Azealia Banks, Common & RZA Teaming for Musical Drama 'It Doesn't Have to Rhyme'

 Azealia Banks
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

 Azealia Banks performs onstage during day 1 of the 2015 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 10, 2015 in Indio, California. 

Several figures from the rap world, past and present, are teaming up for an inspirational music drama.

Azealia Banks will star in It Doesn’t Have to Rhyme, which is being directed by rapper-turned-director RZA.

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Also joining the Lionsgate production, which was previously going by the titled Coco, is another rapper, Common. Jill Scott and Lorraine Toussaint are also on board the production which will begin shooting this week in New York.

Described as being similar in tone to 8 Mile, the drama tells of a female rapper who enrolls in college and enters a poetry course. The class, however, doesn’t improve her lyrical skills like she hopes but rather unleashes a passion for slam poetry.

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Scott is playing a professor who believes that rapping and slam poetry cannot co-exist while Toussaint is playing Banks' mother. Common will play a mentor figure.

Banks put out several songs that made her a rising star in the rap world before last year releasing her debut album, Broke with Expensive Taste.

RZA made his directing debut with his love letter to 1970s kung fu action movies, The Man with the Iron Fists, in which he starred in with Russell Crowe and Dave Bautista. This is his follow-up, and with its grounded setting in the worlds of academia and music, could not be more different.

This story was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter