Can todays artists cross over into other endeavors?

A lot of people sleep on Will Smith's rap skills but no one can doubt that he has transformed himself into one of the top actors in Hollywood. In fact it was more than common in the late 90's to see your favorite rappers turn up acting in television or film. LL Cool J and Queen Latifah, both icons who went and held down their own prime time series for several years. Both have made a strong impact in film as well and LL is back to the small screen with NCIS Los Angelos where he is just extending his career and influence well beyond that 17 year old kid from queens who wore track suits.

Today's artists don't seem to have that type of future in mind. It has become a prerequisite that you have your body completely covered in tattoos to be in the game which is a severe impediment to acting where you have to take on different characters and everyone doesn't have the budget nor experts required to cover you up. They also don't have the time, especially when it comes to someone they're taking a risk on from the jump. I especially feel like this take on body art negatively affected the career of Shad "Bow Wow" Moss who could have made the transition several years ago had he dedicated himself to that pursuit.

As it stands now, only Nicki Minaj and Drake, who both are characters in the newest Ice Age film have the appeal and physical cleanliness to pursue careers even further. When i say cleanliness, i don't mean they're dirty, I just mean they haven't covered themselves ridiculously by the age of 26 to the point where they can no longer wear normal shirts. Look at Chris Brown whom could have gone to acting as a respite for his domestic abuse woes. Instead all you see now is his myriad of tats, and he is lucky because he has enough of a fan base that he could make the make up worthwhile. What about poor lil Tyga? Or Wiz Khalifa, neither of which seem like they will be hip-hop mainstays. How will they extend their fifteen minutes if all of their on screen appearances are as either a) rapper, b.)artist, or c.) random street tough/gang member .

Now this isn't to say that acting is the end of the line for an artist but it is one of the easiest forums to transition to for musicians and it banks on your fan base already in large part. What about the endorsement side of things? Lil Wayne had a gatorade commercial, about 3 years ago before he went to jail and since then isn't really visible to the bulk of corporate america because the image he presents isn't worth the hassle from their base customer. Remember when both Common and LL Cool J did commercials for the gap? Even Jadakiss was able to get in with Reebok because just looking at him you don't feel threatened or see him as some weirdo. You don't see Travis Barker on American Airlines commercials do you?  Especially for an african american when you already seem to be more dangerous than you truly are. It's actually shocking that Cee-lo was able to get a 7up commercial but thats more due to the success of the Voice than his actual musical career. He is in America's homes every week and looks more like a Genie than a threat.

This isn't hating because you can be an individual however, you should always take into account 5 and 10 years from now and not just whats going to happen in the next 5 to 10 minutes. What artists do you think can make the transition from rap music to other avenues?


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