When one thinks of “rappers-turned-actors,” award-caliber performances aren’t what typically comes to mind. That’s because for every winning turn such as Queen Latifah’s Academy Award-nominated work in Chicago, there’s half-a-dozen-or-so like Nas’s in Belly (“I’ve been shot,” delivered in a monotone pitch as a bullet lodges itself in Nasir’s guts). Or, even worse, the painfully inept cops of hip-hoppers in straight-to-DVD fare (rent 1999’s Thicker than Water, starring Fat Joe and Mack 10, at your own peril).
Despite such an imbalance in quality, it’d be wrong to overlook the fact that several rappers have convincingly earned their cinematic stripes. The obvious example is Ice Cube, whose filmography speaks for itself; same goes with Will Smith, who, yes, was a legitimate rapper at one time. Common has gathered respect in Hollywood, and The RZA continues to snag A-list projects (he’ll next be seen in the November comedy Due Date, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and directed by The Hangover maestro Todd Philips).
This weekend, T.I. checks back into theaters with Takers, an action flick about a crew of bank robbers looking to make one final, and huge, score. Co-produced by T.I. and his Grand Hustle Entertainment partner Jason Geter, Takers allows the ATL superstar to bust guns (with fake rounds, mind you) and call the shots; it’s a positive step into leading man territory.
With Takers on the mind, XXL taps into Hollywood’s unstoppable trend not known as 3D: remakes. Picking a few choice rappers from hip-hop’s lot, we’ve envisioned five remakes that’d benefit from rapper slants. If there are any other Hollywood remakes you’d love to see a rapper take on, let us know in the comments section. Now, let’s start the show.
T.I. as “Elvis” in The King
This would be a clever play on words for Tip. In title alone, the 2005 independent drama falls right into the Atlanta rapper’s wheelhouse for obvious reasons (place the words “of the South” after The King and you’d have a T.I. biopic). Story wise, though, English filmmaker James Marsh’s quiet heart-grabber has nothing to do with rap supremacy. It’s the story of a just-discharged Navy man who heads to Texas to find his estranged father. Change the early setting from a Navy commune to prison, if anything, to bring it closer to T.I.’s comfort zone. If Tip hopes to be taken seriously as an actor, a project of this ilk would be a great look.