The Rhyme Of Film: 5 Of The Best Rappers/Actors

Sunday, November 20 by C.T. Wright

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From spitting rhymes on the block to starring in blockbuster films, the best rappers/actors have made the transition to the silver screen with resounding success. These five artists run the gamut from being the biggest movie stars in the world to garnering Oscar nominations and anchoring successful TV shows. For those that don’t know the background of their favorite rappers/actors, it might be a surprise to learn of their humble beginnings.

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Will Smith "In West Philadelphia, born and raised…" goes the song to "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." From those humble beginnings Smith went on to a platinum-selling rap debut with "Parents Just Don’t Understand" and starred in movies such as "Men in Black," "Ali" and "I,Robot." All stars fade with time, but nobody can deny that Smith shone the biggest and brightest in the world at the turn of the 21st century. He has most certainly gotten "jiggy with it" while laying claim to being one of the best rappers/actors ever.

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	<strong>Tupac Shakur</strong> Hip-hop icon, thug poet and martyr, Tupac parlayed rap success into roles in "Juice" and "Poetic Justice." A product of a <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/baltimore/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>Baltimore</a> performing arts school, acting was only the next step in Tupac’s <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/short/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>short</a> but stellar career. If he had lived to fulfill his promise he would definitely be feeling the "California Love" and will always be regarded as one of the best rappers/actors to have ever lived.</p>
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Queen Latifah/Dana Owens Known for her singles “U.N.I.T.Y.” and “Ladies First,” Latifah parlayed her rap success into a successful TV show and film career. She starred as strong-willed Khadijah in “Living Single,” helping to popularize the trunk jewelry/triangle earring craze at that time. Latifah later went on establish her street cred in “Set It Off,” Oscar-nominated success in “Chicago” and commercial comedic acclaim in “Bringing Down the House.”

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	<strong>Ice Cube/O'Shea Jackson</strong> Who’d have ever thought the “Predator” would end up making <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/family-films/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>family films</a> and TV shows, such as “Are We There Yet?” His role in “Boyz N the Hood” validated his on-screen <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/gangsta/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>gangster</a> persona, while “Friday” and “Barbershop” established his comedic sense. Ice Cube’s dramatic turn alongside <a href=George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in “Three Kings” was also impressive.

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	<strong>Mos Def/Dante Terrell Smith</strong> From his performance in “Cadillac Records” and “Monster’s Ball,” Mos Def has never disappointed on screen. He’s performed in plays and received critical acclaim for his work in HBO’s “Something the Lord Made” alongside thespian <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/alan-rickman/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>Alan Rickman</a>. Underregarded and underappreciated, he is clearly one of the best rappers/actors around. His theatrical integrity is matched only by his lyrical prowess and genuine love for hip-hop, which was innovatively displayed on his second solo album “The New Danger.”</p>
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