Drake was revealed as The Hollywood Reporter‘s new cover boy this morning (Nov. 8). In the cover story, written by Tatiana Siegel, the 31-year-old actor-turned-rapper detailed his plans to return to the television and film industry, which he is actively carrying out.
In September, Drake and his manager/longtime business partner Adel “Future” Nur made their producing debut with The Carter Effect, a documentary about NBA legend Vince Carter, at the Toronto Film Festival. His other projects in motion include an unnamed series with Anonymous Content and studio A24 and a Netflix revival of Top Boy.
Here are 10 other rappers who have also gone on to produce in either film or television (or both).
50 Cent, sometimes under his real name Curtis Jackson, has 21 producing credits to his name. Some of those are documentaries dating back to 2003 centering around his rap career. More recently, and most successfully, he is the executive producer of STARZ hit television series Power, in which he also has a role. The show finished its fourth season in September. More recently, 50 has taken on a role with BET, having just started hosting late night comedy show 50 Central.
Ice Cube streamlined his venture into Hollywood with his rap career — his producing debut coming all the way back in 1995 when he was the executive producer of classic film Friday (in which he also starred). Since then, he’s either produced or executive produced Next Friday, Barbershop 2: Back in Business and the television series Barbershop, the Ride Along franchise and more.
Most recently, Cube played a role in the production of 2015 biopic Straight Outta Compton, which explored the vast history of pioneer hip-hop group N.W.A (members Cube, Dr. Dre and the late Eazy-E). Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., portrayed him in the film.
Also one-third of N.W.A, Dr. Dre helped in the production of Straight Outta Compton. The entertainment mogul has his hand in a lot of business ventures (Hi, Beats by Dre), but as it pertains to production specifically, he has focused on documentaries (outside of 2001’s The Wash, which he co-starred in alongside Snoop Dogg): 50 Cent: The New Breed, The Game: Documentary and Compton’s Finest (currently in post-production).
LL Cool J
LL Cool J has been very forward-facing when it comes to his work in Hollywood. Up until this February’s 59th annual Grammy Awards, Cool J had hosted the Grammys five years in a row.
The “Doin’ It” rapper also hosts Spike’s Lip Sync Battle — a series spin-off from a game popularized on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He also produces the show.
LL has also starred in 197 episodes of CBS primetime action drama NCIS: Los Angeles, spanning from 2009 to the present.
The most famous film linked to Eminem is of course 2002’s 8 Mile, where he starred as Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith, in a narrative largely based on the real-life experiences of the artist formerly known as Marshall Mathers.
But surprisingly, Em did not have any hand in the production of his own biopic.
His production experience has come via Bodied, a film about battle rap, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this year. Previously, Eminem executive produced the non-fiction series Detroit Rubber, Road to Total Slaughter and Total Slaughter 1.
?New York’s Nas is currently knee-deep in Monster, a drama film following a 17-year-old honors student accused of a brutal crime he says he didn’t commit. Along with John Legend, Nas is the executive producer. The A-list cast also includes Jennifer Hudson, A$AP Rocky and Kelvin Harrison Jr.
Nas has also produced one episode in 2016 for television series The Get Down and 2008 documentary Tyson.
If any rappers want to learn how to seamlessly transition into a new industry, direct their attention to Sean (P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, Diddy) Combs.
Combs began with producing his MTV competition series Making the Band, which lasted in various iterations until 2009. He extended his expertise in the music industry to television once more by serving as executive producer on Run’s House, a reality series following the lives of Rev. Run of Run DMC and the Simmons family.
Perhaps his most critically acclaimed producing credit came with Netflix documentary Undefeated in 2011, for which he won his first Oscar (Best Documentary) and became one of only three hip-hop stars to ever win one.
Other projects Diddy has helped produce are Dope, Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story and Daddy’s Girls.
Common is within reach of one of entertainment’s highest honors — being an EGOT winner. (EGOT is an acronym standing for having won each a Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award.) So far, Common has won an Emmy (13th), a Grammy and an Oscar, the last two both for his song “Glory” with John Legend.
As a producer, Common — a South Side Chicago native — is the executive producer of television series The Chi, which is currently in post-production, and expected next year on Showtime.
Along with Diddy, JAY-Z set the stage for what it really meant to be taken seriously in industries other than hip-hop. Mentioned in Drake’s Hollywood Reporter cover story is the fact that JAY-Z had aligned last year with the now-disgraced The Weinstein Co. on projects titled In the Heights, Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said, and a film centered around the late Trayvon Martin — all of which are in limbo.
Production credits that have been executed for Hov include the acclaimed 2013 film The Great Gatsy starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Pharrell doesn’t really quality as a rapper now as much as he did in his prime Neptunes/N.E.R.D. days as Skateboard P, but he’s Pharrell — and Pharrell creates approximately half of everything ever in the world (unofficial statistic).
Among those creations include producing roles in films such as Dope (2015) and Hidden Figures (2017). Pharrell was also a composer for Hidden Figures, as well as for the Despicable Me franchise.