Five years after The Notorious B.I.G.’s life story was adapted for Hollywood, the long-delayed biopic of his bitter rival, Tupac Shakur, will also be heading for cinemas after Morgan Creek Productions confirmed this month that they are finalizing negotiations for the film to start shooting in 2014. Their feud may have been one of hip-hop’s more tragic tales, but there are plenty of other rappers whose real-life narratives are worthy of gracing the big screen. Here’s a look at five of the more eventful.
Raised by his single mother, Jay-Z went from being a crack-dealing, brother-shooting teenager to the pop superstar-marrying, President shoulder-rubbing founder of a hip-hop empire worth $500 million. By far the ultimate rags-to-riches story.
Eric Wright allegedly earned up to $250,000 selling drugs in the mid-80s before realizing he could make even more money by becoming the Godfather of Gangsta Rap. Under the moniker of Eazy-E, he pioneered the West Coast sound with two solo albums and as a pivotal member of N.W.A before passing away due to complications from AIDS in 1995.
One of the first female rappers to be accepted on the hardcore rap scene, Lil’ Kim was thrown out of her house as a teen before she attracted the attention of Biggie Smalls. Three US Top 10 albums and a major beef with Foxy Brown then followed before she was sentenced to twelve months in prison for a perjury charge relating to a shooting outside a radio station.
One of the more intriguing hip-hop back stories, Rick Ross worked as a correctional officer in the early ’90s before finding fame at the relatively late age of 30. Since then he’s nearly died after suffering multiple seizures, been the target of a drive-by shooting and kickstarted a rivalry with 50 Cent which many believe to be entirely faked.
Possibly more suited to a mini-series than a film, DMX has spent more time at the police station than the studio during the ’00s, having been arrested for everything from animal cruelty to reckless driving — resulting in six separate jail sentences — while also finding the time to father ten children from several different women.