Welcome to Know Your History, your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge. Today, we are exploring rappers who came to this music from famous stints acting.
We start off our journey with a rapper who went by the name of D L’il but you probably know him best as Bud Bundy from the television series Married With Children. It may have seen like David Faustino was just trying to cash in on his celebrity at the time with this record, but it is clear that he truly was a hip-hop head.
In an interview Faustino did with Hip-Hop DX, he said that the writers of the series knew that he was really into hip-hop music and culture so they decided to write that into the show.
He said, “No one else was really feeling Hip Hop, yet. It wasn’t mainstream at all. So they all felt I was [weird]. ‘Cause I would bring Hip Hop cats around – people would come visit, from just different deejays and whoever – and they were like, ‘What’s this kid doing?’ They didn’t really understand it that much but they found a way to kind of poke fun at it and [Grandmaster B] was their attempt.”
D’Lil was the first actor turned rapper that I knew about. Maybe, he was a little before his time because I can think of one actor turned rapper who has been quite successful. Some people been call him the greatest rapper out right now.
That’s right, I am talking about Drake. He started his career as an actor in the popular television series Degrassi. Back then, he was simply Aubrey Graham and no one would have guessed that he would become a superstar rapper.
Just like David Faustino, Drake started his rap career while still in the middle of his stint on television. He began the series in 2001 and played the character of Jimmy Brookes for 139 episodes over the next eight years.
His character started pursuing a music career in the series and that translated to real life. In 2006, Aubrey Graham adopted the name of Drake and released a mixtape independently. He followed that up with several more independent releases and people started to take notice. He even managed to get play on BET, a feat that very few Canadian artists have ever done, and even more impressive is that he did so without any support from a record label.
Lil Wayne took him under his wing and the rest is history. He has won several music awards, struck critical acclaim, and sold a huge amount of records. Pretty impressive for someone who got his start on Canadian television.
Drake is a rarity though. There are very few actors who have managed to be sucessful in the rap world. It seems to work the other way around a lot easier. There are too many rappers turned actors to even mention, and some of them are very, very good. Ice Cube, Ice T, and the late great Tupac Shakur come to mind.
Press play to hear these tracks from actors-turned-rappers
D L’il – I Told Ya
Brian Green – You Send Me
Childish Gambino – Centipede
Amanda Diva – Windows Over Harlem
and keep it locked to hear a mixset featuring these tracks
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