There are not many artists that have successfully made the transition from music to acting and vice versa. I will be highlighting those that have and discussing a few that have not lived up to the hype.
LL Cool J began his career in the mid-80s with his debut album, Radio. He was known for his Kangols, tone body and his signature of licking his lips. He was also one of the first rappers to merge R&B and Hip Hop and got a lock of flack for it during his time, but now that trend is a hit. Over the course of his 20+ year career he has released 8 studio albums and 2 compilation albums in 96 and 09 and has won 2 Grammys along the way.
His acting career began in simultaneously with that of his rapping career and starred in minor roles and took his talents to TV starring in the show, In The House, in 1999. He has gone on to appear in several other movies such as: Deep Blue See, In Too Deep, Deliver Us From Eva, Rollerball, S.W.A.T., and others. He returned back to TV as a star on the NCIS spin-off, N.C.I.S.: Los Angeles and has been there since 2009. He’s also been the Grammy host for the past 3 years as well as the Grammy Nominee show host.
Jamie Foxx began his career doing stand up in the late 80s and landed his first huge role on In Living Color in 1991 where he remained for 4 years. After his time with In Living Color he released his debut album, Peep This. He did not dwell so much on the album and went back to acting and appeared on TV shows and movies here and there before landing his own show, The Jamie Foxx Show in 1996. During that time he appeared in movies such as: Booty Call, Any Given Sunday, Player’s Club, Ali, and more.
The turning point in Foxx’s career was his starring role in Ray in 2004. This role rejuvenated his career in a way making him more assessable to roles other than comedy. He won an Academy Award for his role and released his second album, Unpredictable, that same year. Foxx juggled both music and acting and won a Grammy alongside Kanye West for ‘Golddigger’ and won a Grammy for his solo work in 2010 for his hit ‘Blame It’ featuring T-Pain. Foxx is currently back in the acting world and recently starred in the hit, controversial movie, Django Unchained and will be appearing in upcoming movies The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Annie, and Horrible Bosses 2.
Grammy award winner, Will Smith, is more so best known for his show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, than anything else in his career. Aside from acting, Will was a ver popular rapper in the 80s becoming the first to win in the first Grammy award in the Rap category alongside DJ Jazzy Jeff in 1988. His acting career has him 4 Golden Globe and 2 Academy Award nominations. He’s starred in movies: Independence Day, Enemy of the State, Wild Wild West, Ali, I Am Legend, and more. He starred alongside his son Jaden, in the Pursuit of Happyness and starred in movie series Bad Boys and Men In Black.
There are other artists who have done the transition successfully such as Jennifer Hudson,Tupac, Aaliyah, Tyrese, Ludacris Justin Timberlake, etc. Aaliyah and Tupac’s lives were both cut short, but they both were very impressive on the big screen and musically.
You even have the Disney stars that are doing too bad for themselves such as Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and Miley Cyrus.I have realized that the transition either works or it doesn’t and it’s more so men having better chances with landing roles than women.
Beyoncé is one to me that he acting chops don’t seem as organic and natural. She’s such a perfectionist it seems like she tries really really hard, some times too hard. I’m not saying that all the movies she’s been in were horrible, but I think that she’s a better performer than she is an actress. All of the movie roles she’s taken on has been with her singing primarily minus Austin Powers in Goldmember and Obsessed.
There’s more, but those were just some that always stood out to me that could juggle successfully both acting (TV/Movie) and singing.