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Top 10 Best Rappers Turned Actors

MT . . . Comments

After hearing the news that popular rapper Common had been cast in the upcoming 4th Terminator movie, Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, I started to think about all the other successful rappers that have tried their hand at acting. It became evident that some are pretty good at doing both. So here is my Top 10 List of the Best Rappers Turned Actors.


AKA Slim Shady


Marshall Mathers is a Grammy and Academy Award-winning rapper, record producer and actor. Having sold over seventy million albums worldwide, Eminem is one of the highest-selling rappers of all time. Turning to acting in 2002’s 8 Mile, Eminem hasn’t resurfaced since. His debut was loosely based on his own life, so that probably helped his critically praised performance. Can he hold his own in other projects? I’d like to find out.

Hit Songs: Forget about Dre, The Real Slim Shady




Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr. is an rapper, songwriter, producer, actor, philanthropist and co-CEO of Grand Hustle Records. With his 2006 performance in ATL and more recently his supporting role in American Gangster, T.I. holds his own on screen. Now if he can just stay out of trouble we might get to see more of him.

Hit Song: Be Easy




Chris Bridges is a Grammy Award-winning rapper. He is also the highest-selling Southern hip hop artist of all time with over 11 million records sold in the United States. Though not very seasoned in the acting profession, Ludacris was surprisingly well regarded in his supporting role in Crash and Hustle & Flow and also his guest role in an 2007 episode of Law & Order. As such, I’ll give him a pass for being involved in Fred Claus. He is cast in the upcoming movies Max Payne and RocknRolla.

Hit Songs: Yeah!, Stand Up.




Tracy Marrow is a Grammy Award winning rapper, actor, and author. He is credited with helping create gangsta rap in the late 1980s and created more controversy in 1993 with the release of the song Cop Killer. After well received performances in New Jack City, Surviving The Game and Trespass he did a stint of straight to DVD and low budget movies. In 2000 he settled into the role of a police officer on the hit TV series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He is cast in the upcoming movie Thira.

Hit Songs: Colors, Cop Killer


previously known as Common Sense

Common Rapper Image  3

Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. is a Grammy Award Winning hip hop artist, model and actor. He starred in significant roles in such films as Smokin’ Aces, Street Kings, American Gangster, and Wanted. Not that I followed much of the guy’s music, but Common immediately piqued my interest as a bodyguard in Smokin’ Aces. There’s something about the guy’s voice and delivery that is so cool you can’t turn away. He was also cast as the Green Lantern/John Stewart character in the live adaptation of The Justice League.

Hit Song: Love of My Life


LL Cool J


James Todd Smith III is a Grammy Award winning rapper and actor. LL Cool J stands for “Ladies Love Cool James.” He is one of a few hip-hop stars of his era to sustain a successful recording career for more than two decades. He has had starring roles in the movies Any Given Sunday, Deep Blue Sea, Rollerball and The Last Holiday as well as his own long running TV show In the House. As a seasoned actor, LL Cool J easily excels in both fields.

Hit Songs: Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out.


Mos Def


Dante Terrell Smith has been nominated for Golden Globe, Emmy, and Grammy Awards. This is a guy I enjoy in just about anything. In 2002, he played the role of Booth in Topdog/Underdog, a Tony-nominated and Pulitzer-winning Broadway play. He also starred in Monster’s Ball, 16 Blocks, The Italian Job,The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Be Kind Rewind. He won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Vivien Thomas in the HBO film Something The Lord Made. His next movie is Cadillac Records as the famed Chuck Berry.

Hit Song: Universal Magnetic.


Queen Latifah

Picture 2-35

Dana Elaine Owens is a rapper, singer and actress. Latifah’s work in music, film and television has earned her a Golden Globe award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Image Awards, a Grammy Award, six additional Grammy nominations, an Emmy Award nomination and an Academy Award nomination for the hit movie Chicago.

She’s starred in Set it Off, Jungle Fever, Barbershop, The Bone Collector and The Last Holiday. She also starred in the long running TV series Living Single. She is currently a Cover Girl model and Jenny Craig spokesperson. Her latest movie was The Secret Life of Bees.

Hit Song: Ladies First.


Ice Cube

Picture 4-10

O’Shea Jackson is a rapper, actor, screenwriter and producer. Regarded as one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time he began his career as a founding member of the rap group N.W.A. Much like Ice-T and LL Cool J, Ice Cube has been around for a while and certainly has credibility with fans. He had starring roles in smash hits Boys in the Hood and Friday as well as starring roles in Anaconda, The Players Club, (which he directed), Three Kings and Are We There Yet? He produces movies under his Cube Vision production company. His next movies are The A-Team and the title role in Welcome Back, Kotter which he is also producing.

