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NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Will Smith attends the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)

Two Checks: The Most Successful Rappers Turned Actors

We hear complaints from educated, esteemed Hollywood and aspiring actors every so often that rappers and singers are snatching their coveted roles right from under their noses. Although there may be some truth to that argument, some rappers really do have acting chops and real talent. Some would argue fans enjoy their acting careers better than their songs.

Will Smith, an undeniable force in Tinsel Town, went from the summer-time anthem "Summertime" and "Parents Just Don't Understand" with bandmate DJ Jazzy Jeff to the classic and family favorite 90s sitcom Fresh Prince of Bel-AirMen in Black, Hitch and a dozen other highly-acclaimed feature films. Smith has taken the acting world by storm, all from a background in music.

But there are a handful of rap superstars whose acting careers have been so successful you may have forgotten they initially began with a career in music. We gathered the top eleven rappers turned actors who have, without a doubt, transitioned from the studio to in front of the big screen.

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LL Cool J

Mama said knock you out! Or did she say knock this acting career out of the box with a successful career in award show hosting, TV sitcoms (In The House, CSI) to feature film Deliver Us From Eva and more.

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Ice Cube

No more N.W.A. Bring on the R.W.A, "rappers while acting." This California rapper turned actor launched one of Hollywood's classic series to date, Friday to funny movie All About the Benjamins.

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Queen Latifah

All hail Ms. Dana, also known as the woman who can do anything. From rapping "Who You Calling a B*tch" to 90s TV staple Living Single to her own talk show, times two, to feature films including Set it Off.

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Common

Don't let his charming smile fool you, conscious rapper Common is extremely multi-dimensional. From community awareness to acting to albums, this Chicago native can do it all.

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Andre 3000

This eclectic rapper, one half of the Atlanta rap-duo Outkast, isn't just confined to a music studio, making waves in Hollywood, with leading roles in Four BrothersIdlewild alongside Paula Patton and the Jimi Hendrix biopic, All Is By My Side.

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Ice T

Who'd ever think that Ice-T, the 80s rapper who was known for his anti-police lyrics would actually play a cop on the silver screen? Ice T, born Tracy Lauren Marrow, plays Detective Fin Tutuola in NBC's Law & Order: SVU and is pretty darn good at it.

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Mos Def

Regarded as one of hip-hop's most introspective and insightful artists, Mos Def has played in over twenty projects, better known for his roles in Brown Sugar, Carmen: A Hip Hopera alongside Beyoncé and Monsters Ball.

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Mark Wahlberg

Some 90s babies probably aren't hip to the fact that before there was Mark Wahlberg, he was affectionately known as Marky Mark from the hip-hop band Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Before he hung up his mic, Wahlberg took Hollywood by storm, starring in films such as Ted, Transformers: Age of Distinction, and The Other Guys starring Will Ferrell amongst dozens others.

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50 Cent

Ever since his breakout role in Get Rich or Die Trying, the feature film loosely based on the New York rapper's life, 50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson is now a celebrated and esteemed actor in his own right. Starring in All Things Fall Apart, Righteous Kill with Hollywood veterans Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. Jackson not only acts but produces movies as well.

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Ludacris

The Atlanta born rapper is just too fast and too furious for competitors who try to keep up with him. The "Lovers and Friends" rapper has starred in one of the most popular movie series to date, Fast and Furious, and Academy Award nominated Crash and Hustle & Flow.

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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

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Actress Gabrielle Union attends the Being Mary Jane premiere, screening, and party on January 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
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BET To Unveil Edible Billboard For 'Being Mary Jane' Wedding Finale

As Being Mary Jane comes to an end, BET is willing to offer fans a taste of what's to come in the series finale.

The network has enlisted the help of Ayesha Curry, celebrity cook and cookbook author, to create an edible billboard that also doubles as a wedding cake. The sweet treat will commemorate Mary Jane's (played by Gabrielle Union) nuptials in the two-hour series finale.

On April 20 from 1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal in New York, fans will be presented with the edible billboard. At the intersection of Ashland Place and Hanson Place, the closer Being Mary Jane enthusiasts get to the billboard the quicker they'll notice that the four-tiered wedding cake is created from individual boxes, each containing a slice of Curry's prized wedding cake.

All fans have to do is pull a box from the billboard, snap a picture for the 'Gram, take a bite and enjoy. Although lovers of the show won't be able to celebrate with Mary Jane herself, biting into a slice of her wedding cake, for free, is the next best thing.

Don't forget to tune into the series finale of Being Mary Jane on Tues. (April 23) at 8/7 c.

Also, check out what's to come on the series of Being Mary Jane below.

Save the date! 👰🏾It'll be worth the wait. Join us for the series finale of #BeingMaryJane TUES APR 23 8/7c only on @BET! pic.twitter.com/jEwkbC71OW

— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 29, 2019

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