Why rappers want to be actors

Lost in all the hoopla these past couple of days re: Fiddy, G-Unit, Dipset and what have you (you could say we were knee deep in it) was this story in Newsweek on the new most powerful man in Hollywood – who just so happens to be a member of the hip-hop community. Well, sort of.

Going on 20 years after the fact, it’s weird to think that Will Smith began his career as “just” a rapper, rather than an actor. Though he’s put out albums at least as recently as 1999′s god-awful Willenium, he’s been in TV and film for most of the time he’s been a public figure. And he’s been ridonkulously successful at it – so much so, in fact, that he’s now considered the most powerful actor in Hollywood.

As the story in Newsweek explains, it used to be the case that power lists in Hollywood were topped by either Tom Hanks or Tom Cruise. But recently, both of them have fallen off – Tom Cruise went all crazy on Oprah that time and hasn’t been quite right since, and Tom Hanks has grown a bit too long in the tooth to play anything other than somebody’s grandpa.

Will Smith, meanwhile? Not so much. At 38, he’s not exactly a spring chicken, but you know how black people tend to age better than white people. Nullus. She’s not the mother of all of his kids, but there haven’t been any rumors of him creeping around on Jada Pinkett, especially with any young white chicks. And, perhaps most importantly, he’s yet to be invited to any $cientology meetings.

Since 1996′s Independence Day, which grossed over $800 million worldwide, he’s been in a pretty steady string of hit movies, including the likes of Men in Black, Hitch, and I, Robot.. Even the relatively dark (by Will Smith standards) The Pursuit of Happyness, for which he was nominated for last year’s requisite Magical Negro Oscar, was one of last year’s highest grossing films.

The Newsweek story doesn’t provide any clue as to his net worth, but you have to assume this jig is getting over like a fat rat. The best paid actors in Hollywood are making $25 million per film up front, not to mention whatever insane amount they make on the back end, provided the film becomes a big hit. And obviously that’s been the case more often than not with Will Smith.

Is it any wonder, then, that so many rappers attempt to make the leap to a career in film? (The other day, when Miss Jones suggested Fiddy Cent was about to give up rap music for a career in film, he replied that she must have been reading his mind.) I mean, even shitty actors were making more money than rappers back when hip-hop was still worth a shit, let alone in a time like this.

  • JT

    Ice Cube successfully has one foot in both the movie and rap worlds, and is doing pretty well.

    However, a bunch of others rappers are mediocre in both (Mos Def, Method Man, etc.)

  • Dipset

    Fuck Movies!! rappers should invest in the gaming industry!!! It made more money than hollywood last year!!

    And what I mean by games is not to make a crappy game of yourself like the leader of the newly dying lable G-unit “Bugs Monkey” did. I mean help fund a good game like a halo, gears of war type shit!!

    Thats were the money is!!

    Ya Dig??

  • c boog

    Sloopy sixty-fifth

  • http://www.plasticsquirtguns.blogspot.com thoreauly77

    what, no hate? why would anyone not want to be an actor? er, a successful one at least? good post bol.

  • Dr Flav

    Im going to let the pistol go in your temple if you type “magical negro” one more time, then shoot myself for laughing at the term. seriously though, I could use some magical powers right now. Method Man got busy on CSI last night, so rappers/actors are not such a bad thing if they do it right.

  • DICK DONDI

    first!

  • me

    i love you (no homo)

  • powerplay2k6

    first

  • Hip-hop is on the phone

    I got to say this shit fuck yall who hate, i’ve never been firsttttttttttttttttttt
    hahahahahahahhah

  • John Brown

    Will Smith has stayed relevant becuase he had a hit TV show “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”. You can really say that the show opened more doors to him. I mean I was watching his latest movie “The pursit of happyness” and man that shit is of the chain. I dont care if he isnt fighting aliens or robots or giving dating tips. But the acting that he did on that movie was second to none. I dunno about being the most powerful actor in hollywood though I mean will is a good actor but Denzel is a better actor, shit Denzels character in Training Day can easliy beat any of Wills characters.

  • Incilin

    I’ve heard DMX say one time that he made more money in one film than he did in his entire rap career.

  • tray

    The whole rapper becoming actor, could work 90 percent of these cats already acting.