Hit Songs: No Vaseline, Today was a Good Day


Will Smith
AKA The Fresh Prince


Willard Christopher Smith Jr. was half of the wildly successful hip-hop duo Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. He was the first rapper to win a Grammy Award. He then made the successful transition to TV in 1990 and starred in the slightly biopic hit sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He was also the first rapper to receive an Academy Award Nomination and the only rapper to receive 2 nominations.

This is a guy that keeps churning out great movies like Men in Black, Bad Boys, Independence Day, Ali, I,Robot, The Pursuit of Happiness and Hancock. The only bad choice he made in his acting career was turning down the role of Neo in the mega hit movie Matrix to accept the lead role in the flop Wild,Wild West. He is now considered one of the most powerful people in Hollywood and with his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith currently produce TV and movie projects.

Hit Songs: Parents Just Don’t Understand, Git Jigga Wit it.

Contributor: MT

  • MT

    .2 James C
    2Pac would have absolutely been on the list if he was still a living rapper/actor which this list only included.

    10. Aadilz
    Although a good actor,I never considered Mark walberg a real rapper.

    11. Ren
    Dre, Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Xzibit are one dimensional, bad actors and thus don't qualify for this list.

    Thanks for all of your comments.

    • jordan ivey

      You cant even say method man is a bad actor seeing as the wire was one of the best shows ever

      • The Dude

        well, i wouldnt say method man is a bad actor per se, he was actually pretty good in the Wire. But he’s right, he was one dimensional. A gansta rapper playing a Baltimore drug dealer? Gee, what a stretch!

  • wainboy


  • James C

    Great list, except 2pac isn’t there

  • joanne

    what? no SWAT for LL Cool J? :-) not a starring role, but still…

  • jajdude


  • Usher

    t.i. rulez

  • jajdude

    heavy guns

  • foohy

    No Alvin Joiner (Xzibit)?

  • Kyran Wray

    i cant believe will smith turned down the matrix! he must be kicking himself now…

  • Aadilz

    Marky Mark!!!

  • Ren

    I wish Eminem was higher on the list. I was expecting to see Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and 2 Pac. Some of your choices for Hit Songs were a little weird. The song Forget about Dre was featuring Eminem and he’s had other really good songs that he did on his own. The same thing with Ludacris and Yeah! That was Usher ft. Ludacris and Lil’ Jon.

  • Ernmas

    For #3 Queen Latifah – what about adding her role in Chicago? It allowed her to use her talented voice along with her acting abilities.

    • Lonnie

      Thank you I agreed the Queen should be #2 your list is so off, T.I. really??? no Ice T should be before Ice Cube and Luddy should be at the bottom, where is M.C. Lyte????

  • Iain

    I think you could find some room for Method Man who more than holds his own as ‘Cheese’ amongst some seriously great acting in ‘The Wire’.

  • Mary

    Mark Wahlberg?

  • astraya

    While we’re at it, can someone please explain why rappers don’t use their real names? (Will Smith half excepted.)

  • downhighway61

    astraya- probably for the same reason Bob Dylan and John Wayne and countless other musicians and actors don’t use their real names.

  • Ghidoran

    I heard Will Smith wasn’t a good rapper….could have been from a hate list though. Still, saw that coming.

  • ScubaSteve

    I can’t believe you left out the best one by far. Vanilla Ice in his epic film “Cool as Ice”. To think I was just starting to like this list only to find that Vanilla Ice was left out!!!!

  • Ghidoran

    Oh and you forgot I am Legend in his list of great movies.

  • uppingthestakes

    I can’t believe you forgot about Queen Latifah’s role in Hairspray. Not only does it showcase her acting skills, it shows that she isn’t afraid to belt it!

  • ScubaSteve

    @ Ghidoran
    Will Smith can rap pretty well, it is the subject matter of his music that most people don’t care for. Most of his songs have no edge to them, they are kid friendly. Also he caused an upset when he won a Grammy Award over Public Enemy. Most people think he won because he was the “safe” Black Rapper and Public Enemy was definitely not.

  • Spence425

    you’d be surprised to find how many actors don’t use their real names either.

    as for the list…it’s a pretty good one. I think that Marky Mark certainly deserves a spot on the list. I might replace ludacris with him. luda has shown himself to be a horrid actor (who was also in 2Fast 2Furious along with fred claus, either of which should automatically disqualify him)

  • Quiana

    Ludacris is a grat actor. I loved him when he was on Law And Order SVU. Ice T is also amazing on that show.

  • Jack Deth

    Kyran Wray,

    Will Smith in the Matrix?

    “Hell no, you did not just bend that spoon at me!”

  • Crumpet

    No Hulk Hogan?

  • erin

    Where’s the Tupac!

    • jordan ivey

      his role in juice was sick definitly shoulda been one

  • erin

    Marky Mark too

  • Quiana

    I wouldve suggested Marky Mark over Eminem. I dont see him as an actor at all. Mark Wahlberg is a terrific actor. Or even Method Man.

