We've all heard it time and time again. The quintessential rapper line of "I'm not a rapper, I'm a....(insert profession of choice)" You're a what? Gangster? Hustler? Entrepre-negro? Actor?
Of all the aforementioned professions rappers pretend to moonlight as, none is as offensive as that of the accomplished actor or actress (aside from rappers taking on monikers including titles, like Dr. Dre.) I'm actually pretty sure than there are a myriad of med school students who've been in school their whole lives ready to f**k these guys up because they can't even call themselves Dr. quite yet. Nevertheless, 'fake-actors' are much worse because we end up sitting through their awful movies. As C-4 is our resident Nappyheaded actor (true story), I'll let him take this post...
C4 present's 1,2,3 and to the...Cut
"We're an endangered species. The rappers are getting all the good acting jobs." - Shawn Wayans as Ashtray in Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood.
Ever since Krush Groove, rappers have been in movies, and wanted to be in movies. Some feel like they're so talented they can just be crossover successes, some just wanna get paid. All of them had somebody hyping them up telling them how nice they were and just had the swag to pull it off. Besides, it's just acting. It's gotta be easy, right? WRONG N***A! Some of the worst, smelliest piles of steaming garbage marinated in diarrhea sauce have been put on screen courtesy of rappers. Others vary from the unembarrassing all the way to the respectable and even, dare I say, good.
So today C4 the Blog Killah, aka the Acting Headed Bro will break down the varying degrees of effectiveness (or impotence) of rappers in movies and TV using my patented 1-4 Masks rating system. Let's be nice and start with the best of the best, shall we?
Rappers Good Enough To Be Real Actors
Will Smith - Duh. This guy crossed over so well we don't even consider him a rapper anymore. He's too rich. Has too many credits. His sitcom stole his rap name and buried it, along with his DJ (who actually resurfaced and made some quality music recently, check out the Jazzy Jeff album, The Magnificent, from a couple years ago). He's the most successful box office draw in history, just STYLIN on Tom Cruise. nuff said.
Mos Def - Well I'll be darned, a trained actor. Someone who's studied the craft and takes it seriously. "Hahaha, there's no such thing." Shut the f*** up, hater who probably listens to Plies. His name is Mos Def, and he's given high caliber performances in HBO's Something The Lord Made, the Italian Job, Monster's Ball, Lackawanna Blues, Cadillac Records, and others. Son even did a premiere on Broadway opposite Jeffrey Wright (the Hov of actors... look him up) in the 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Top Dog UnderDog. The guy he replaced from the original TWO-MAN cast? Don Cheadle. (drops the mic, walks off stage)
Tupac Shakur - "You're right. I am crazy. But you know what else? I don't give a f***." This quote from Bishop in Juice (you know, that hood classic that if you don't own you're simply not as black as you think you are) could've been the slogan of this genius' short, amazing life. Just like his rap career, Pac gave us more noteworthy film performances than one would expect from a guy who died at 25. I'm 26 and I still don't have my first breakout film role (swigs from bottle of E&J). He killed it in Poetic Justice, then went on to do his thing in Gridlock'd and Gang Related. He was supposed to be O-Dog in Menace but the Hughes brothers backed out on him, after which he whooped they ass. Good ol' Pac. But seriously, Menace II Society would've probably stood the test of time better with Pac as O-Dog, and I'm not taking anything away from Larenz Tate. I'm saying son was that good. RIP
Ice Cube - The O.G. Oshea Jackson gets a lifetime acting pass for Boyz N The Hood, end of story. But w-w-w-w-wait it gets worse!!!! Then he upgraded to the premium membership with the Friday and Barber Shop movies. In fact, Ice Cube gets the Nappy-Headed Acting Lifetime Achievement Award. These classics help one forget BS like "Are We There Yet?" Yeah, and that XXX sequel, nah playa. But we overlook these things the way we overlook Blood On The Dancefloor, ya dig?
Interjectory Sidenote from Show: Michael Jackson & Chris Tucker!!? Blood on the Dancefloor was Hot! It was epic! All Major Networks (not music networks...I'm talking ABC, NBC, etc.) actually stopped network TV during primetime to debut this masterpiece from the Kaaaang of Pop.
Really good actors...for rappers.
I know what you're thinking. But Mr. M-E-F's stock rose steadily over the last four seasons of The Wire as Melvin "Cheese" Wagstaff, where he played a shady East Baltimore hustler lieutenant to Prop Joe. If that last sentence means nothing to you then get off the internet, go to your local Best Buy and cop the whole series ASAP. Yes, it's that serious, sucka. Four seasons on any series is big work, on HBO it's major work, and on The Wire it's classic work. But aside from The Wire, Meth has delivered solid performances alongside weed pal Redman in How High (even though let's keep it 100, these cats were just being themselves), in The Wackness, and in bit parts here and there in which he never played himself. It's all we can ask of a rapper really.
Method Man -
Method Man -
Queen Latifah - Remember at the end of Set It Off when she lit the cigarette, hit the switches on the hooptie then drove straight into a hail of police bullets with tears streaming down her face? That was ill right? So shut up! I don't care about Last Holiday, even though some people liked it. But she also did Chicago with Nicole Kidman, which was just a straight up good movie if not a hood movie. She's been on screen since her cameo in Juice as the chick monitoring the DJing auditions. She also gets a Lifetime Achievement Award for being the backbone of Living Single, the longtime Thursday night staple, right before or after Martin. Ya done know, bredren. SEEN?!
Ludacris - Show's favorite rapper! hahahahaha, let me stop before this gets edited out. Nah but seriously, I was really pleasantly surprised with his performance in Crash, which was good on some acting s***, not some "rapper in a movie" s***.
Show: Kewl Sideburns duuuuude. You look like a male escort. To each his own.
Luda also played a dude named Skinny Black in Hustle & Flow, in which he did his thing stuntin' on Terrence Howard, proving that it is in fact hard out here for a pimp.
Sidenote from Showrock: F**K LUDACRIS!
Cam'Ron - Don't laugh til you watch Paid In Full and tell me Killah ain't hold it down. Yes, I know he basically played himself on screen, but he did it right, and he was the third most important character behind Wood Harris and Mekhi Phifer. But just like in real life Cameron Giles can't just do something positive and let you praise him without following it up with the most ignant s*** in the world. Like peeing on a dude while saying "no homo" during Killa Season. Which is why you can't let rappers write or direct!!!! True Story.
Stay tuned for Part II. EEEEEEEEEEEther blog!!!!
Once more, to ya door, can't buy talent from the store...
Live, Love, F**k Ludacris (no homo)