  • My Effin’ Opinion

    In my opinion, Will was never really a “rapper”. When he first began, his songs were comedic and entertaining. Will was an all-around entertainer. I get the impression he used rap to ‘break into’ the entertainment industry, but he always had his mind set on bigger things (no OUT magazine’s top 50 gay people article). Will deserves all the money he’s earned (not to mention that Will is a real actor unlike rappers who are only employed play rapper/gangstas as extras so the Director can use said rappers “name” to attract a wider audience and get that “hip hopper” money as well).

    I got alotta respect for the hip hop artists who represent our culture by showing that just cuz you come from the ghetto and rap, doesn’t mean you can’t be an entrepreneur (i.e – Ice Cube, Ice-T, Will Smith, Queen Latifah, etc.)

  • these posts are racist

    Hats off to Will Smith, he did his thing. Him and Jazzy Jeff were the first rappers to win a grammy (which they rightfully boycotted at the time) and now he is the biggest movie star. Mad props to Will Smith…and Pursuit of Happyness was a great movie.

  • jimmy starburst (live from south africa)

    there must be a power vacuum in hollywood if will smith is its number one man.

    and don’t he and jada have an ‘open’ relationship?

  • NoMamesBuey

    FUCK WILL SMITH THAT NICCA DISSED RAP AWHILE BAC HOW QUICKLY WE FORGET. WELL GANGSTA RAP BUT HE STILL DISSED RAP .

  • http://www.msn.com King Ben U Beezy !

    Will Smith was voted that because white people accept him. Never was there a scandal involving him, nor did he smoke weed or slap hoes asses in his videos. He is talented, you can’t deny that, yet he is the closet thing to a white black guy, thus newsweek one of the whitest magazine around name him their most powerful actor in Hollywood.

  • EReal

    Rappers have to. Everyone is stealing their music, so they arent eating as much off it. Rappers have to branch out into other ventures, basicly being a rap star, your image is worth more than your music and JayZ has proved that. Companies, Films, ect. Want to attach that certin are of ‘hipness’ and ‘culture’ to their brands and bring in the people who spend money like todays their last day on earth, the hiphop community. Im not mad it man, these rappers are usually better actors than some of these shit stains that are in all the movies now.

    1 hunned.

  • http://www.msn.com King Ben U Beezy !

    Pursuit of happiness is regurgitated bullshit they push on us every holiday season. That movie sucked massive cock.

  • Meka Soul

    >Though he’s put out albums at least as recently as 1999’s god-awful Willenium…>

    there was that other “album” where he was trying to re-introduce that “switch!” dance from house party. and that shit sammich still sold more than memphis bleek.

    damn.

  • Meka Soul

    >I got to say this shit fuck yall who hate, i’ve never been firsttttttttttttttttttt hahahahahahahhah>

    and you never will.

  • Ashim

    King Ben is retarded.

    How the hell does Will Smith not smoking weed or having any legal troubles make him a ‘white black guy’? Black people aren’t fuckups by nature.

  • John Brown

    King Ben U Beezy ! Says:

    April 6th, 2007 at 1:27 pm
    Pursuit of happiness is regurgitated bullshit they push on us every holiday season. That movie sucked massive cock.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    STFU!!! You obviously slept throughout the movie. That movie was the shit. You can tell how good of a actor Will has come through the years.

  • Were Read 2 Def

    >you know how black people tend to age better than white people. Nullus.

    ^ Explain 2 me y this sentence needs a NULLUS after it.

  • John Brown

    Although….

    any denzel movie character > any will movie character

  • BirdsFlySouth

    To the guy that said Denzel is a better actor then Will. Kill that Denzel has been a cop, agent or ex cop in his last like 10 movies.

  • Moe Real

    If so many rappers are becoming actors, how come there are only a handful of good rapper movies? Has anyone seen Waist Deep, or Shottas? Both stunk.
    Best rapper movies are, in no order:

    Boyz in the Hood
    Juice
    Menace II Society
    Hustle and Flow
    Wild Style
    umm…Baller Blockers

    I know there are some other ones, can’t think right now. A pretty decent one was Choices by Three 6 Mafia too…

  • gatcha

    I mean really, what kind of roles do you think 50 will land? Exactly, big, black gangsta bunny rabbit roles. fuckoutta here with that bullshit. he can barely rap. what’s he gonna do? sing hooks throughout the movie?

  • My Effin’ Opinion

    adding to Moe Real’s list:

    Higher Learning
    Beat Street

  • Honestasicanb

    Most rappers want to be actors because they can’t rap. They trying to make as much money as they can before consumers catch on to they one hit wonders.

