#4 Rapper Actors

February 29, 2008

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If OSCAR’s® were given to actors in a special category “Raptors” then these would be a few of the runners and riders that Film Critics would have to consider…

Mos Def
Real Name: Dante Terrell Smith
Rap Sheet: The Hard Way, Where’s Marlowe?, Island of the Dead,
Bamboozled, Monster’s Ball, Showtime, Civil Brand, Brown Sugar, The Italian Job, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Be Kind Rewind.
Best Role: His intense portrayal of Sgt Lucas in The Woodsman.
Worst Role: Big Blak Afrika in Bamboozled he mos’ definitely didn’t read the script before taking this one.
Can he act: Yes, skilfully delivers varied and at times challenging roles.
Skill Rating:
****
Queen Latifah
Real Name: Dana Elaine Owens
Rap Sheet: Jungle Fever, House Party 2, Juice, My Life, Set It Off , Hoodlum, Sphere, Living Out Loud , The Bone Collector , The Country Bears , Brown Sugar , Chicago, Bringing Down the House, Scary Movie 3 Barbershop 2: Back in Business , The Cookout, Taxi, Beauty Shop and Last Holiday.
Best Role: Playing a gangster lesbian in Set it off was an early turning point in her career in which she delivered some extreme violence to the role.
Worst Role: As ex con Charlene opposite Steve Martin in Bringing Down the House. A truly embarrassing caricature, that was instantly forgettable.
Can she act: Yes, but needs more varied roles in her portfolio, as she tends to opt for sass mouthed fast talking characters.
Skill Rating:
***

Will Smith
Real Name: Willard Christopher Smith Jr.
Rap Sheet: Where The Day Takes You, Made in America, Six Degrees of Separation, Bad Boys, Independence Day, Men in Black, Enemy of the State, Wild Wild West, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Ali, Men in Black II, Bad Boys I and II, I, Robot, Shark Tale, Hitch and I am Legend.
Best Role: Capturing the mannerisms and voice of the greatest of all time in Ali.
Worst Role: Re-hashing his annoying Fresh Prince of Bel air role in the tedious Made in America.
Can he act: Uses his sex appeal rather than acting skills to win his audience over, however, when the roles require it you can be sure of an engaging couple of hours entertainment.
Skill Rating:
****
Tupac Shakur
Real Name: Tupac Amaru Shakur
Rap sheet: Juice, Above the Rim, Gang Related, Gridlocked, Poetic Justice and Bullet
Best Role: Juice marked his acting debut and set the bar for his screen career.
Worst role: Difficult to call this one as all his characters were interesting and varied and 100% of the time he delivered fine acting performances.
Can he act: Absolutely, one the finest rappers actors of all time.
Skill Rating:
****

Snoop Dogg
Real Name: Calvin Cordozar Broadus
Rap Sheet: Soul Plane, Training Day, Bones, Hot Boyz, Baby Boy, Starsky and Hutch, The Wash and Racing Stripes
Best Role: As the crippled crack hustler in the excellent Training Day.
Worst role: In Bones he stars as a ghost who returns from the grave to seek revenge on his killers.
Can he act: Shows potential but needs to work on a more varied portfolio.
Skill Rating:
**

DMX
Real Name: Earl Simmons
Rap Sheet: Romeo Must Die, Cradle 2 the Grave, Never Die Alone and Belly
Best Role: In Never Die Alone playing the Bible-thumping criminal named King David.
Worst Role: As the morally suspect Latrell Walker in Cradle 2 the Grave. He plays alongside Steven Seagal as someone who has some difficulty convincing us which side of the law he is on.
Can he act: No, tends to play himself in nearly every movie.
Skill Rating:
*

LL Cool J
Real Name: James Todd Smith
Rap Sheet: Halloween H20, Rug rats Go Wild! (voice only), Wild Cats Toys Any Given Sunday, S.W.A.T., Rollerball, Deep Blue Sea, Charlie’s Angels, In too Deep, Last Holiday and Kingdom Come
Best Role: Playing the memorable cook in Deep Blue Sea.
Worst Role: As sweaty Ray Bud Slocumb in Kingdom Come
Can he act: Yes, but like Will Smith uses his body to distract audiences from shallow roles.
Skill Rating :
***
Ice Cube
Real Name: O’Shea Jackson although he has legally changed his name to Ice Cube
Rap Sheet: Three Kings, Boyz in the Hood, Player’s Club, Friday, Next Friday, The Glass Shield, Ghosts of Mars, Torque, Anaconda, Are We There Yet? and XXX2
Best Role: Craig Jones in Friday who’s dope smoking and boozing on his front stoop is far more interesting than the do-gooder roles he is known for.
Worst Role: XXX2 should have been a hit but Cube would have benefited from a better script.
Can he act: Absolutely. His comedy stints will ensure he is not eternally typecast.
Skill Rating:
*

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