Last night, the four-part television event, The Tanning of America, made its debut on VH1. The first installment of the series focused on hip-hop’s origins on the streets of New York City. As the program continues, we’ll highlight the genre’s path to the White House and detail its emergence as the most culturally significant movement of our time.
When we were freshmen in high school ten years ago, Eminem’s portrayal of struggling rapper Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith (A.K.A. himself) in 8 Mile was an inspiration. The monster hit “Lose Yourself” from the soundtrack became our personal pump up jam to run laps during gym class, and gave us the confidence to take that “one shot” and ask Jenna to the prom, try out for the class play, or pass that chem test! Plus it was also notable for changing the way we thought of the phrase “mom’s spaghetti” forever.
However as we got a little older, we realized the one shot ol’ Marshall Matthers was rapping about was much more serious than our day to day high school drama. It was about reconciling hopes and dreams with growing up and responsibility, all against the bleek Detroit backdrop. By no means a quick flick rushed out to capitalize on his skyrocketing fame, Eminem gave an incredible performance, made all the more amazing considering it was his first movie!
But Eminem is by no means the only rapper who tried his hand at acting. In fact, it seemed like every MC has made the jump to films at one time or another. Some totally killed it and became a successful multi-talented crossover artist, while others…made Soul Plane. So in honor of Em’s epic 8 Mile turning 10 years old today, we’ve decided to take a look back at some of our favorite rappers-turned-movie stars over the years. Enjoy!
[Photo: Universal/Warner Brothers/Miramax]
There’s one 11-year-old that keeps turning heads because of her free spirit, mega superstar parents and her newfound celebrity. Unfortunately, the attention isn’t always good for Willow Smith. Over the weekend she posted a picture to her Instagram account showing off, wait for it, a tongue ring. After 699 comments–some of concern others of admiration– according to various sources, Willow said the tongue ring is fake. Phew. We’re all about self expression for children, but a tongue ring may have pushed the envelope a bit too much. Read more…
Looking back at the style choices of the Yo! MTV Raps era sends us on a trip down memory lane. How cool were overalls in the ’90s? They’ve even tried to make a comeback (to which we plead please, folks, let them die!). Seeing Tupac in his custom made T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E overalls or Bobby Brown with his slanted high top fade reminds us of a time when rap was fun. As cool as these styles seemed then, today they would almost certainly make the what-not-to wear fashion list.
It’s all in good sport that we poke fun at the awesomely bad style moments of the Yo! MTV Raps era. Speaking of which, our two-hour special The 40 Greatest Yo! MTV Raps Moments airs this Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET/PT. In the meantime, reminisce on the styles we loved then and chuckle at now.
RELATED:10 Nostalgic Reasons To Watch The 40 Greatest Yo! MTV Raps Moments (PHOTOS) [VH1 Tuner]
Where is the justice? Dressed in sweat pants, hair scraped off face, we’re typing about celebri-kiddie Willow Smith(Photos), who happens to be almost two decades younger than us, kicking it with her stylist. Her.Stylist. She’s NINE YEARS OLD.
Come to think of it, we did ponder about whether Willow and her brother Jaden Smith had people dressing them up when we saw them looking way cooler than we ever could at the screening of The Perfect Game three months ago. If you’re Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith‘s daughter, the answer is yes.
Robert Zangardi is the stylist behind all the fierceness and he gushed about Willow saying ”She is young, edgy, and individual.” She’s also nine. Can anyone HEAR us? So that massive Jedward-like pompadour and leopard print you saw at the Karate Kid premiere? That’s all thanks to Zangardi and stylist-costume designer Mariel Haenn who have admittedly customized “hundreds of pieces” for the brother-sister duo.
Miss Willow also got to swing around a Givenchy bag at the premiere, but don’t worry… she’s so not into brands. He revealed, “We start off the design process sitting down with her and talking about what we wanted to make. It wasn’t about the fact that it was a Givenchy bag; it was about the fact that it has gold spikes and star studs on it.” Right, sure, now we get it. And lest you think that this is all crazy, because you so don’t, Zangardi ”allows her to have a little bit more fun and take more risks than an adult could. We just made her a 3-finger ring in diamond and gold.”
The nine year old got a 3-finger ring in diamond and gold. Lourdes Leon, you have stiff competition.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Jay Z and Will Smith are the producers! The powerhouse pair are backing the Broadway show Fela. Although how much moola Will, his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and Jay Z are investing in the production is undisclosed, just having these three big names attached will bring in loads of interest! Fela is a musical based around Afrobeat icon and political activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti. “There’s going to be an enormous incentive for people to investigate Fela when they know that Jay-Z and Will Smith are all rabid fans,” Rikki Stein, Kuti’s former co-manager and executor of his estate, recently said. “It’s a sign that the underground is moving overground.” [Photo: Getty Images]
Oh, 1999. Napster would launch in June, gradually putting an end to those halycon days of albums selling tens of millions of copies, but no one could have guessed that during the 41st Annual Grammy Awards in Februrary. All the big stars were there: Missy, Madonna, J. Lo, J. Lo. Hew., Shania, Erykah and even Natalie. What…don’t you remember Natalie Imbruglia? What about Lauryn Hill? She was the big winner that night for The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, and she still hasn’t released a studio follow-up to the album. Maybe next year!
Will Smith and Celine Dion attend the 1991 American Music Awards, where they presented the award for Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock New Artist to Slaughter. We’re not kidding.
[Photo: Time & Life]