Word to Officer Ricky, most rappers are only acting, so what's the harm if a professional actor occasionally grabs the mic? Sure, wack beats, wack rhymes, wack rap voices, and wack posturing can cause irreparable damage to your ears, but whatever, it's not all bad. Take for instance the big homie Simon Rex, who went from masturbating in gay porn vids as a teen hustler to veejaying on MTV to starring in the series Jack & Jill before he found his true calling: spitting hilariously grimy raps as Dirt Nasty. Rex, who turns 36 today, is proof that sometimes actors should quit their day jobs. In honor of his born day, Complex takes a look at the acting and rapping resumés of actors-turned-rappers and decides who should keep their rap dreams alive and who should stick to the script.

SIMON REX, A.K.A. DIRT NASTY
Acting resumé: To his credit, Rex spent two years as an MTV VJ and two seasons with Amanda Peet and Jaime Pressley on the show Jack & Jill. Also to his credit are a bunch of minor roles in minor movies like Pledge This! and Superhero Movie—and the AVN Award-winning solo masturbation scenes he shot for gay porn vids as a 19-year-old hustler. Hey, at least it was award-winning.
Rap resumé: Whether on his 2007 Dirt Nasty debut or guest appearing with his boys Mickey Avalon, Andre Legacy, Beardo, and Andy Milonakis on tracks like Avalon's "My Dick," Rex's West Coast twang and simple delivery of filthy and funny punchlines about sex and drugs make us laugh. In a good way. And you can't even question his realness when he talks about the seedy side of L.A., 'cause your dad probably jerked off to his porn video back in the day.
Verdict: Rapper's delight!

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Actor_Tyrese_Gibson

TYRESE GIBSON, A.K.A. BLACK-TY
Acting resumé: We're not camping out at theaters to see weak urban gangster shit like Waist Deep or the never-ending sequels to The Fast and the Furious, but Gibson gets props for working his way up in the acting world from John Singleton's 2001 cult fave Baby Boy to Michael Bay's big-money Transformers blockbusters. Have YOU gotten to hang around Megan Fox for two movies? Didn't think so.
Rap resumé: Black-Ty was actually a shirtless R&B singer before he was an actor, but whether you hate the idea of R&B singers rapping, or actors rapping, or just can't stand bad rap, you can freely hate on the kid from Watts, whose self-indulgent 2006 double album, Alter Ego, contains one full disc of him singing and one full disc of him rapping like a dumbed-down imitation of Pac. All eyes on you, homie. People are just staring, wondering why the hell you won't shut up.
Verdict: Stick to the script!

"Get Low," Black-Ty feat. Snoop Dogg, Too Short, and Kurupt

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JOAQUIN PHOENIX
Acting resumé: Phoenix is arguably the most talented and successful actor on this list, having been in the 2000 swords-and-sandals smash Gladiator and the award-winning biopic of Johnny Cash, Walk the Line. We should probably just say "stick to the script" now, right?
Rap resumé: It's never a good sign when you tell people that you want to focus on your rap career and they laugh. In 2009, Phoenix stated his intentions, and to this day it remains unclear whether the long-bearded, hobo-looking actor is serious about quitting the biz to mumble into mics, fall on stage, and get into scuffles with audience members or just fucking with everyone on some Andy Kaufman shit. For his sake, we hope it's meant to be humorous, 'cause his rapping is a joke.
Verdict: Stick to the script!

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BRIAN AUSTIN GREEN, A.K.A. BRIAN GREEN
Acting resumé: His film career has been a whole lot of nothing, but B.A.G. was part of one of the television's biggest "teen" dramas of all time, playing loser-turned-cool guy David Silver for a decade on Beverly Hills 90210. More recently, he was in the tragically canceled sleeper series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles—and Megan Fox's vagina. Give this man a Hollywood star already.
Rap resumé: We had a lot of respect for The Pharcyde's Slimkid3 until he produced Green's 1996 rap debut, One Stop Carnival, which was basically the actor dick-riding the group's loose backpacker style but without even .001% of any of the members' charisma. (We wish he'd just stopped his rap career right about here.) Green dropped the "Austin" from his name like it would somehow allow his pop ass to pass in the rap world, and we dropped his LP in the toilet 'cause it was a piece of shit. Still, he's stuck his thing in Megan Fox and we haven't, so there's that.
Verdict: Stick to the script!

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DRAKE
Acting resumé: From 2001-2009, Drake, né Aubrey Drake Graham, played a high school basketball star left disabled by a gunshot wound on Degrassi: The Next Generation. Now we don't feel so bad about taking seven years to graduate high school.
Rap resumé: We haven't heard any of his music, but we hear this rap-singing kid from Canada is gonna be big. Like, cover of Complex BIG.
Verdict: Rapper's delight!

CLICK NEXT TO SEE MORE RAPPIN' ACTORS...

 

DAVID FAUSTINO, A.K.A. D' LIL
Acting resumé: Two words: Bud motherfuckin' Bundy. His Married with Children days may be long gone, but Faustino and fellow child-star-turned-rapper Corin Nemec (from Parker Lewis Can't Lose) have turned their experiences in post-fame fuckery into Star-ving, an internet series which has them in on the joke.
Rap resumé: We really wish that everyone who Faustino rapped for had laughed in his face and continued laughing, but white people and/or studio audiences are easily entertained, as you can see in this clip of him rapping as Grandmaster B on Married with Children. Cackles turned to applause and the pint-sized TV star put out his album Balistyx in 1992 (not coincidentally, the L.A. club he owns is also called Balistyx). We wish we could take the guns he makes with his fingers in the video for "I Told Ya" (above) and blow our shit loose.
Verdict: Stick to the script!