  • DamienKarras

    Hmmm… I’m curious to see if there are any actors turned rappers (shoe on the other foot thing)

  • jhoyce07

    eminem’s kinda ok..will is good..

  • DamienKarras

    Didnt the Fat Boys do a movie?

  • Quiana

    You can tell this list was made by someone who saw some of these rappers in movies but didnt really know about them. Those are by far TI and Ludacris Hit Songs, and Common doesnt even sing Love of My Life thats Erykah Badu.

  • Bean

    Forgot to mention Will Smith in I am legend, and I definatly agree Mark Wahlberg needs to be up there

  • Boogie

    Guns don’t kill people, shouty, angry, black men, turned turgid actors in doggerel film do!

  • Dave’s_Kicking_Game

    When I saw the title for this list, I immediately thought of Mark Wahlberg and was suprised to not see him on the list.

  • pLeCx

    Xzibit was good in gridiron gang

  • Callie

    hahaha..Snoop. Old School.

    Snoop! Snoop-a-loop!

    sorry.. MT I’d like to give my undying thanks for that picture of LL Cool J.

  • onwisconsn

    Marky Mark should definitely be up there. Come on, feel the Vibrations!

  • B_Ott 14

    what about the big man shaq???? he rapped and dont forget his great box office hit shazzam!!!

  • MzFly

    Long live the Queen! She deserves her place on the list.

    I definitely think Tupac deserves a spot on this list. Maybe replace Eminem with 2Pac based soley on the films they’ve each done.

  • logar

    I’d say Marky Mark would be mandatory for this list, although his rap cred is not as significant as the others on this list.

    Otherwise, very nice.

    One other thing- under Will Smith, it’s “Jiggy” not “Jigga.”

  • Vallen

    The only person I think this list is missing is DMX. I know he hasn’t been in many great roles but he starred in Belly, which is one of the best “gangsta” movies ever made IMO. I guess the fact that he has kinda disappeared disqualifies him?

  • Brickhouse

    Will Smith and Queen Latifah are amazing actors. I love Ice-T on Law & Order:SVU. Not a big fan of LL Cool J’s rapping, but he’s an excellent actor and… mmmm… Just a fine piece of eye candy.

    Great list! :)


    I agree that Mark Wahlberg and 2pac should DEFINETLY be on the list before most of these other names up here. I think Will Smith is an awesome actor, and coincidently I was just last night talking about how good of an actor Mos def is, he’s just such a natural. ice- t is really good too it’s funny how he’s played a cop for so long after realeasing cop killer though. lol…as for everyone else, Luda is alright, not really of fan of LL or his movies,the same goes for queen latifah, ice cube pretty much plays the same role in every movie nothing exciting ( funny in all the fridays though), T.I and Common look like they can definetly have a bright future on the big screen, and I’m a huge fan of Eminem’s music but I feel like he really shouldn’t be on the list for 8 mile since it really wasn’t much more than him being him really.

  • Suskis

    Mark Wahlberg is by far the best singer turned actor.

  • PunkPenguin

    What about DMX? He had a huge rap career with Ruff Riders although I am not personally a huge fan of his rapping I do however enjoy his acting skills tremendously. Never Die Alone….Great movie: Drama, Violence, Love….Then there is Romeo Must Die (which also featured Jet Li)….Cradle to the Grave (featuring the beautiful Gabrielle Union)…I think he has earned his place on this list!!

  • Ro

    Okay this is so funny. Ice T made the song Cop Killer and later became a fictional cop in Law and Order.

  • MT, I know it’s probably a generational thing, but Rap has never appealed to me as music…well, neither has Country, so maybe it’s just a matter of taste…but I *do* have to admit that I admire most all of these performers as actors!
    I have a theory (not in the scientific sense), that truly talented people in one art, are usually talented in other arts as well. I’ve seen it in practice over and over.
    Musicians who act. Writers who paint. Painters who play music.
    My entire family are artists, each one has a different “major” art, but each one also has several peripheral talents. That’s what I’m seeing in the list above.
    Some of these performers are such great actors that I have to wonder if acting isn’t their main talent, with music their peripheral talent.
    Just a thought.
    astraya, about the names: You’d be shocked at some of the names of the old big-time stars!
    Shocked, I tell you, shocked!

  • Brickhouse

    segue: I’d like to see that list – 20 Old-Time Stars with Shocking Names. :D

  • robneiderman

    Will Smith’s acting has gotten lazy in his last few movies (didn’t see Hancock, so I can’t judge that one). I, Robot was lame, partly because of him (partly because of the stupid looking robots).

  • Brickhouse

    Oh, I agree with some about Eminem’s mention. I love Eminem’s music and I think he did a great job, but then he was basically playing himself – and it was only the once.

