By Anslem Samuel
Ever since “Wild Style” was released in 1983, rappers have been on a quest to cross-pollinate both hip-hop and Hollywood. While most start off behind the mic before jumping in front of the camera, Toronto’s own Drake initiated his limelight journey as the wheelchair-bound Jimmy Brooks on Canadian TV series “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” Having blossomed into one of rap’s biggest acts, Drake appears to be going back to his roots, as rumors have him reportedly dating Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson.
History has shown that the hip-hop ladies man has a penchant for writing about the women in his life (i.e. admitted references to Rihanna on “Fireworks”), so chances are Taraji could get a subliminal shout out sooner or later — if she hasn’t already. While we’ll have to see if that comes to pass, there are a host of other rappers that have name-dropped hot actresses. In fact, here’s a batch of Hollywood beauties referenced on record, complete with a Halle Berry ranking system ‘cause she’s fine. Word to Hurricane Chris.
Not only is she mentioned on five rap songs (Obie Trice’s “Hoodrats,” Game’s “Wouldn’t Get Far,” Playaz Circle’s “Paper Chaser,” Joe Budden’s “Stuntin’ ” and Tay Dizm’s “Dream Girl”) she had an entire lawsuit introduced in her (dis)honor. With basketball season here and Miami being such a hot spot, we see plenty of verses in her future referencing Dwayne Wade and Lebron James.
Ranking: 3 Halle heads
She may have seen her heyday in the 80s, but the Playboy cover girl’s sex symbol status was strong enough to garner four rap record namedrops (Jay-Z’s “Girls, Girls, Girls,” D12’s “American Psycho,” Ras Kass’ “The Evil That Men Do,” and Redman’s “Watch Yo Nuggets”). Not bad for a 53-year-old, but it’s pretty hard to come up with bars that rhyme with Bo Derek. If only her name was Lady of Braids.
Ranking: 1 Halle head
VIVICA A. FOX
Vivica’s always been a fox, admired by the likes of Onyx’s Fredro Starr (“Perfect Bitch”), Daz (“This is the Life I Lead”) and Kool G. Rap (“Thug Chronicles”). Before his boss dated her, Lloyd Banks made a lyrical pass at the seasoned actress on “Bad News.” However, once 50 Cent, who shouted her out on “Get in My Car,” bagged her, Viv’s name became fodder for rap rival Game (“Dreams,” “All I Need” and “The Funeral [100 Bars]”). Eight mentions makes for a notable hip-hop foxhunt, though.
Ranking: 4 Halle heads
She may swim in rock & roll waters, but the former “Baywatch” beauty breast stroked her way into hip-hop’s subconscious. In addition to two drops from Jay-Z (“Big Pimpin’ ” and “Ghetto Techno”), there are three more from Chamillionaire (“Scratch That”), Shop Boyz (“Rock Star Mentality”) and D.O.E. (Timbaland’s “The Way I Are”). Unless she drops another sex tape or lands a reality show, though, we figure Pam’s hip-hop popularity ship has sailed.
Ranking: 3 Halle heads
At 44 years young and fly as ever, Stacey is a constant hip-hop dream girl. Not only has she been mentioned five times on wax (Obie Trice’s “Hoodrats,” La the Darkman’s “Fifth Disciple,” Fredro Starr’s “Perfect Bitch,” Sheek Louch’s “Funkmaster Flex Freestyle” and Magoo on Timbaland’s “Drop”), Dame Dash’s cousin has appeared as eye candy in music videos for Kanye West (“All Falls Down”), Rick Ross (“Super High”) and Game (“Shake”). Double threats earn double points.
Ranking: 4.5 Halle heads
A Blaxploitation icon in the ’70s, the original Foxy Brown tallied up six prominent mentions from rap artists the likes of Lil’ Kim (“Queen Bitch”), Skillz (“It’s Goin’ Down”), Lloyd Banks (“Big Bully”), Timbaland (“Up Jumps Da Boogie”), The Roots (“Break You Off”) and Jurassic 5 (“The Game”). With Drake’s recent TMI confession of “[loving himself] to Pam Grier,” this foxy (old) lady and her dangerous curves probably have a few more honorable mentions on the horizon.
Ranking: 3.5 Halle heads
The Oscar-winner has been hip-hop’s de facto screen queen for more than a minute. Not only did Hurricane Chris dedicate a dance and song to her (“Halle Berry (She Fine)”), but eight more MCs have also shown lyrical love to the former beauty pageant winner. From Master P (“Them Jeans”), Kanye West, Big L (“8 Iz Enuff”) and Missy Elliott (“Work It”) to Kool Keith (“I Run Rap”), Skillz (” ’08 Rap Up”), Fredro Starr (“Perfect Bitch”) and Afro Man (“Whack Rappers”). The hotter the Berry, the sweeter the hook. Let’s get ratchet …
Ranking: 4.5 Halle heads
While Halle seemed like a shoe-in for top hip-hop honors, Da Brat’s half-sister actually tied with nine lyrical mentions of her own. While shouts from Master P (“Them Jeans”), Gucci Mane (“Go Head”), Young Jeezy (“All White Everything”), Fredro Starr (“Perfect Bitch”), Ma$e (“Welcome Back (Remix)”), Kool Keith (“N.B.A.”), Game (“For My Gangstaz”) and Tay Dizm (“Dream Girl”) offer notable LisaRaye quotables, the trump card comes from an unlikely “source” — Benzino. The Boston rapper actually featured her on his 2002 single “Would You,” where LR made her rap debut. She’s definitely a diamond in the rough on the mic, so here’s hoping she leaves any future self-promotional name-drops to the professionals.
Ranking: 5 Halle heads
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