The ten best movies featuring rappers
2. Juice (2Pac)
2Pac plays the role of Roland Bishop in the 1992 film Juice, a character he describes as "a psychotic, insecure, very violent, very short-tempered individual." The plot involves four friends, who call themselves "The Wrecking Crew," who get caught in a trap of their own making. Q, played by Omar Epps, and Bishop seem to be archetypal of the two ways to handle a dangerous situation, and their relationship shows how a close friend can ultimately be much more dangerous than an enemy. Rappers are often recruited in movies for their star quality and little else, but 2Pac is the most dynamic character here out of a well acted ensemble.
1. Boyz n the Hood (Ice Cube)
Boyz n the Hood is one of those rare pictures that manages to capture the spirit of a culture at a given time and place, and that place and time was South Central, Los Angeles, 1991. What makes the story so captivating is the familiarity of the characters; they are just any group of friends, ones who we all grew up with -- everybody is portrayed with humanity and sympathy, creating a narrative that is less us versus them as us versus us. The familiar trope of revenge is explored, but so skillfully done that we get caught up in the emotion. We see how exceptional a person it really takes to break the cycle of violence. Ice Cube, for his part, is not that person, nor would we expect him to be. He plays the street smart and fiercely loyal Doughboy, the kind of person we all hope to have on our side in a fight, and he does so convincingly. The role was probably not much of a stretch for '91 Cube.