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Lists: Five underrated rappers-turned-actors

By Sarah Godfrey

The Queen Latifah/Common flick “Just Wright” opened over the weekend, and while rappers have been snapping up acting gigs for a while now, a romantic comedy starring two people who got their start in hip-hop is still kind of a big deal.

Entertainment blogs have spent this week marking the occasion by creating lists of the best and worst rappers/actors. All of the usual suspects show up: Will Smith, Ludacris, Ice Cube, Mos Def, Snoop, LL -- even DMX.

But when folks discuss rappers-turned-actors, some fine thespian MCs are inevitably left out of the conversation. To right this wrong, Click Track has compiled a list of some of the most underrated acting rappers of our time.

(Read the list, after the jump.)

- Sticky Fingaz: This raspy-voiced Onyx rapper is a favorite of cop show casting directors ("Law & Order," "New York Undercover") and his film work is a mix of high-end ("Clockers") and low-end ("Malibooty," "Dough Boys"). The man even has a "Nash Bridges" credit on his resume. 'Nuff said.

- Fredro Starr: Another Onyx member, another impressive body of work. Want to talk about range? Starr has convincingly played both the boyfriend of singer-turned-actress Brandy, on her '90s sitcom, “Moesha,” and the slur-spewing Bird on HBO's “The Wire.”

- The Game: Although Jayceon Taylor is a relative newcomer to Hollywood, he has already put in some interesting work on the big screen. His role as a kidnapping kingpin "Meat" in the Tyrese Gibson/Meagan Good movie “Waist Deep" was goosebump-inducing.

- Black Thought: The acting work of the Roots rapper goes beyond the occasional "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" skit: In 2001, Thought starred (!) in a film called "Brooklyn Babylon," the touching story of a poet-rapper who falls in love with an Orthodox Jewish girl and faces the wrath of her family.

- Ja Rule: Ja may not have much of a rap career anymore, but he's still making movies. The rapper-turned-actor has appeared in films such as "The Cookout" and "The Fast and the Furious," and on the short-lived TV series "South Beach." He's next slated to appear in the Lance Rivera-directed "C02," alongside Mike Tyson.

By Sarah Godfrey  |  May 19, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Lists  | Tags: Black Thought, Common, Fredro Starr, Ja Rule, Just Wright, Queen Latifah, Sticky Fingaz, The Game  
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How could everyone forget Tupac in the cinematic tour de force "Gridlock'd"?

Posted by: agl132 | May 19, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget Pac in "Nothing But Trouble."

Posted by: ChrisRichards | May 19, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I think Pac's acting is celebrated, not underrated (Above the Rim! Juice!), so I left him off this list, but "Gridlock'd" is definitely a classic. "Cookie's dyin' and they got me on hold!"

Posted by: Sarah_Godfrey | May 20, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

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