Will Smith, left, and Tommy Lee Jones in "Men in Black 3."
Wilson Webb, Sony
Adrien Veczan, Associated Press
Chris Pizzello, Associated Press
Brian Kersey, Associated Press
Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune
Matt Sayles, AP
America's most wanted: Rap's best actors
- Article by: NEAL JUSTIN
- Star Tribune
- August 16, 2012 - 6:54 PM
Quick. Try to think of a rapper who dropped a bomb when he or she transitioned into acting. Tough, isn't it? Most have found at least moderate success as thespians. A few even have become cinematic superstars. Here are our magnificent seven.
Strength: An easygoing charm that allows him to be a bit of a bad boy while saving the day.
Signature role: Agent J, "Men in Black."
What's missing: With the exception of "Hitch," the Fresh Prince hasn't had much luck with on-screen romance. Somebody show him some love.
Strength: A brutal cockiness and an even more brutal Boston accent. Say hello to his mother -- at your own risk.
Signature role: Dignam, "The Departed."
What's missing: More straight-ahead dramas that don't require him to beat up everyone in sight.
Strength: The ability to bounce between comedy and drama, sometimes in the same movie.
Signature role: Cleopatra Sims, "Set It Off."
What's missing: A keener eye for material. Latifah hasn't had a sharp script since 2007's "Hairspray." Did you see her and Dolly Parton in "Joyful Noise"? Neither did anyone else.
Strength: A don't-mess-with-me attitude that makes him as dangerous as a hand grenade with a shaky pin.
Signature role: Scotty Appleton, "New Jack City."
What's missing: A sense of humor. We won't think of you as less than a man, Ice, if you crack a smile. Promise.
Strength: An almost poetic presence and intelligence in the smallest of roles.
Signature role: Brother Sam, "Dexter."
What's missing: Leading roles. His acclaimed performances on the New York stage haven't resulted in top billing at the movies -- yet.
Strength: Marketing smarts. Long before Tyler Perry, he was serving up urban comedies to largely ignored black audiences.
Signature role: Craig Jones, "Friday."
What's missing: True grit. Cube's focus on getting laughs almost makes us forget his emotional turn in "Boyz in the Hood."
Strength: Rat Pack cool.
Signature role: Walter Lee Younger, "A Raisin in the Sun."
What's missing: Experience. Combs has only done three major movies and his TV roles are often little more than cameos.
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