By Chris Yuscavage
No, you aren’t seeing things.
That is a clip of Kid Cudi floating around on the Internet featuring the G.O.O.D. Music MC’s cameo appearance in Tuesday’s (November 30) episode of “One Tree Hill.” In addition to Cudi’s TV spot, you also might’ve come across a clip of Nas last week doing his thing in a forthcoming episode of “Hawaii 5-0.” And if you’ve spent any time watching the development of the second season of the “NCIS: Los Angeles” series this fall, you’ve no doubt noticed LL Cool J getting in his fair share of lines on the show.
What can you conclude from this? Today’s rappers are realizing that there’s money to be made by taking their talents to the small screen. And it seems to be picking up steam with more and more MCs getting their first taste of Hollywood. They aren’t the first MCs to show off their acting chops, though. Over the last few years, a handful of rappers have made memorable TV appearances. To show you what we mean, RapFix developed a highlight reel of 10 of our favorite rapper-turned-actor moments. Take a look.
The Rapper: Kid Cudi
The TV Show: HBO’s “How to Make It in America”
The Review: In case you haven’t been paying attention, Cudi’s spot on “One Tree Hill” isn’t his first foray into acting. In fact, it’s probably safe to say his role as Domingo Dean on “How to Make It…” is what helped him land the part. While it wasn’t a huge stretch from his everyday personality — Domingo is basically a hipster-looking dude who thrives in New York City’s downtown scene — it did show that he could act pretty naturally in front of the camera.
The Rapper: Jim Jones
The TV Show: “Crash: The Series”
The Review: Okay, so Jones wasn’t exactly DeNiro in “Taxi Driver” in his short cameo in the TV version of the blockbuster movie, “Crash.” But, still: How cool was it to see the Capo acting opposite Dennis Hopper, even if it was just for a few seconds?
The Rapper: Method Man
The TV Show: “The Wire”
The Review: Don’t worry. Meth’s role in HBO’s hit show was nothing like the one he had in the short-lived FOX sitcom, Method & Red. As Calvin “Cheese” Wagstaff, the Wu-Tang member assumed a large recurring role on one of the best TV shows we’ve ever seen — and only added to how good the show turned out to be. No joke.
The Rapper: Kanye West
The TV Show: “The Cleveland Show”
The Review: As Kenny West — hm, wonder how he came up with that name? — an animated ‘Ye engaged in a rap battle with Cleveland, Jr. in his first cameo and later made another appearance in the premiere for the second season where he rapped alongside Cleveland himself. Both times, he stole the show.
The Rapper: Ludacris
The TV Show: “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
The Review: Judging by his passionate appearance on “Law & Order,” it’s not hard to see why Luda’s been asked time and time (and time) again to appear on TV shows and in movies. Simply put, he’s the best of this bunch when it comes to acting.
The Rapper: Snoop Dogg
The TV Show: “Weeds”
The Review: Snoop Dogg on a show called “Weeds.” This was a no-brainer. It’s actually surprising that it didn’t happen way earlier. Like, say, on the series premiere?
The Rapper: 50 Cent
The TV Show: “The Simpsons”
The Review: He only appeared long enough to make a quick joke about his legal problems at the time, but hey, any appearance on “The Simpsons” is still a right of passage into the world of pop culture. Welcome, Fif.
The Rapper: Three 6 Mafia
The TV Show: “Numb3rs”
The Review: After watching their appearance, it was pretty clear that Three 6 took home an Oscar for their music, not their acting skills. Still, it was pretty cool to see an entire show based around trying to solve the murder of a multi-platinum rap star. Now if only the cops could do this type of work in real life…
The Rapper: Eminem
The TV Show: “Entourage”
The Review: As if Em wasn’t cool enough already, now he’s busting Vincent Chase’s lip in a club full of people? Plenty of celebrities have made cameos on HBO’s hit series, but few left an impact like Slim Shady.
Who is your favorite rapper-turned-actor? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!