Bigger Than Hip-Hop: 22 Unexpected Celebrity Hip-Hop Heads
At one point in time, hip-hop music wasn't the major musical force that it is today; it was a fad relegated to the South Bronx, where DJs cut between drum breaks for a young crop of dancers to spin on their head to in the park. Flash forward 40 years, and hip-hop has become one of the most recognized forms of popular music. With that expansion, the genre's gained millions of new fans from all walks of life.
Now, XXL has decided to investigate some of hip-hop's most surprising devotees. From A-list actors to all-star athletes, it's a testament to how big hip-hop has become.
From declaring De La Soul's Buhloone Mindstate a classic to commemorating the legacies of Guru and MCA, the Get Him to the Greek star's Twitter is rife with passionate hip-hop references and shout-outs.
Although much of his Twitter feed is dedicated to trolling Donald Trump - a noble effort to say the least - the It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia star displays a pretty deep knowledge of hip-hop by Tweeting about the Ultramagnetic MCs and other iconic acts.
LeBouf is an ardent Def Junkie, having directed two videos for rapper Cage. Of Cage, LaBeouf said, "He’s that smoky figure, and we don't have a lot of them anymore. That Jack Kerouac, Jake LaMotta type — the guy who was handed all the shittiest cards in the world and was able to play."
Not only is the award-winning actress friends with Jay-Z and Beyonce, Paltrow has a soft spot for '90s hip-hop in general, even rapping N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton" on The Graham Norton Show.
Robert Downey, Jr.
Paltrow's Iron Man co-star is also something of a hip-hop head. Not only can the Academy Award winning actor be seen in the above clip performing Raekwon's "Guillotine (Swordz)," but he also helped secure a cameo from Ghostface Killah for the first Iron Man movie (the scene was ultimately cut).
The 22-time Olympian made headlines in 2008 when he revealed that Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy comprised a good portion of his pre-race pump up playlist.
The Los Angeles actor stays true to his West Coast roots, bringing out Californina indie stalwarts Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truthspeaker of Latyrx fame for his "hitRECord At the Movies" show in 2011.
As if it comes as any surprise, the Pineapple Express star and co-writer is a major fan of the Wu-Tang Clan. He even revealed to MTV in 2008 that he was in attendance for Ol' Dirty Bastard's final live performance before his untimely death.
The Toronto-born comedian proved himself to be a "bigger than your average" hip-hop head when he enlisted Juice Crew legend Masta Ace and native Toronto producer Marco Polo to contribute a song and music video to his DVD The Green Card Tour LIVE from the O2 Arena.
Even beyond his numerous appearances in hip-hop music videos for artists like Fat Joe and Busta Rhymes, Elba has released two EPs under the name DJ Big Driis and even performed on the intro tracks for Jay-Z's American Gangster and Pharoahe Monch's W.A.R. (We Are Renegades).
Gyllenhaal's End of Watch co-star Anna Kendrick revealed that their rendition of Cam'ron's "Hey Ma" in the movie was actually an impromptu occurrence courtesy of Gyllenhaal's iPod. Beyond that, he also appeared in the video for Jamie Foxx's "Blame It" video.
Caan's one of the few people on this list who's love of hip-hop goes beyond just listening to it. The Hawaii Five-0 star actually started out in a group with rapper/producer The Alchemist called The Whooliganz.
Even though her Twerk video may have been the public's introduction to Miley's hip-hop side, the singer/actress has been seen in numerous pictures kicking it with rap royalty the likes of French Montana, Pharrell and Tyler, the Creator.
From enlisting The Roots as The Tonight Show's official house band to bringing on acts like Tyler, the Creator and Ghostface Killah for performances, Fallon has more that shown himself to be a hip-hop fan. However, it's his on-going "History of Rap" series with Justin Timberlake that really displays his extensive knowledge of rap music.
Although Jackson may be best known for his ridiculous speed and impressive kick-off touchdown returns, the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver is also a passionate hip-hop fan, operating his own Jaccpot Records imprint.
The Lonely Island
Even through the former "Saturday Night Live" trio's connection to hip-hop is pretty well apparent, they maintain a deep knowledge of hip-hop by enlisting veterans like J-Zone, Wyshmaster, 6th Sense and DJ Nu-Mark for production work on their albums.
Michael K. Williams
Even beyond portraying Ol' Dirty Bastard in the upcoming biopic Dirty White Boy, Michael K. Williams has a deep love for hip-hop. The star of The Wire and Boardwalk Empire shared some of his favorite jams with New York Magazine last year, including the likes of the Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Common and 2Pac.
Much of Bud Bundy's on-screen hip-hop antics were ripped from Faustino's real life, apparently. In an interview with HipHopDX last year, Faustino broke down his deep history with hip-hop, from co-running L.A.'s Balistyx nightclub to employing The Alchemist and Scott Caan as promoters.
Leonardo DiCaprio isn't the only The Great Gatsby cast member with a hip-hop connection. The Spider-Man star recently explained to MTV his love for Public Enemy and affinity for '90s West Coast hip-hop acts like Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube.
Anders, Adam & Blake Of Workaholics
While it's not surprising that the three stars of Workaholics are hip-hop heads to say the least, the amount of knowledge they possess about the music is astounding. From name-checking Action Bronson in 2011 with HipHopDX to Ders calling himself "the Icelandic Raekwon," their fandom is readily apparent.
While many jokes from the comedian and star of NBC's Whitney's stand-up act stem from hip-hop, it's his Mr. Green produced comedy rap EP as Chank Smith Such is Life that proves that De'Elia is a tried-and-true hip-hop head.
Like DeSean Jackson, Houston Texans star running back Arian Foster's side hustle involves making music. However, Foster has gotten some help from H-Town's own Bun B with regard to writing rhymes and recording music.