Some rappers are ridiculously talented.
I don’t just mean that they can rock a banger and then slow it down for a chill track, I mean the emcees who can command the mic and the screen. These are the best movies with rappers in them. Also, Will Smith does not count. The whole list would just be Will Smith movies.
The Italian Job – Mos Def
Mos Def is undeniably one of the most musically talented rappers out there with an incredible range, You might not know that Mos Def has actually been acting since he was 14, though. The Italian Job is a great ensemble cast, so it’s not like Mos is the star or anything, but he delivers a great supporting performance. And yeah yeah I know it’s a remake ok but the original doesn’t have Mos, so…
Digital: The Italian Job (2003)
DVD: The Italian Job
How High – Method Man & Redman
How High is straight up one of the funniest movies out there, and if you’ve ever listened to Method or Red that does not surprise you. The duo end up attending Harvard, and you probably don’t need me to keep selling you on this. It’s funny as shit, go scope it.
Digital: How High
DVD: How High
Empire – Fat Joe & Treach
Empire is The Godfather for Latinos. It’s kind of a vehicle for a dramatic performance from the genius John Leguizamo, but Treach plays a part of his crew while Fat Joe plays a big rival. Like many on this list, they do well to blend in as actors rather than appearing as rappers just trying their hand at acting.
Digital: Empire (2002)
ATL – T.I. & Big Boi
I cannot say enough about ATL. Think of it as a biography of T.I. if he was a cartoonist rather than a rapper. This is one of my favorite movies of all time, and the fact that T.I. and Big Boi (as a kind of villain, of course) drive it forward is just the cherry on top. I lost my ATL DVD a few years ago and I still miss it.
Crash // Hustle & Flow // 2 Fast 2 Furious – Ludacris
Ludacris has quietly become a hell of an actor to go along with his obviously dope rap. Crash was a powerful commentary on race relations in this country, where nobody is perfect. Hustle & Flow is the only movie here that’s actually mainly about hip hop, and it also happens to have Terrence Howard in it (in addition to Crash), with Luda playing a rapper. 2 Fast 2 Furious (RIP Paul Walker) was Luda’s breakout role, and he also did the dopest track on the soundtrack. All these are mad dope, but if I had to recommend one of these it would be Hustle & Flow.
Digital: Hustle & Flow
DVD: Hustle & Flow
Boyz N The Hood // Barbershop(/Barbershop 2: Back in Business) // Friday(/Next Friday/Friday After Next) – Ice Cube
Ok you know what, Ice Cube doesn’t count either. When’s the last time dude even walked into a recording studio? But seriously, Friday is one of my favorite movies of all time, Barbershop is hilarious and Boyz N The Hood is incredible and important. Ice Cube’s done alright for himself. Any of these are a good choice, but if I had to pick one it would be Friday.
Digital: Friday (1995)
The Man With The Iron Fists – RZA
Ok, so I’d call the RZA a producer before a rapper, but whatever just rock with it. The Man with the Iron Fists is easily the most impressive of all these movies, because RZA didn’t just act in it, he wrote it, directed it, starred in it, narrated it AND made the soundtrack. RZA started studying film under Quentin Tarantino when he did the music for Kill Bill, and this is clearly the fulfillment of a life long dream for RZA, and really, any fan of the Wu-Tang.
Digital: The Man With the Iron Fists
Which of these is your favorite?
Again, Will Smith doesn’t count here. Yes, I know that Ice Cube has been in more movies than that. Beyond that, if I forgot your favorite movie with a rapper, let me know!