4 More Rappers Who Deserve Biopics | Features | MN2S

After the recent success of Straight Outta Compton and with All Eyez On Me on the way, we look at 4 Hip Hop artists who deserve biopics of their own.

June sees the release of the highly-anticipated film All Eyez On Me. Based on the life of Tupac Shakur, and named after his third studio album, All Eyez On Me is the latest movie to tell the story of a rap icon. Just two years ago, Straight Outta Compton was making noise at the box office, and last year The Get Down premiered on Netflix, telling the story of Hip-Hop’s inception with the help of genre pioneer Grandmaster Flash.

It seems like tales from the world of Hip-Hop are often the perfect source material for Hollywood movies. So we take a look at 4 iconic artists whose lives deserve the big screen treatment.

1. Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff

Okay, a fictionalised version of Will Smith’s life already exists in the form of classic 90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, with DJ Jazzy Jeff along to play ‘Jazz’. But the duo’s real career is more fascinating than fiction.

Whereas Fresh Prince touched on a family-friendly, sanitised version of Smith’s Philadelphia upbringing, a new biopic could take a more realistic approach, telling the story of Will and Jeff as the fight the odds to take Hip-Hop into the mainstream and become the first Grammy winners of the genre.

Scenes of the young Will Smith being thrust into stardom, and his conscious decision to chase his dream to become “the biggest movie star in the world” would be filled with drama and determination, and recreated footage from behind the scenes of Fresh Prince would be rife for comedy. (Alfonso Ribeiro inventing the ‘Carlton dance’, anyone?)

2. Jay-Z

Considering his colossal success as a rapper and a business(man), it’s astounding that there has never been a big budget film about Jay-Z’s life. From his upbringing in pre-gentrification Brooklyn and the release of Reasonable Doubt, to his time at Def Jam and the founding of Roc Nation and his marriage to Beyonce, Jay-Z’s life story is full of movie-worthy highlights.

Since Hov himself has showed a growing interest in producing films in recent years, perhaps he is honing his chops before he makes the Empire State of Mind movie himself. Considering Beyonce’s proven skills as a visual artist, she too could get involved.

Other rappers could make cameos, too. Jay’s feud with Nas, mentorship from Diddy and mentorship of Kanye West would be highlights, each of these relationships, along with the romance with Beyonce, would be worthy of their own movie.

3. Wu-Tang Clan

The Wu-Tang Clan’s music is so cinematic in sound and scope, their biopic movie basically makes itself. Less realistic than the previous two options, the Wu-Tang movie could draw on the classic Kung Fu film tropes the group uses on their albums. Stylistically directed by a Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez type, the Wu-Tang film could blend fantasy and reality, with sections based on the group’s lore and mythology, and sections based on their history.

Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, RZA, GZA, Method Man, U-God, Masta Killa, and Cappadonna could be portrayed as a Kung Fu collective and as the real-life Hip-Hop group, dealing with the fragile balance of egos that comes with the territory of any band.

RZA himself has hinted that a Wu-Tang biopic may already be in the works, but first his own fictional movie Coco, starring Common and Azealia Banks is due for release. Perhaps RZA would want to get in the director’s chair for the Wu-Tang flick too?

4. A Tribe Called Quest

Their recent comeback brought them back to public attention in the most bittersweet of ways. They may have produced one of the best albums of their career in We got it from Here… Thank You for your Service, but the loss of founding member Phife Dawg was a tragedy for the whole Hip-Hop community.

A Tribe movie would depict the young group attempting to carve out the new style of Hip-Hop, dubbed Native Tongues, in their original base of Queens, New York. Tribe’s sound was eclectic, positive and jazzy when much Hip-Hop at the time was more aggressive and antagonistic. Alongside fellow members of the Native Tongues movement such as the Jungle Brothers and Busta Rhymes, Tribe managed to reach establish the alternative sound as credible and worthy of as much respect as their peers. The group’s journey to do this would be great to see on the big screen.

The documentary Beats, Rhymes and Life already details some of the group’s tougher moments later in their career, but it could still be touched upon in the feature film. No doubt the film should be dedicated to Phife Dawg’s memory for his contribution to the culture, and the great joy he brought millions of fans.

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