Our Favorite Rapper Turned Actor Performances in Movies

Our Favorite Rapper Turned Actor Performances in Movies

Some rappers don’t last long in the music industry, but those that do have been able to gain a solid fan base that tends to stick around through thick and thin. They also seem to enjoy when their favorite rappers decide to switch it up and make their way into the acting scene, stretching their talents into new venues where they can excel. While some have turned in some fairly lousy and forgettable performances, others have climbed their way being counted among the Hollywood elite as they’ve continued to develop into multi-talented stars.

Our favorite rapper turned actor performance in movies:

Chris “Ludacris Bridges as Tej – Fast and Furious 2

Our Favorite Rapper Turned Actor Performances in Movies

At one point he could be seen rapping with the likes of Chingy, Snoop Dogg, and even Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas. When he decided to stretch his acting talent out and become a part of the Fast and Furious crew however Ludacris became an immediate icon. As Tej he definitely found his niche within the group, and is now an indispensable fixture that has become part of a cinema family that fans have come to love.

Eminem as Jimmy “B Rabbit” Smith – 8 Mile

Our Favorite Rapper Turned Actor Performances in Movies

It wasn’t much of a jump for Eminem to make a film depicting events of his life that were altered for cinema but were still indicative of the struggle he’s had to go through in his own life. While some of it is obviously glammed up for Hollywood, the general feel of hardship and the ultimate dedication to what he wants to do is strong enough that fans still found a way to identify with this character. Plus, the final rap battles were seriously insane, especially the final round against Poppa Doc.

Ice Cube as Darrin “Doughboy” Baker – Boyz In The Hood

Our Favorite Rapper Turned Actor Performances in Movies

If there was any doubt about Ice Cube’s ability to act like a thug then this movie put those to rest quick and in a hurry. Doughboy is the perfect character for a rapper of Ice Cube’s stature to play, and allowed him a great deal of freedom to just go wild and express himself in ways that the audience could respond to. Despite his troublesome attitude as Doughboy he’s still a powerful and very important character in the film, perhaps more so than even the main character.

Ice-T as Scotty Appleton – New Jack City

Our Favorite Rapper Turned Actor Performances in Movies

Fans of Ice-T’s early work probably went into shock when they saw him playing the part of an undercover detective in one of the most powerful movies of its era. It’s been rumored that even Ice-T was nervous to do this role considering his stance on the police in his earlier days. Despite this hesitancy he still put forth a stellar performance that is remembered to this day by fans and moviegoers alike. These days he’s known mostly for his role as Finn Tutuola on Law and Order: SVU, which shows that the role of a cop must have worn off on him.

Will Smith as Paul – Six Degrees of Separation

Our Favorite Rapper Turned Actor Performances in Movies

When you think of Will Smith you don’t generally think of him as a rapper turned actor simply because he’s been an actor for so long.  However, there was a time when he was a fresh young actor directly after being a rap success.  In 1993 he took on the dramatic role of Paul in Six Degrees of Separation which to this day I still think is his best role that he’s ever played.

Here are some other great ones as well:

  • Busta Rhymes as Dreads in Higher Learning
  • Sean Combs as Lawrence Musgrove – Monster’s Ball
  • RZA as Winston Boyko – Derailed
  • Or his role in American Gangster
  • Method Man as Diego in Garden State
  • Mark Wahlberg in the movie The Basketball Diaries
  • Mos Def in Something the Lord Made
  • Common in Derailed


It’s fair to say that none of the rappers on this list are one-trick ponies. It’s even more fair to say that despite the stardom they already achieved before moving into the acting circle they’ve become even more famous ever since by proving that they have the know how and the talent to take on another role in life that might not have been planned, but has certainly been entertaining to watch.

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