Rappers are the stars of 12 of the best movies ever made.
Published by Jerrica Tisdale on August 31st, 2014.
Although rapping and acting may appear to be completely unrelated, many renowned actors have started out as rappers (and some still do both). In addition to Ice Cube and Ice Cube, Queen Latifah and Will Smith have each made a successful shift from rappers to actors, and Ice Cube has starred in a number of popular franchise movies, including Ride Along. While hip-hop music has been the driving force behind a lot of fantastic movies, rappers have also made some excellent films.
In order to compile this list, I’ve chosen a few notable films that include rappers in a supporting or starring role. Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable films starring rappers.
1. Set It Off – Queen Latifah
It is a film about four women who heist a bank. Jada Pinkett, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, and Kimberly Elise star.
After losing her job as a bank teller, Frankie (Vivica A. Fox) joins her three friends in cleaning houses. After some hesitation, she and her companions decide to organize a bank heist after becoming fed up with how life has treated them. In 1996, Queen Latifah was still a well-known rapper when Set It Off debuted. Since then she’s acted in a few films, such as Juice 2 and House Party 2, and released an album called Black Reign few years ago. At the same time she was the star of the sitcom Living Single, Queen Latifah participated in the film Set It Off.
2. Poetic Justice – Tupac
Two pals who are compelled to go on a road trip by their friends are played by Janet Jackson, Regina King, Tupac Shakur and Joe Torry in Poetic Justice. They begin their relationship as adversarial, but as they get to know each other and fall in love, it becomes less so.
Janet Jackson and Tupac’s connection makes Poetic Justice a superb love drama. Strictly 4 My Life N.I.G.G.A.Z. was released in 1993, and Tupac had just released his second studio album at that time. After 1992’s Juice, he starred in Poetic Justice. The film was released at a time when Tupac was at the height of his fame.
3. Friday – Ice Cube
It’s Friday, a comedy about two men living in South Central Los Angeles. Chris Tucker and Ice Cube star. The hood is portrayed in a more humorous and comedic way. Bernie Mac, Regina King, Nia Long, and John Witherspoon appear in Friday’s all-star comedic lineup. In the end, there would be two more Friday sequels. Ice Cube contributed to the screenplay as a co-writer. His co-writer DJ Pooh apparently wanted to make a film that highlighted a more positive side of hood life. After four solo albums, Ice Cube was in the middle of his career as a solo artist when Friday was released. The most recent being Lethal Injection, which came out in 1993. It wasn’t the first time Ice Cube has appeared on television or in the movies.
4. 8 Mile – Eminem
B-Rabbit (Eminem), a black combat rapper who lives in Detroit, is the subject of the semi-autobiographical film 8 Mile. When it comes to raising his younger sister and dealing with an erratic mother, B-Rabbit has his work cut out for him in this flick. Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, Kim Basinger, Anthony Mackie, and Michael Shannon are all in the cast of 8 Mile. ‘ “Lose Yourself” from 8 Mile received the best original song Oscar in 2003. The Eminem Show, Eminem’s fourth studio album, was released in the same year as 8 Mile. 2002’s best-selling record was a follow-up to the success of the album.
5. Bad Boys -Will Smith
Bad Boys, a Michael Bay-directed buddy cop drama starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, is out now. Films Bad Boys I and II followed in 1995, and there are plans for a third feature, Bad Boys for Life. Bad Boys marked the beginning of Will Smith’s rise to mega-stardom. On The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, he had already made a name for himself, but Bad Boys was his first significant box office hit, and it led to Independence Day. Although his film career began with Bad Boys, he continued to make rap albums as a solo artist following the film’s release, such as 1997’s Big Willie Style.
6. Girls Trip – Queen Latifah
Girls Trip, starring Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah, also features Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish. The plot revolves around a group of four closest friends who have recently become estranged taking a journey to New Orleans to rekindle their friendship. Things get out of hand quickly. In 2017, Queen Latifah released Girls Trip, her first rap album in seven years. In 2017, she was a well-known name in the cinema and television industry. During the release of Girls Trip, Queen Latifah appeared on Fox’s television show Star.
7. Boyz N The Hood – Ice Cube
Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long, Regina King, and Angela Bassett appear in Boyz N the Hood. Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is sent to live with his father in South Central, LA, the focus of the film, which follows Tre’s journey. There is a lot of violence and devastation Tre, his family, and friends have to deal with because they live in an area infested by gangs. Ice Cube’s debut feature film, Boyz N the Hood, was released in 1995.
John Singleton directed Boyz n the Hood, which earned him an Academy Award nomination, making him the youngest filmmaker nominated in Academy Awards history. Death Certificate, Ice Cube’s second studio album, was released in 1991. In the same year, N.W.A. released their second and final studio album, Niggaz4Life, but Ice Cube had already departed the group.
8. House Party – Kid ‘n Play
House Party features Kid ‘n Play, a hip-hop group. Before, during and after the large party are all included in this film’s narrative. House Party also has supporting performances by Robin Harris, John Witherspoon, Martin Lawrence, and Tisha Campbell. All except one of the film’s four sequels contain Kid N’ Play. Earlier this year, it was announced that LeBron James would be making another House Party film. Kid ‘Play released their second studio album Funhouse in 1990, the same year House Party was released.
9. ATL – T.I.
Rashad (T.I.) is an adolescent growing up in Atlanta in the coming-of-age dramedy ATL. An issue that is addressed is that of Rashad, along with his family, attempting to break through the limits of their high school experience. Evan Ross, Lauren London, and Big Boi from Outkast are also in the cast of ATL. T.I. made his film debut in ATL. He went on to appear in prominent Hollywood films like Ant-Man and the Wasp, Entourage, and Sleepless after that.. King, T.I.’s fourth studio album, was released in the same year as ATL. Grammy nominations for Best Rap Album and Rap Artist of the Year were also made in the same year.
10. Juice – Tupac
Juice, a 1992 film starring Omar Epps, Tupac Shakur, Khalil Kain, and Jermaine Hopkins, tells the story of four Harlem teenagers. Rival gang battles and police harassment are part of their everyday routine. Tupac made his film debut with Juice. During the height of Tupac’s rap career, it was released as a film. Tupac released his debut solo studio album, 2Pacalypse Now, a year before the film’s premiere. “If My Homie Calls” peaked at number three on the Billboard charts in 1992.
11. Den Of Thieves – 50 Cent
In Den of Thieves, Gerard Butler, O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube’s son), 50 Cent, and Pablo Schreiber feature in a crime thriller that was released in 2018. It is Detective Nicholas (Gerard Butlerjob )’s to halt an organized crime syndicate that plans to rob the Federal Reserve Bank of Los Angeles. It is Ray’s (Pablo Schreiber) job to head up the crew.
The Den of Thieves sequel was announced in 2018 and could feature the return of Gerard Butler and O’Shea Jackson Jr. Den of Thieves was released at a period when 50 Cent had successfully transitioned from music to filmmaking. Den of Thieves was released while he was playing a major role on Power. Street King Immortal, 50 Cent’s future album, was released in 2014, although the rapper is still working on it as of 2020.
If you’re looking for some lesser-known recommendations, Disorderlies, Vengeance, Dope, and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai are just a few of the many outstanding rap-themed films out there.
If you’re a fan of rappers and acting, you’ll want to check out some of the films on this list, many of which can be streamed or rented.
I grew up and went to college in Evanston, Illinois, where I lived for the majority of my life. To express my interest for all things entertainment-related, I’ve written a variety of articles and blog posts. Writing about pop culture isn’t the only thing I do when I’m not channeling Gordon Ramsay.