The world of musical performance, be it rap, hip hop, rock and roll or pop, is easily assimilated with that of the acting stage. Hollywood has long welcomed the stars of the music world over to the glitz and glamour of the silver screen if the promise of higher ticket sales loomed. For Ice Cube, it was a chance to break into new artistic ground.
However, not everybody has made the transition seamlessly. While some performers take to the notion of portraying a character like a duck to water some bomb.
Stepping out into a role for a feature film with little to no acting experience is incredibly daunting. Sure, the rappers on our list have gained a grip on stage fright from their own careers, they likely know how to hold the attention of the crowd and work a camera — one of our entries attended a performing arts school to hone his skill — but these pictures are the major leagues and there can be no room for missteps.
More so than any rock singer or pop hero, the career and marketability of a rapper lies heavily on his reputation. A terrible performance in a film that misses the mark could arguably destroy your career. Luckily, Ice Cube absolutely nailed it.
Written and directed by the wonderful mind of John Singleton, Boyz N The Hood may well be the best film on this list, and it certainly includes one of the finest performances from Ice Cube. The film chronicles the lives of three black males growing up amidst the gang culture of South Central Los Angeles.
It sees Ricky, played by Morriss Chestnut, Tre, taken on by Cuba Gooding Jr. and Doughboy, whom Ice Cube plays, find their three different paths out of the hood.
The film is a gut-wrenching and beautiful depiction of life in the streets. Painful in places, it is arguably one of the most accurate descriptions of life in South Central at the time. Released a year before the LA Riots, Boyz N The Hood remains a classic piece of film and is aided by Cube’s portrayal of Doughboy. It inspired Cube to write his own film, Friday and create one of the longest franchises in movie history.