn’t for me because I kept getting caught *chuckles* So that ended then just growing up and being a follower trying to do what everyone else was doing on a negative vibe didn’t get me any where, either. It took something tragic to happen where one of my best friends got murdered in the early 2000s for doing the same things I just described. On a sad and unfortunate note, that woke me up and I had a choice to either keep doing what I’m doing or make a change and strive to be a leader and follow my dream! I chose to follow my dreams .

IFWT: As an AVID fan of The Wire I just have to ask, what was it like killing Wallace? Did you feel like you really killed one of your best friends? I cried for days after that episode!

TC: Yes! That was the toughest scene I had to do on the show. While working on set with Michael B Jordan, of course a brotherhood was established and we really became tight in real life so when it comes to that scene, those were actually real emotions/tears! To this day, it is still a heartfelt scene that I really don’t like to think about!

IFWT: Did you receive any backlash from the fans after you pulled the trigger on Wallace?

TC: Of course! I still get people coming up to me asking “WHY DID YOU KILL WALLACE?!” I have to explain to people all the time about that scene! It’s written beautifully in a way where it’s like I’m taking him out of his misery from suffering!

IFWT: What was your favorite scene that you filmed for the show?

TC: I love the scenes with Bodie (JD Williams) and myself. I mean, our chemistry was just flawless. That scene where I tell him, “World goin’ one way, people another, yo.” We just had classic lines together!

IFWT: Least favorite?

TC: Of course killing Wallace. Such a tear jerker!

IFWT: Did you and everyone who started off working on the show initially think that The Wire would be as influential as it ended up becoming?

TC: I think I can speak for the cast on that by saying NO! None of us knew this show would be apart of pop culture! We did know we were working/filming something special, but I don’t think anyone’s expectations were that high! I know mine weren’t!

IFWT: There have been tons of mixed opinions on the issues presented throughout the show, receiving both praise and backlash. In your personal opinion, what kind of impact has The Wire had on both urban culture and the perception of law enforcement throughout its run on TV?

TC: Well one thing I can say is David Simon and those producers/writers were way ahead of their time. Especially with the wiretaps, the show portrayed different ways to catch people doing wrongful things. The world of law enforcement today as you can see is worse. I mean, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner & the list goes on about the unfairness/no justice system that we as African-American men are faced with today! It’s sad. I feel when people watch The Wire, they will understand the story of our society as a whole. All the different stories and topics captured throughout all 5 seasons are things that still happen every day in every hood.

IFWT: What’s the craziest fan (or groupie) story you’ve encountered?

TC: Groupies are going to be groupies from time to time. It’s kind of crazy because I get attacked a lot when I’m in the streets from people telling me to sign body parts that they shouldn’t share in public to have me call their boyfriends to tell them they coming home with me. Just real weird stuff every time I step foot out of the house! I love my fans though, so it’s all good!

IFWT: Aside from The Wire, what other acting roles have you landed throughout your career?

TC: I starred in the Meek Mill film called Streets. It was dope to work with Meek! I’ve produced two films also; one called Dead Money starring my DC brothers Anwan ‘Big G’ Glover & Clifton Powell and also a film called 6 Hearts 1 Beat, which is a dope love story. I can’t share the details of the network that the movie will air but it’s coming! And I’ve just been auditioning and working to get more dope roles!

IFWT: So after you and your cast members wrapped up filming, what has life after The Wire been like for Tray Chaney? What are some of your newest career endeavors?

TC: I wrote a book called “The Truth You Can’t Betray.” I stay on tour all year round with the positive initiative music by educating young people to read more, prevent bullying and also my dedicated father movement is making a huge impact around the world after the video caught the attention of REVOLT, MTV Jams & BET. It’s some great things lined up down the pipeline & I’m just blessed to be able to share them with the world.

IFWT: So aside from being an actor, you also rap. It is the age of the “SoundCloud rapper” and everyone is trying to get on. What makes you stand out differently from these others as an artist?

TC: What makes me stand out is I’m being myself, and I’m giving you thought provoking meaningful music that your whole family can relate to. I found that this positive initiative lane didn’t bring me a record deal, but I get invited to the White House, which in turn I could run around and do shows to provide for my family. Just putting out more positive energy makes me stand out!

IFWT: Since you are an artist, this is an extremely important question that I HAVE to ask. Who is your personal “Top 5 Dead or Alive?”

TC: Biggie, Jay Z, Nas, Kanye, Eminem! Those guys give me chills and make me work harder in the studio.

IFWT: You’re not the only actor-turned-musician to come from The Wire. What kind of relationship do you and Mack Wilds (who played Michael on the show) have? Do you two still stay in touch on a regular basis?

TC: Mack Wilds is my brother. That dude is humble and we talk from time to time! One thing I can say is anytime I’ve reached out, he has answered and is always willing to see how we can make something happen! Who knows!

IFWT: Can we expect a musical collaboration in the future from the two of you?

TC: I’m getting ready to call him now so we shall see!

IFWT: Your EP entitled Open & Honest is set to drop sometime in January of 2015. What is the main message you’re trying to get across throughout the project, and what can we expect from it?

TC: Open & Honest Is a different kind of sound for me because people are use to hearing one side but now it’s time to give y’all some of my struggles and let you know everything is not all good all the time. It’s real and even with my “I Want To” single that’s getting played on WPGC 95.5 right now, it shows I do like to go out and have a great time at the club, Drink DUSSE, ride around in a limo for no reason just because I want to. So this project is edgy but still positive.

IFWT: Describe your sound in three words.

TC: Meaningful, clear, and honest.

IFWT: Who is currently on heavy rotation on your playlist?

TC: J. Cole, Drake & Childish Gambino! These guys are just great at what they do.

IFWT: You’ve been married for quite some time, which is very rare in this industry. Give us a little insight into your relationship with your wife?

TC: 10 years of marriage to the woman that stuck by my side when nobody was here! Ayesha is just a super dope and wonderful women, amazing mother of my kids, life partner and will ride or die on everything. I really mean that!

IFWT: What can fans expect to hear and/or see from you in 2015?

TC: More music, more videos, TV and films. 2015 is going be a huge year. I shot 11 videos on Mrtraychaney.com and I got plenty more coming to the website! So much is happening and I’m loving every minute of it!