    I would’ve added Mark Wahlberg if the list needed a token white guy. :)

  • Cedestra

    I didn’t think I was going to be interested in this list, but by the end I was. I think maybe the order could be switched, at least 5-10, but I enjoyed this list. (Would check on those hits, too.)
    How many albums did Marky Mark put out? 1, maybe 2? I don’t think he was established enough to be considered a rapper turned actor, more like an actor who started by rapping (and modeling).
    48. segue: I agree with your tastes, there. I won’t dismiss a song because it’s country or rap, but it’s not something I’m drawn to.

  • Spence425

    MT – although not a modern rapper, marky wahlberg definitely at least attempted to be a rapper. you could make the same argument about common. although he does some rap, the primary basis of his music is R&B rather than rap.

  • rushfan

    robneiderman ~ I agree. I am Legend was such a disappointment. It could have been so much better.

  • will smith is one of the best actors out there. cause he can do any movie genre and be good at it

  • kowzilla

    You did not just misspell “Gettin JiggY with It” did you?
    Sheer Tragedy.

  • snakester

    I can’t believe no one mentioned “Six degrees of Seperation.” That was far and away Will smith’s best role in a movie, and it was definately one of his first.
    Also, Mark Wahlberg has been in some pretty good movies (remember him in “Fear”), and the Funky Bunch was definately hip hop if not rap.
    Lastly, DMX and Nas gave pretty decent performances in “Belly”, so that should get an honorable mention.

  • BishopWhiteT

    No love for Flava Flav? His sitcom is terrible, but his groups’ music helped pave the way for everyone on this list.

    Yeah Boi!

  • BishopWhiteT

    And Andre 3000 (OutKast / Revolver, ATL) is just plain cool at everything he does. Hey Ya!

  • rushfan

    Yes! I second the vote for Andre! He’s a talented musician and a talented actor. Didn’t he make a baby with Erica Badu? She’s been in some movies, too, I think.

  • Realist

    lol @ people saying DMX. You are all retarded.

    Mos Def is more of an actor turned rapper. Still incredibly talented.

    Andre 3000 should be on the list.

  • smurff

    Will Smith I think a no – no just my thoughts

  • JayArr

    Aside from the top 3, I’m thinking rapperactor… oxymoronisms abound.

  • JayArr

    Hmm… formatting issue on post… rapper not equal ( !=) actor

  • Spence425

    smurff…how can you possibly say no to will smith?

    regardless of your opinion on his music or his acting, you absolutely cannot (with any amount of sanity) deny the fact that he was/is at the top of both the rapping and acting world at one point or another. that, by definition puts him on this list.

  • shaner5000

    Why no love for Vanilla Ice? He rocked in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze” heh

  • MzFly

    I think Will Smith qualifies more as a pop star turned actor. Sing/speaks over urban beats does not a rapper make.

  • Tony

    Its get jiggy with it…not get “jigga”

  • MJ

    I LOVE Will Smith…. excellent number 1! I do think Marky Mark should have been on there but maybe his rap isn’t exactly what they were talking about!

  • jajdude

    killer guns – for a crap list. rap sucks, except for public enemy and grandmaster flash. none of these idiots have talent or skillzzz man.

  • islanderbst

    Cant disagree with any of the choices, Marky Mark should be a hon. mention, (he wasnt much of a rapper though)

    no DMX= good choice, as his movies have been pretty weak.

    Ice Cube in Friday, by far best rapper movie yet.

    Would like to see Hollywood use Andre 3000 more, tap into his immense charm and energy. Also, Eve is really attractive and should do more stuff.

    Coming this January is the film bio of Notorious B.I.G. and the trailer at youtube makes it look freakin’ sweet.

  • icarusfoundyou

    I think we should take the term ‘best rappers’ with a pinch of salt..

    But I jest, I do like Will Smith as an actor :)

  • Corey

    The author clearly isn’t a rap fan. It’s kind of funny reading his descriptions at times.

    Mark Wahlberg should definitely be there. Sorry, author, you can’t decide who’s a “real rapper” and who isn’t. If you count Will Smith as a rapper, you have to count Mark. He deserves the #1 spot.

  • thedudewiththe plan

    Ludacris is a piece of crap! I used to live in the same county as him (Fayette County GA) and the jerk tried to cut in front of me at the movie theater. I told him I was in line first and he started getting in my face saying “Do you know who the #*($ I am?!) Can’t stand his so-called music either!

  • psychosurfer

    Could Weird Al Yankovic qualify as a rapper?

  • psychosurfer

    or as an actor????

  • psychosurfer

    or as a human being??????????

  • Kreachure

    I knew Will Smith would be #1!!! (Well, being the highest-paid actor in ALL of Hollywood automatically puts him in #1 on many lists :P )

    To all those saying that “Will Smith didn’t do Rap”:

    Rapping is not just “singing ’bout the hood n’ the hos and the bling” or whatever. That’s GANGSTA Rap. Rapping by definition is rhyming. There are many other kinds of rapping.

