Nisha Gopalan
June 18, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

In his television acting debut on ”The Shield”’s June 15 finale (FX, 10 p.m.), OutKast’s Andre 3000 (ne and credited as Andre Benjamin) solves an age-old conundrum: how to get rid of those pesky hookers working it outside your store. ”He took a water hose,” says Benjamin of his character, ”and he ‘was just hosing down the ho’s.”’ (And that, folks, is one of his actual lines.) Edging out other big-name hip-hoppers, the 29-year-old was chosen to play a feisty comics-shop owner who makes like a vigilante to rid his hood of vice. This is the first of Benjamin’s serious forays into acting: He’ll star alongside Uma Thurman in February’s ”Be Cool” (a sequel to 1995’s ”Get Shorty”), he’ll film a musical with OutKast partner Big Boi in late summer, and he hopes to team up with producer Brian Grazer to play Jimi Hendrix in a feature film. ”It was cool to find out that I wasn’t playing, like, a dope dealer,” the dapper rapper enthuses about his Shield role. ”I just had to let all vanity go. When you’re an actor you have to be that character.” And sometimes that means ignoring your better instincts. Says Benjamin: ”Andre would not hose down a ho, because the pimp might come back and shoot me.”

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