2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals

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.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Nickelodeon's 27th Annual Kids' Choice Awards - Arrivals
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.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Ride Along - Fan Screening
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.

56th GRAMMY Awards - Press Room
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.

Tanqueray Trunk Show Launch
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.

"Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy" Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Departures
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.

2014 Gibson Brands AP Music Awards - Arrivals
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.

HBO Post Award Party Celebrating The 62nd Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals
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.

"Lone Survivor" New York Premiere - Arrivals
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.

"Noah" New York Premiere - Outside Arrivals
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.

Mayor Kasim Reed Host 2014 Atlanta UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball
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.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Black Music Honors

Keke Wyatt Announces That She's Pregnant With Her Tenth Child

Keke Wyatt has news to share that concerns expanding her family tree. On Monday (Oct. 14), the "If Only You Knew" singer revealed that she's pregnant with her tenth child.

"My husband Zackariah Darring and I are so happy to announce that we are expecting our new bundle of joy!" she wrote on Instagram. "We are excited to welcome the 10th addition to our beautiful family."

The vocalist continued to state that fans can follow her pregnancy journey on her YouTube series The Keke Show where she gives an intimate look at how she balances her career and motherhood.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

My husband Zackariah Darring and I are so happy to announce that we are expecting our new bundle of joy! We are excited to welcome the 10th addition to our beautiful family. Stay tuned for the release date & information for my new YouTube Series “The Keke Show” where you will see me balancing Wife, Mommy and Artist!!! Trust me.. it’s never a dull moment with my family. Love ya sugars💋💋💋 photo credit: @keever_west Styled/Designed by: @keever_west Asst: @freddyoart

A post shared by Keke Wyatt (@keke_wyatt) on Oct 14, 2019 at 4:43pm PDT

In an interview with The Christian Post, Wyatt said she believes she has "an anointing with motherhood" and looks at her children as fuel to keep striving in her career.

"I just don't believe in shutting down. I believe in that's what the Lord had for me," she said. "Babies don't get in the way of careers, we get in the way of careers. If that's what the Lord had for me from the very beginning, there's nothing nobody can do and nobody can say."

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Summer Walker's Debut Album Inspires Drake To Write New Music

Summer Walker's debut album Over It has everyone's heart aflutter, including Drake.

Off the heels of her debut project, the Atlanta songstress shared Drake's admiration for her project Sunday (Oct. 6) which included collaborations from Jhene Aiko, Usher. 6LACK and Bryson Tiller. Drake had a strong reaction to "Fun Girl," a track that speaks to the acoustic aura of her precious project, CLEAR.

Sharing his love with more than a few emojis, the rapper reveals the song inspired him to pen two new songs at the crack of dawn.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

So I guess fun girl is his favorite song on the album, mines isss... BODY🥰 what’s yours ?

A post shared by Summer Walker (@summerwalker) on Oct 6, 2019 at 3:02pm PDT

Summer and Drake worked together for the remix to her breakout hit, "Girls Need Love." In Billboard's  “You Should Know” series, the singer says the two met via Instagram after he gushed about her visuals to the original track. "He said, 'I saw your video on a bowling alley monitor. Thought it was cool,'" she recalled. She added it was Love Renaissance's Justice Baiden who talked her into asking Drake for the remix. The singer is signed to the label along with Grammy-nominated singer 6LACK.

Things have been looking great for the singer. Her album has topped Spotify and YouTube since it's release Friday and is expected to make a nice debut on Billboard's 200 charts.

Get to know the men behind Love Renaissance in our feature, LVRN's Reebok Collaboration Showcases Atlanta's Influence In Fashion.

 

Continue Reading
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Tinashe Resurfaces With Exciting Message: "I'm Back And Better"

Tinashe fans rejoice! After a hiatus, the Joyride artist resurfaced on Instagram Saturday (Sept. 28), in a brief video expressing that she's “back and better.”

After a tumultuous relationship with her label RCA, the singer-songwriter broke ties with the company. Since then, she's been hibernating in her “cave,” as she puts it.

"Creatively, I just feel like I needed to go through what I went through in order to be the person that I am today and to get back to my roots," she explained. "You pretty much put your heart and soul and emotions into all these songs and then you put them out there for the world to judge and tear down and pick apart. It's terrifying and it can really mess with your head."

 

View this post on Instagram

 

💔❤️

A post shared by Nashe if you’re nasty (@tinashenow) on Sep 28, 2019 at 11:04am PDT

In an interview with VIBE, Tinashe expressed how important it is for her to stay true to herself and artistry. “It’s not even necessarily speaking up but coming to your own conclusions yourself and owning your own instincts and trusting in yourself and creative power,” she said. “I think that’s something that is always important to continue to maintain. It’s easy for that sometimes to get derailed, and it’s important to come back to that.”

During her recent statement, she broke down the importance of art and how it should be expressed through individuality and free expression, sans any boxes or limitations. Making people happy through her music is the goal.

"Music and art are supposed to be these wonderful beautiful things that bring people joy and happiness, and that's really why I started making music in the first place—to give people something that means something to them,” she said.

Although Tinashe did not say when fans can expect new music, she did share a snippet of what she’s been working on in the studio in a separate post. “I’m too emotional.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I’m too emotional

A post shared by Nashe if you’re nasty (@tinashenow) on Sep 30, 2019 at 12:57pm PDT

Continue Reading

Top Stories