1. Naturi Naughton
Naturi is known for her roles on Power and Notorious, however today’s generation won’t know that she was one-third of an R&B trio called 3LW (3 Little Women). The group also consisted of Adrienne Bailon and Kiely Williams. Naturi left the group in 2002 due to alleged heated arguments and was replaced by Jessica Benson.
2. Will Smith
When this generation thinks of Will Smith, they think of an Oscar-nominated actor, 1990s style icon, and the story of how his life got flipped upside down. But they won’t know about the time he was charting Billboard 200 and won a Grammy alongside his comrade DJ Jazzy Jeff, before Quincy Jones made him the Fresh Prince.
3. LL Cool J
Before LL was hosting Spike’s Lip Sync Battle and fighting crime on NCIS he was a kangol-hat-wearing, hearththrob looking for love. Last year he announced that he was retiring from music, although he didn’t put out a song since 2009. He quickly unretired and announced a new album that we’re still waiting for.
4. Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah is a recognizable actor but today’s generation won’t remember her rapping about women empowerment. Before Girls Trip and Set It Off, Queen took home a Grammy in 1995 for Best Rap Solo Performance for “U.N.I.T.Y”.
5. Ice Cube
Thanks to the Straight Outta Compton biopic today’s generation are familiar with Ice Cube’s early music career with NWA. He rapped about the social and political injustices Black people faced alongside the N*ggas With Attitude, and branched off to start a solo career. He then created the Friday film series and been raking up acting money ever since.
Before he was the passive aggressive officer, Tracy Marrow, on Law and Order: SVU, Ice-T was releasing politically conscious raps. He received a nod by the Recording Academy for his 1992 hit “New Jack Hustler”, and took home the award for “Back on the Block” in 1991 for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Rap Group.
Common was first known as a well-spoken rapper who became a prominent voice in Hip Hop’s new millenium renaissance. He later transitioned to acting and starred in a few minor television roles, but made his debut on the big screen in 2007’s American Gangster. He has been seen in many other films since then including, Suicide Squad and Selma.
Ludacris is the new host for the re-boot of Fear Factor and one of the main characters of the Fast and Furious franchise. But before all that he was rocking one of the biggest afros and telling tricks to get out the way!
Today’s generation won’t know that Tyrese started off as an R&B singer before he became an actor. He has received nods by the Recording Academy for songs like “Sweet Lady” and “Act Like That”. Now he has grown to be one of the favored characters on the Fast and Furious franchise.
10. Lil Mama
Lil Mama’s lip gloss was poppin before her role in the TLC biopic as Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez and the forthcoming film, When Love Kills. But now she wants you to put some respect on her name and call her by her government name, Niatia Kirkland, as she pursues a serious acting career.