    If you want to talk about extremes, check out MC Frontalot. He rhymes about (wait for it) things that Nerds love. Computers, video games, science, etc.; and he’s considered a rapper.

  • Kreachure

    psychosurfer: Weird Al Yankovic is a parody singer (a bloody GREAT one at that, too), and he sings songs from any genre, including rap, rock, ballads, country, and of course, polka! Even though the cover of his latest album (Straight outta Lynwood) seems to be seriously ‘gangsta’, he’s just yankin your chain all the way. He also happens to be an actor.

    As for human being, I’ll have to get back to you on that…! :D

  • toni-m

    i wouldnt personally class will smiths music as rap…
    but yea

  • alex

    nice list, but the ‘hit songs’ part were incorrect for most of the artists (being an avid hip-hop fan myself).

  • Lucy

    whoever wrote this obviously does not know a lot about rap/hip-hop

  • robneiderman: I agree about I Robot – I didn’t enjoy it at all and I was really looking forward to it because the story was excellent.

    Oh – and I agree that Marky Mark would be a good addition – he is an excellent actor.

  • jake ryder

    Ice T? really. I find this guy painful to listen to as he stumbles through his lines.

  • MzFly

    Kreatchure: My opinion of Will Smith as a pop artist rather than a rapper has everything to do with his weak delivery, lack of lyrical originality and overabundance of cheesy metaphors than it does with his subject matter.

  • Slipstick

    Much like how one album does not a rapper make, one film does not an actor make. It seems like it was stretching it quite a bit in the beginning looking for rappers to round out the list of ten.

    My friend’s blonde niece said it best about rap. “Rap is just an acronym. It stands for ‘Retards Attempting Poetry.'” lol

  • MT

    I’ve been a HUGE Hip-Hop fan since 1979 (Before most of you were even born).

    I can’t believe so many people liked Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch! He had a huge hit with “Good Vibrations” but they were a pop group that opened for The New Kids On The Block (which he was an original member of). Mark Walberg “rapped” some hooks and a little flow but was never a real rapper. I will repeat: I never have and never will consider Mark Walberg a serious rapper.

    There are songs on this list that the rappers may have made only appearances on but were not considered their songs. I mentioned those titles because they best epitomized the rappers talents and should be listened to by those not familiar with the artist.

    2 Pac is not included here because this list is for current performers only. Otherwise he would be high on the list.

    Finally, I will give an honorable mention to Andre 3000 (Andre Benjamin). He won a Grammy and Best Album in 2003 with OutKast. He’s not a very good actor but he’s getting better. Four Brothers (with the infamous Mark Walberg) was his best effort to date.

    Thanks for all of your comments!

  • lowtolerance

    mos def should be disqualified from this list. his role as ford prefect in the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy was a bad choice to begin with, his acting in the movie was awful, and his representation of the character was so far off base from the book that it might as well have been an entirely different character.

  • tropical

    I love this list and 100% stand by the addition of Mos Def. Not only is he extremely intelligent, passionate about social causes, witty and a great rapper, his acting performances are incredible. Albiet a small performance, but I loved his role in the movie ‘The Woodsman’ particularly.

  • jc123

    jfrater: There is a minor error in the blurb about Will Smith. Where it talks about his hit film “The Pursuit of Happiness”, the actual film was titled “The Pursuit of Happyness”, with a y instead of correctly with an i. Just thought that should be pointed out for credibility.

  • DetroitOS

    Can’t beleive there was no mention of Mark Wahlberg. I’d say he should be second to Will Smith.

    Pure hip hop no sell out!

  • Geni

    Why isn’t TuPac on the list? He was excellent in Poetic Justice, Juice, Bullet, Gang-related, Above the Rim, and Gridlocked. (He also has done many guest appearances on TV shows – my favorite was his appearance on the “Different World” episode when Lena’s friends visit from her hometown.

  • orenj21

    oh yea common and mos def, i love both of the music

  • arkz

    um james c. i dont think 2pac became an actor so he wouldn’t be on this list

  • lizzyxo

    Ice T should be on here

  • Matt

    Mos def should be number two.

  • The Only Sane One

    With the exception of Will Smith, and to some degree Mos Def, this is a great list of crappy singers who have produced crappy music and been in crappy movies. It’s too bad the world has so many idiots that raise these morons up onto their pathetic shoulders.

  • ohrmets

    Where is MARK WHALBERG?

    Will Smith wins this list hands-down, but Marky Mark has to be #2!

  • dole

    This list is great. I am a fan of hip-hop and movies and with the exception of Luda who is lame this is a great list. anyone that know rap is not a fan of Marky Mark walberg.

  • Vera Lynn

    2pac’s not on here because he’s dead. MT said it twice.