  • king blair

    its me bitches

  • John Brown

    BirdsFlySouth Says:

    April 6th, 2007 at 3:38 pm
    To the guy that said Denzel is a better actor then Will. Kill that Denzel has been a cop, agent or ex cop in his last like 10 movies.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Do your research, homie.
    1. THE HURRICANE
    2. REMEMBER THE TITANS
    3. ANTWONE FISHER
    4. JOHN Q

    Thats 4 movies that he didnt play a cop, agent or excop…within his last 10 movies..

  • John Brown

    MOE REAL…what about Friday, How High?

  • king blair

    WILL TAKES THE L FOR NOT MAKING USE OF HIS POWER TO BANG MAD HOES LIKE ANY OTHER STRAIGHT MALE HE MIGHT BE A HOMO. AND TRAINING DAY IS BETTER THAN ANY MOVIE WILL EVER WAS IN PERIOD

  • Ghost

    Or how about Breakin’? Or Breakin’ 2: Electric Bugaloo (sp?)

  • thoreauly77

    what about i got the hook-up? any nmber of mos def flicks. the woodsman anyone? bamboozled fucking rules.

  • Malik C.

    Denzel may not always play a cop or something, but he ALWAYS plays a “tough guy with a soft side” out to save the little guy from whatever trouble he’s in. Same damn character in almost every damn movie.

  • BIGNAT

    yeah but like everyone else is saying take the 2 best guys denzel has played and will has played. nothing will has done will top denzel in training day, man on fire or maybe even the inside man. also if any of you fools out there have never seen man on fire go see it. it starts off slow but once denzel starts killing fools he just don’t stop.

  • John Brown

    Malik C. Says:

    April 7th, 2007 at 8:17 am
    Denzel may not always play a cop or something, but he ALWAYS plays a “tough guy with a soft side” out to save the little guy from whatever trouble he’s in. Same damn character in almost every damn movie.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Did you watch Man on Fire? How can you say dude had a soft side. Yea he dies at the end but that was his job, to protect the lil girl. But while he was looking for the lil girl he was doing it with an edge.

  • Malik C.

    Compassion for the little girl’s life would be seen as the “soft side”.

  • kt

    yall bitch ass niggas only want black people seen in a negative light thats why niggas is killing niggas we hate ourselves more than they do faggots

  • John Brown

    Malik C,

    WTF, are you talking bout. He was the one that made that deal. He kept his word, give me the girland I’ll turn myself in. He could had easily backed out of the deal, but he knew his time was up. Plus the ending is a different type from all the other movies. No one was expecting for him to just give up. Go watch the movie twice and then come back and argue.

    BTW,

    THE HURRICANE > ALI

  • Fernando

    Denzel >>>>>> Will Smith.

    End of Discussion.

    And all cop or agent roles are not the same. His Training Day role was nothing like man on fire.

  • ministerF

    It is a shame that rappers for the sake of some type of realness have been boxed in by one another including those that choose to write about them. Change, growth and maturity are all very positive aspects of life. One should never place themselves in a box or allow others to do so. Life is about change, growth and development. Rappers that choose to do different things with their life are real and in much needed demand. Our youth need to know, see and experience the other side of life that proudly moves beyond rapping about, material goods, money and women. That is the problem with rap today, it holds people hostage to a way of life that is no longer ok. As a matter of fact some of these rappers and people that comment about them in their, blogs, papers and magazines need to understand the bigger picture. You are not rapping about drugs, ho’s, guns and money because you want to, you’re doing it because that is the only thing that will get you a paycheck, that is the only thing that the record companies will allow you to do. Man-up and stop the madness, stop the pimping of yourselves, our women and our youth.

  • http://www.msn.com King Ben U Beezy !

    John Brown wants Will Smith’s cock. I’m sorry I was not asleep throught it I was perfectley awake, that movie sucked MASSIVE COCK!!!!!!!!

  • H-LO

    “Niggaz are actors, niggaz deserve oscars,
    Me I’m critically acclaimed,
    Slug passed your brain” – The Motorious B.I.G.

  • http://www.32weekspregnantultrasound.com/32-weeks-pregnant-and-getting-a-rash-on-stomach/ 32 weeks pregnant images

    thank you for your article,My problem has been resolved.