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IDRIS ELBA, A.K.A. DRIIS
Acting resumé: Even if he never makes another decent thing in life, Elba played Stringer Bell, one of the best characters on arguably the best TV show ever. So fuck it, make another Obsessed, mate.
Rap resumé: We were fine with the Londoner DJing, but when he began putting out a tossed salad of rap, soul, and reggae—starting with 2006's Big Man EP—we had to tune him out. Decidedly so-so in all three genres, he'll never broadcast through "the wire" of our headphones.
Verdict: Stick to the script!

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MR. T
Acting resumé: We pity the fool who doesn't know about Mr. T, so if you don't, go rent Rocky III and a season of The A-Team. Pity, we say!
Rap resumé: In 1984, Mr. T put out Be Somebody... or Be Somebody's Fool!, a motivational video with raps for the kids, as well as his child-friendly rap album, Mr. T's Commandments. On some Nancy Reagan shit (you know, if she were black, had a Mohawk, wore 37 pounds of gold, and had a gravel voice), he taught yesteryear's youth to be somebody and not use drugs using some of the most simple-sounding old-school raps you'll ever hear. We said "NO!" to this child propaganda, 'cause even back then we were disappointed he wasn't talking about p-popping and flipping over cop cars.
Verdict: Stick to the script

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GARY COLEMAN, A.K.A. THE OUTLAW AND THE INDIAN
Acting resumé: Not only was Coleman a HUGE sensation playing Arnold Jackson on Diff'rent Strokes, but we're pretty sure he's the only cast member who never smoked crack.
Rap resumé: When it's 1986, and you're at the height of your fame, and you have a chance to make a fool of yourself doing a Western-themed rap single called "The Outlaw and the Indian" with Dion Mial, a co-worker's highly effeminate son who happens to be a former Michael Jackson impersonator, you don't pause to question. You do that shit! Listen, we're not saying this single was the cause of Coleman's recent death, but we wouldn't be surprised, either.
Verdict: Stick to the script!

CLICK NEXT TO SEE MORE RAPPIN' ACTORS...

 

Actor_Donald_Glover

DONALD GLOVER, A.K.A. CHILDISH GAMBINO
Acting resumé: D-Glo kicks ass as Troy Barnes, one half of a bromance with Danny Pudi's Abed Nadir on NBC's Community, and has also written for NBC's 30 Rock. We say that to say this: If you don't respect the man, you can get the Peacock.
Rap resumé: Since 2008, Glover has been putting out mixtapes and albums as Childish Gambino, which, for the record, is a horrible fucking rap name. But, as it turns out, his cleverness and wit extend beyond a television writer's room or the stand-up stage, and he's also known to freak flows over indie rock like Grizzly Bear. Plus, on his most recent album, Culdesac, he says he "busts nuts like a Gallagher squirrel," so yes, we co-sign.
Verdict: Rapper's delight!

"Yes," Childish Gambino

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STU STONE
Acting resumé: A Canadian child actor, Stone has been in the biz since 1984 and isn't dead yet. Then again, based on film credits like Sorority Boys and Kickin' It Old Skool, maybe he is.
Rap resumé: In 2006, Stu and his comedian buddy Jamie Kennedy put out the rap album Blowin' Up in conjunction with their MTV reality show of the same name about trying to make it in rap. It moved only 350,000 copies worldwide, but their video for the single "Circle Circle Dot Dot" has been viewed 13 million times and counting, and we all know that the Internets don't lie, so get ready for his Hip-Hop Honors in 2025.
Verdict: Rapper's delight!

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Actor_Corin_Nemec

CORIN NEMEC, A.K.A. THX
Acting resumé: For three seasons in the early '90s, Nemec was the star of the teen sitcom Parker Lewis Can't Lose, in which he played a high school kid on a missioin to be cool. Given that, and his eventual foray into rhyming, his command to his boys to "Synchronise Swatches" may be the start of rap's timepiece insanity. So basically we're saying blame him for all the rappers who wear their children's food, clothing, and textbook money on their wrist.
Rap resumé: In the '90s, Nemec joined the rap group Starship of Foolz, which was produced by fellow actor Balthazar Getty and featured Shane Mooney, comedian Paul Mooney's son. Actual audio evidence of him rapping is like the Holy Grail of white rap, but we do at least have proof that he once tore the roof off the mutha at TV personality Ed Lover's birthday party. So maybe becoming a Scientologist is still his craziest move.
Verdict: Inconclusive

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Actor_Turner

TYRIN TURNER, A.K.A. CAINE
Acting resumé: Have you seen Menace II Society??? or were you hiding from black people in 1993?
Rap resumé: In 1998, Turner signed to Rap-A-Lot Records as Caine, which was his character's name in the Menace (and really the only reason you'd know him). He made a couple of guest appearances on the Geto Boys' Da Good Da Bad & Da Ugly and Scarface's solo LP My Homies, but didn't exactly rap a lot. Unless by "rap" you mean "wrap," as in finish, 'cause he's been doing that crazily ever since!
Verdict: Stick to the script!

"Menace Niggas Never Die," Scarface feat. Menace Clan and Caine

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