  • astraya

    downhighway61, Spence425 and segue: without doubt many performing artists use other names, but a comparable list to this one is “sports stars turned actors”. The people on that list are: Bob Uecker, Rick Fox, Jason Lee, Alex Karras, Ed Marinaro, Chuck Connors, Merlin Olsen, Vinnie Jones, Carl Weathers, Fred Dryer, Fred Williamson, Jim Brown – lots of shortenings and one nicknames, but no changed names, so far as I can research.

    segue: Like Frances Gumm singing “Somewhere over the rainbow” and Marion Morrison in “True Grit”?

  • Vera Lynn

    astraya (102)That being said, how many people here use a pseudonym?

  • thunderchicken

    Vera Lynn -103- : I don’t know what you are talking about, thunderchicken is totally my real name.

  • Vera Lynn

    thunderchicken (104) I needed a laugh. Thank you for giving it to me. :) A laugh, that is.

  • brendacherie

    53. Spence425:
    Are you serious? Common isn’t a rapper? Have you ever heard anything other than what gets played on mainstream radio???!! He’s like the best rapper…not R&B, but a rapper who may occasionally ‘rap’ on an R&B song…or an R&B artist may be featured on his ‘rap’ song….

    Some of Common’s Grammy Awards/Nominations:

    2008: Best Rap Performance by Duo or Group (“Southside”), Won
    2008: Best Rap Album (Finding Forever), Nominated
    2008: Best Rap Solo Performance (“The People”), Nominated
    2006: Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group (“The Corner”), Nominated
    2006: Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (“They Say”), Nominated
    2006: Best Rap Album (Be), Nominated
    2006: Best Rap Solo Performance (“Testify”), Nominated

    Also, for whoever said 2Pac didn’t act – ever heard of “Juice” or “Poetic Justice” (w/ Janet Jackson)? Not that I am suggesting his inclusion on the list…just clearing up confusion.

    “One day it’ll all make sense.” ~Common (you know, the rapper)

  • jay-rod

    Be Easy the only hit song for T.I.???? WHAT???? That song is good and all but it is nowhere near a HIT song! Especially considering the dozens of other hits he has! 24’s, Rubberband Man, What You Know?, Big Shit Poppin’, Top Back, the list goes on! I personally love “Ready for Whatever” from his current album Paper Trail! Check it out!

  • r

    what about mark walberg? Horrible rapper but way better actor than T.I.

  • maximuz04

    I agree with mark walberg, If you have seen Rock Star, superb acting.

  • downhighway61

    astraya, I’m not sure what you’re getting at in your last comment. Are you wondering why on the ‘sport star turned actor’ list no one really changed their name?
    They have already made a name for themselves. People in sports change their name much less often.
    Talent is what makes then famous. (And we all know you don’t have to be talented in the world of acting/music to be famous.)

    Also, how many times does this have to be repeated??
    MT already gave reasons why Mark Wahlberg and 2Pac are not on the list! Good grief. Someone even asked why Ice-T wasn’t on the list. Good grief.

  • suavecito

    im sorry ‘pac should be #1 on the list… in life and in death he was a great rapper and a great actor… i cant think of a better rapper or actor then him….TUPAC FO LIFE… THUG LIFE HOMIE WEST SIDE!!!!!!!!!

  • munro

    will smith is my hero. he always will be.

  • Aadilz

    Mark Wahlberg is a legend around Massachusetts(where I am) — most average people that have some run-of-the-mill connection to him visit him. He’s a really cool guy, he’s very adamant about the “don’t ever call me Marky Mark or i’ll break your face, chew up your entrails and do your mother” type of thing.

  • Nelly

    OK! Although I can’t stand the dude 50 Cent was pretty impressive in that war movie “Home of the Brave”. But more importantly I have to point out being a native of Atlanta, Ga that Ludacris is not.

  • Kriz

    For Common’s hit song I’d put “I Used To Love H.E.R.”, widely regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all time.

  • 102. astraya:…segue: Like Frances Gumm singing “Somewhere over the rainbow” and Marion Morrison in “True Grit”?
    segue scratches Frances and Marion off List she is compiling {skritch-skritch-skritch} looks frantically through notes for replacements…

  • MT

    115. Kriz

    You are absolutely right! But as this list shows it is not all inclusive. If it was, what would we have to talk about?

    Thanks for all of your comments.

  • debaser

    “Mos Def is more of an actor turned rapper”

    emmmm no

  • Patrask

    I wouldn’t call I’Robot or Hancock great movies for Will Smith, but apart from that great list. :-)

  • web

    Dugg for Will Smith and Ice Cube!

  • karbon

    I would like to see Will Smith in The Matrix. He’s proved to be quite a talented actor. Probably could give Neo a slightly more emotion than Keanu.

  • Tomo

    “Dana Elaine Owens is a rapper, singer and actress.”????

    So you don’t think that rappers are also singers???

  • MT

    122. Tomo

    Queen Latifah actually made a jazz album in 2004. It was titled The Dana Owens Album.

