Actors are born entertainers. As are rappers, DJs and B-Boys. And sometimes people walk a different path before settling on what they really love. And so here are some of the celebrities who have represented hip hop culture in some way or another, on a journey to fame.
Elijah Wood has had a very successful career in film and television, but has had music and vinyl as a passion alongside his career. Now, along with his partner Zach Cowie, they are Wooden Wisdom, a dj partnership covering soul, hip hop, disco, nu wave, afrobeat and everything inbetween. With mixes now starting to surface, they appear to be a revelation. Check their Soundcloud for further evidence.
This is more a case of a musician doing some TV to make some extra cheddar rather than being part of a career trajectory. BBC 1xtra’s Mistajam played Minty The Chef in ITV’s 2001 remake of Crossroads. Needs must, and it’s done no damage to his career – with shows on 1xtra and a healthy gig calender, I remember being blown away by his warm up set for Nas at Glastonbury a couple of years back.
Way back before the days appearing in films like Oceans Eleven and Gone In 60 Seconds, Sonny Corleone’s son was in a group with one of the biggest names in present day hip hop. Whooliganz was an LA rap group featuring Scott aka Mad Skillz and Alan Maman fka Mudfoot and now known more familiarly as producer The Alchemist. They did enough to impress Cypress Hill’s B-Real to the point that he invited them to join the Soul Assassins collective. Unfortunately however, following the limited radio support of their debut single, Tommy Boy shelved their album.
Brian Austin Green
Back in ‘96 when Beverly Hills 90210’s shining light was starting to fade, lead actor Brian (Austin) Green released a hip hop album, One Stop Carnival. Produced by Slimkid 3 from The Pharcyde, you can’t front on the beats. Lyrically, it’s not the strongest material out of LA in the 90s and it was badly received both commercially and critically. Based on the beats alone, I’m not angry at it though…
Back before he was a chat show host and comedian, Tom Green was rooted in hip hop in his native Canada. His group Organized Rhyme was nominated for the 1993 Juno award for best rap recording, and won the Muchvibe best rap video award in 1992. Throughout his career he’s kept in touch with rap, releasing another album in 1998, and freestyling on his chat show like so:
Honourable mentions for the B-boys: