@ the end of the day…can artists be successful as rappers and actors?
What do The Fat boys, Kid N Play, Lady of Rage, Queen Latifah and Ice-T have in common? They are all best known as actors. Wait a minute…I meant to say best known as rappers? Depending on what generation and type of music listener you ask, this question (also including others to the list) can be difficult to answer. It seems to be a stigma to artists that become actors (or vice versa). Once they cross over from the video screen to the silver screen they walk a fine, unbalanced line with fans.. Take a look at Drake and Childish Gambino. Both have gained respect and suffered the wrath of harsh criticism from hip hop heads. With Drake, some think that Jimmy should get back in his wheelchair and roll back to Degrassi. And with Childish Gambino, some are thinking “Is Donald Glover for real or is this a like a Lonely Island spoof thing?”. With both of their albums dropping this week, “can artists be successful as rappers and actors?”.
1. Dedication is debatable. Within hip hop, artists put their all into their careers. So, when fans see someone bouncing back and forth, it looks suspect. Are they doing it to get more exposure? Are they doing it for more money? Can you truly give each the same focus and attention at the same time and put out a quality product?
2. Authenticity is affected. Hip Hop is about keeping it real (we will save that debate for another blog). So, when you are a rapper that’s an actor…how do we know that you’re…not just acting? If you’re too well of an actor, its quite possible that fans may think that your lyrics and style is all for show.
3. Skills over success. Just because you are successful in one area, doesn’t mean that you will be equally successful in the other. We have seen several movies ruined because rappers thought that they could act. We have also seen/heard freestyles from actors that have made us not want to even listen to the original track again. Rule of thumb – if you aren’t good at rapping, then acting can be hit or miss.
Even though we see so many people violate these points, there are many that don’t. Will Smith, Ice Cube, Mos Def and Queen Latifah are a few names that show success on both sides. There is one thing that people can’t forget about this issue – both of these jobs are considered art. Rapping and acting allow individuals to express themselves freely. As artists (speaking of both rap and acting), you live to mature and transcend your work. We can see that Drake and Childish Gambino are doing that. When the lights are on and the cameras are rolling/the pro tools are recording…hip hop and movie fans simply want to see the action.