    On July 11, 2007, Latifah sang at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles as the headliner act in a live jazz concert. She was backed by a 10-piece live orchestra and three backup vocalists, The Queen Latifah Orchestra.
    In 2007, Latifah released an album entitled Trav’lin’ Light. It was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album” category. No other rapper has extended themselves to another genre the way she as. Thats why I refer to her as a singer.

    Thanks for all for your comments.

  • Canacan

    forgive me –
    there are so many comments – so
    I have scrolled down right to the comment page – so if it has been said already – sorry
    50 cent was recently in an al pacino movie – I though he did a super job.. maybe it was because my expectation was so low..

  • MT


    Expect….no DEMAND more from actors. How an average rapper and horrible actor like Curtis Jackson (AKA 50 Cent) can appear with Pacino or DeNiro in a movie is a travesty.

  • candice

    I must say, when I saw the title of this list, the FIRST person I thought of was mark wahlburg. Hmm.

  • pvGOOSE68

    Anyone forget to mention Method Man from the Wu-Tang Clan, not ony The Wu-Tang Clan being an enormous impact on the rap scene but also Method Man being the forerunner and most publicized member. Method Man played an outstanding role in an HBO series called The Wire, where he performed exceptionally well as a drug dealer close to the kingpin in Baltimore. He was also in the feature How High with Redman, although the movie wasnt a so-called hit, it has a large cult following.

  • Star

    Excellent list by all means!TJ

  • jbjr

    I like that hardcore serious rapper Ice Cube turned to family movies ala Dennis Quaid (of course hipper).

    Though I’m not liking that he wants to do Welcome Back Kotter as a serious role.

  • RambleRon


  • astraya

    segue @ 116: segue scratches Frances and Marion off List she is compiling {skritch-skritch-skritch} looks frantically through notes for replacements…

    Someone mentioned River Phoenix on the “died at 27” discussion (erroneously, as it turns out). If your list is “real names of famous performers”, check his out. It almost belongs on the recent “strange names” list.

    My question way back about why do rappers change their names so much attracted many comments, some of them critical. Many people in all walks of life change their names, for many reasons. But compare sportspeople and English teachers (who rarely change their names) to authors, actors and non-rap pop musicians (who sometimes do, sometimes don’t) to popes, porn stars and rappers (who always/mostly do). Popes and porn stars have their (different) reasons. My original question, which I can’t see that anyone actually answered, is “Why do so many rappers change their names”?
    Someone asked me why I use a screen name. When I found the List Universe, the people already on it were using screen names. The sign-up form invited me to make a screen name. My real name is so famous that I don’t want to use it.

    Yours faithfully,
    George W Obama

  • Scotty

    Method man is not on the list but common is? woah

  • Praz

    where the hell is “lil bow wow”……damn
    ne ways cool list…

  • Katie

    Lil Bow Wow and Marky Mark, silly.

  • mini


    this is what you call top 10

    1. the game
    2. 2 pac
    3. nas
    4. dizee rascal
    5. ice cube
    6. eazy e
    7. dr.dre
    8. snoop dogg
    9. eminem
    10. 50 cent {loser}

  • Hay

    1- Will Smith
    2- Tupac
    3- Mos Def

    I swear to god this is the real top 3

    did you see Juice?

  • joxx

    I think who wrote this is or to young to know rap, or to dumb, or to new in rap.
    Best rapper-actor is tupac shakur. I think he even started making the movie juice before his first cd was released.
    He was critically acclaimed as an actor before he was as a rapper.
    Juice, Poetic Justice, Gridlockd

    2- Will Smith
    3- Mos Def

  • micemike

    tupac was the best rapper ever, but he was even a better actor… is that possible? yes, it was

    1 2pac
    2 big willie
    3 common
    4 q-tip
    5 mos def
    6 snoop
    7 ice t (new jack city was hot)
    8 ice cube (just friday)
    9 marshall
    10 luda

  • MT

    .138 joxx

    I’m neither young or dumb. However I don’t think I can say the same for you. If you bothered to read any comments before you posted your own you would see the explaination why Tupac is not included on this list.

  • noneofyourbusiness

    dang what happened to my boy tupac being on the list?!!! he outsold all these guys up here! and he is the most successful and he’s dead!! come on now yall falling off.

  • nute

    There’s no excuse good enough in this world,day and age to exclude the name of Tupac from such a list,unless this list is not worthy enough of his name.Simply unexceptable!

  • nina


  • chamili

    chamillionaire is best in bothmusic& movie

  • mayla

    yep snoop dog isn’t on the list, i was expecting to see his name…
    i knew will smith will make it to number one, such a good actor, really talented…
    know what, i was thinking of vin diesel getting on the list, i know he isn’t a rapper but he looks like one… hehehe

  • duh

    Ok after reading through all these comments I want to know one thing- who the hell is marky mark?

