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7 UK Rapper Actors Who Excelled In Both Fields.

There are many critically acclaimed creatives who deserve their flowers after making a good name for themselves in various artistic fields. We’d like to shine light on 7 great UK talents who have taken their careers beyond their music and done it to a very high quality over the years. In no particular order…

1. KANO

As well as being one of the key pioneers of grime, a Mercury Prize nominee and BET award winner, Kano is also a renowned actor. His role as Sully in “Top Boy”, of which he has been an integral part of since 2011, won him a MOBO in 2022. Also appearing in a 2018 documentary film by the name “Rudeboy: The Story Of Trojan Records” about the first British record label to integrate both Jamaican and British culture into its production, and bridging a cultural gap introducing the likes of ska and jungle to Britain for the first time. He is due to appear in a Netflix film called “The Kitchen” later this year. Co-written by Daniel Kaluuya, it will be a dystopian story about a class divide in 2044 and will put Kano’s acting on a global pedestal once again. 

2. IDRIS ELBA

Idris Elba is seen as one of the best actors to come out of this country. From Stringer Bell in “The Wire” to DJ sets at ABODE, Idris has completed many great feats in both acting and music. With BAFTA’s and Golden Globes and many other awards to his name, his cinematic trophy cabinet is one of legends, and his DJ sets are what anyone owning decks would dream of. He told the truth about his achievements in a way not many can – in a Daily Duppy. He is the only rapper that can truthfully claim both Marvel and DC whilst riding a beat, which is strong enough to say he has completed the entertainment industry. Wiley and Lil Tjay are amongst the long list of features in his discography. His music and films are both global, and his artistic growth still isn’t stopping.

3. RAPMAN

Rapman integrated rap with filmmaking for Link Up TV back in 2018 with “Shiro’s Story”. A 3-part story told solely through music which gained more views than the finale of the BBC’s “The Bodyguard” which aired on the same night “Shiro’s Story” was released. Although Rapman has stepped away from rap for his next production. “Supacell” is a series written and directed by Rapman focusing on five ordinary people from South London developing superpowers. It will be aired on Netflix in the near future. No official release date has been given, but when it eventually does drop, Rapman will have an entire Netflix production to his name, and filmed in the place he grew up with these plans of creative fluidity. 

4. KIDWILD

Before racking up 2.2 million views on his single “Popular Loner”, KidWild had the role of Freddie on CBBC’s “Jamie Johnson” series. Alongside early success in acting, he also has a talent for dancing, featuring in Stormzy’s “Vossi Bop” music video.  He has amassed 212,849 monthly listeners on Spotify all within a year and gained lots of traction from TikTok. He layers samples over drill beats to create catchy songs that clearly appeal to the masses, and the numbers don’t lie. He will likely pop up somewhere else to tackle another area of the arts at a very high quality, and I doubt anybody will be surprised.

5. KHALIL MADOVI

Khalil, or familiarly Josh Carter from “The 4 O’clock Club”, still raps 8 years after leaving the show. With many songs to his repertoire, he keeps growing as an artist and progressing. From what he was showing all those years ago until now, he keeps levelling up. Producing and writing for Sam Wise and grammy nominated Tom Tripp by the age of 25 are both incredible achievements, as well as a role in “Ready Player One” (2018). His acting and music have both done very well so early into his career. Khalil is here to stay. 

6. LITTLE SIMZ

After a number of successful debut albums including mercury prize winning “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” and her latest release “NO THANK YOU”, Little Simz has a lot of acclaimed projects under her belt. The versatile North London solo artist has won multiple awards and has also appeared in an array of TV series and movies. From playing Shelley in Netflix Series “Top Boy”, making an appearance in Plan B’s 2012 film “Ill Manors”, and now playing one of the lead characters “Adunola” in brand new thriller series “The Power”. This is just to name a few, which gives her a clear pass to be classified as one of the UK’s greatest female talents.

7. Dave

Multi-award winner Dave has not only proved himself in music, but also as an actor. He brought life to Modie in 2019’s season of Top Boy as arguably one of the most feared characters in that series. He hints at acting in his album “We’re all alone in this together”, once at the end of the opening track, and the end of the final track. His performance as Modie undoubtedly shows he has a passion for acting, and he will most likely take on more roles in the future. As he has made such an impact breaking barriers within not just rap, but creativity as a whole, Top Boy isn’t the last we will see of Dave on screen, and he will live up to those bars from his 2021 album.

James Woodham

Journalism student with a heavy focus on music

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