  • meka613

    Queen Latifah also starred in her OWN movie called “Beauty Shop”

  • tudor1983

    mark wahlberg should be on the top of the list.he has 3 successfull albums + cd singles and soundtracks released[he sang from 91 till 98] and he played in a lots of succesfull movies such as fear,boogie nights etc.other rappers turned actors are:will smith,vanilla ice[cool as ice ,helix…loaded],2pac,queen latifah,ice cube,dmx,ice-t,john cena and mos def

  • t–dog

    number 1 is LIL WAYNE,,BIRDMAN

  • Bert

    I’m surprised there’s no NZ love for the Hiphopopotamous and the Rhymenocerous ;)

  • navell porter

    where the hell is tupac??????????

  • ponyone

    and Vanilla Ice and his “Cool as Ice” people???

  • LarssonR

    Will Smith all the way.. no doubt the greatest actor, ever!

  • Peter M

    I am pretty sure that the role he turned down for Wild Wild West wasnt that of Neo but was in fact the role or Jason Bourne???

  • aracir

    Where’s Coolio and Mark Wahlberg?

  • tudor1983

    this is a fair list:
    1.MARKY MARK[he released 3 albums(2 went platinum,one went gold)]who thinks he wasn’t a good and serious rapper must listening his best hits like:good vibrations,super cool mack daddy,rastaman vibration,no mercy,irie vibe,the illest or don’t sleep.
    3.ICE CUBE
    6.MOS DEF
    7.LL COOL J
    8.ICE T

  • tudor1983



    will smith hahaha wtf ?

    2 PAC 1

  • Stacey

    Where’s Mark Wahlberg??

  • Dewayne Wayne

    U forgot Andre 3000 (of outkast) and 2pac. additionally what narcotic caused u to mention the movie ATL? that movie was horrible and TI’s performance in it was no exception. His role in American Gangster was better; however, thats not saying much.

  • Roo

    What about fiddy cent…oh yeah he’s shit!

  • figga

    fuck all yall this is the real list of alive rappers
    1 eminem
    2 50 cent
    3 jay z
    4 snoop dogg
    5 dr.dre
    6 the game
    7 xzibit
    8 ti
    9 lil wayne
    10 ice cube
    just west side
    fuck east side

  • Disciple

    Will Smith easily. Glad Fifty isn’t here, best stick to what he is good at. Honestly, Eminem is not that impressive an actor. Neither is Ludacris.

  • Miranda

    I very much agree with this list.
    But, I think Ice T should be higher. Law and Order: SVU is the shit!

    Mmmm… LL Cool J :d

  • JE


  • Eminem is the best rapper ever imo

  • I am a great fan of slim shady,the best.this list is awesome.

  • Ey Explod

    Eminem should be higher up on the list.Granted he only did 1 movie but it was 1 hell of a movie. AND he’s the greatest rapper alive…show some respect dude.

  • MiseryLovesCompany

    Why isn’t Bow Wow here..?? He’s the youngest rapper to have a #1 hit.And he has been acting since he was a kid,plus he even had a cameo in an episode of Ugly Betty…so he has done movies,tv,music.Sounds like a worthy contender for your list.Research a little bit more next time.Bow Wow is better than a bunch of guys in your goddamn list.

  • otcconan

    You can't leave Mark Wahlberg of a list like this.

  • colt

    yu got it ryt shawty

  • DJ Funk

    Ice-T should of made it way up the list, to like number three or two. That's just my personal opinion.

  • Vader

    Yuck, rap.

    Isn’t Ludacris the guy who was in a Justin Bieber video? Fail.

  • Angie

    2pac and B.o.B r missing
    Where r they?

  • Dumbass

    Did you reall put “get jigga wit it???” -___-

  • Adamson

    Wheres tupac shakur !! ??

  • aaron

    What about 50 Cent???

  • Jamsie

    Jamie Foxx anyone?

  • pNNNk

    WTF IS THIS!:))
    1.Where is TuPac
    2.Eminem is oviously greatest rapper ever
    3.Who is that girl!!?:))
    4.Ludacris it’s a shit!
    5.And other epic miss:Doctor Dre,Proff,Easy E,Snopp Dogg

  • Extasy

    This is about best rapper turned actor … or best actor tourned rapper…?? if you reverse this top u wil have the real one

  • latayah

    this game looks so boring

  • Kate Moto Leiataua

    Mos Def is the model rapper/actor. He’s very convincing in his music and character portrayals. Been a fan of his music (+ Talib Kweli) though missed his appearance on Dexter.

  • camron

    Eminem u are the best wold

  • Sam

    Eminem should be no. 1!

  • Martin Gajewski Jr.

    Forgot DMX and 50

  • brazilrealestate

    I agree with Tupac and Snoop Dogg, 50 is getting better at acting…

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