TOP 15 Most Successful Hip Hop Movies


It is no longer surprising these days to see artists starting their career in the musical world and landing in the cinematographic universe, and they are doing pretty well! Several big names in the movie industry today have made a detour through music before filling cinema theaters. Here is a list of 15 Most Successful Hip Hop Movies.

15) Wild Style (1982)

Wild Style directed and produced by Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant, is the story of how hip-hop came to be from the perspective of the actual hip-hop pioneers, playing themselves in the film.

Initial release: 23 November 1983 (USA)

Director: Charlie Ahearn

Producer: Charlie Ahearn

Production company: Rhino Entertainment

Screenplay: Charlie Ahearn

The film has received a large cult following over the years after its initial release. Highly regarded hip hop albums such as Illmatic by Nas, Midnight Marauders by A Tribe Called Quest, Black Sunday by Cypress Hill, Resurrection by Common, Big Shots by Charizma, Operation: Doomsday by MF Doom, Check Your Head by Beastie Boys, Beat Konducta by Madlib, Jay Stay Paid by J Dilla and Quality Control by Jurassic 5 have used samples from the film. In 2007, the VH1 Hip Hop Honors paid tribute to Wild Style in recognition of its influence upon the culture. The film was also voted as one of the top ten rock and roll films of all time by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The film has been exhibited as part of a 1980s art retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. (Wikipedia)

79% Google users liked this film

14) Style Wars (1983)

Style Wars is the first-ever graffiti documentary, directed by Charlie Ahearn.

Initial release: 1983

Director: Tony Silver

Distributed by: Public Broadcasting Service

Featured songs: Beat Bop, 8th Wonder

Producers: Henry Chalfant, Tony Silver

In 2009, A. O. Scott of The New York Times examined the film:

"Style Wars is a work of art in its own right too, because it doesn't just record what these artists are doing, it somehow absorbs their spirit and manages to communicate it across the decades so that we can find ourselves, so many years later, in the city, understanding what made it beautiful."

A 2018 review from The New Yorker also recommends the film, citing its soundtrack and its ability to capture the historical moment it centres on. As of 2020, the film has a 95% audience score out of over 3,000 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, although it does not have an official critical consensus yet. Style Wars also has an 8.1/10 rating on IMDb as of 2020, out of over 2,500 reviews. (Wikipedia)

92% Google users liked this film

13) Ghost Dog: Way of The Samurai (1999)

Initial release: 6 October 1999 (France)

Director: Jim Jarmusch

Screenplay: Jim Jarmusch

Music composed by: RZA

Casting directors: Ellen Lewis, Laura Rosenthal

DescriptionGhost Dog (Forest Whitaker) is a contract killer, a master of his trade who can whirl a gun at warp speed and moves through this world like a phantom -- stealthy and evanescent. In the spirit of the samurai, he has pledged his loyalty to a small time mobster named Louie (John Tormey) who saved his life many years before.

87% Google users liked this film

12) Boyz N The Hood (1991)

Three childhood friends, Darrin, Tre and Ricky, struggle to cope with the distractions and dangers of growing up in a Los Angeles ghetto.

Initial release: 12 June 1991 (Canada)

Director: John Singleton

Screenplay: John Singleton

Producer: Steve Nicolaides

Awards: NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Motion Picture, MTV Movie Award for Best New Filmmaker

Boyz N The Hood won 6 awards (14 nominations), including the Best New Director, John Singleton (1991), the PFS Award, Peace, the Young Artist Award, Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture and the Best New Filmmaker, John Singleton (1992). 

94% Google users liked this film

11) This Is The Life (2008)

A feature-length documentary that chronicles The Good Life emcees, the alternative music movement they developed, and their worldwide influence on the art form.

Initial release: 10 March 2009 (USA)

Director: Ava DuVernay

Screenplay: Ava DuVernay

Music composed by: Omid Walizadeh

Producers: Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick, Omid Walizadeh, Isaac Klotz

LA Weekly wrote "This is the Life vaults into the upper echelons of must-see hip-hop documentaries. It's smart, informative, and hugely important historically". Variety wrote, "The docu is clearly the product of real love, bubbling over with enthusiastic performances and an indelible sense of place". The Los Angeles Times called the film, "A rich narrative of praise, clarification, brother-and-sisterhood and the birth of cool". (Wikpedia)

92% Google users liked this film

10) Slingshot Hip Hop (2008)

Slingshot Hip Hop is a 2008 documentary film directed by Jackie Reem Salloum which traces the history and development of Palestinian hip hop, in the Palestinian territories from the time DAM pioneered the art form in the late 1990s.

Initial release: 18 January 2008

Director: Jackie Salloum

Editor: Jackie Salloum

Producers: Jackie Salloum, Waleed Zaiter, Rumzi Araj

The film premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and was later shown on the Sundance Channel and has won over 13 awards. It has shown in film festivals around the world including; International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), ND/NF, Stockholm International Film Festival, Sensoria Music & Film Festival, Bonnaroo Music Festival, DOX BOX Syria, Dubai International Film Festival, Beirut International Film Festival, Boston Palestine Film Festival. In August 2008 Slingshot Hip Hop was shown to Palestinian youth in three of Lebanon's Palestinian refugee camps; Shatila, Bourj al-Barajneh, and Beddawi. (Wikipedia)

9) Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (2004)

Dave Chappelle's Block Party, also known as Block Party, is a 2005 documentary film hosted and written by comedian Dave Chappelle, and directed by Michel Gondry.

The film grossed $11,718,595 in the United States and an additional $333,329 overseas, giving the film a total gross of $12,051,924; based on a $3 million budget, the film was a moderate success. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 92% of critics gave positive reviews based on 125 reviews with an average score of 7.7/10. The general consensus is "Dave Chappelle's Block Party is a raucous return to the spotlight for the comic, buoyed by witty, infectious humor and outstanding musical performances." Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 84 based on 30 reviews. The DVD has sold a total of 1,240,405 copies since 2006, grossing a total of $18,776,445. (Wikipedia)

87% Google users liked this film

8) Beat Street (1984)

Hailing from the rough slums of the Bronx, a young hip-hop artist aspires to make it big as a disc jockey. His brother Lee too is a breakdancer who wishes to rule the street.

Initial release: 8 June 1984 (USA)

Director: Stan Lathan

Box office: 16,6 million USD

Producers: Harry Belafonte, David V. Picker

Beat Street's impact was felt internationally as well as throughout the United States. In Germany, for example, movies such as Beat Street and Wild Style are credited with introducing the hip hop movement to the country. Because movies are so easily distributed over borders, part of the importance of this movie lay in its ability to influence both East Germany and West Germany, which at the time were still divided. Beat Street was of particular importance in the East, where it is said to illustrate for young people the evils of capitalism. Because the film focused so heavily on the visual aspects of hip hop, such as breaking and graffiti, these aspects had the heaviest influence on the emerging German hip hop scene. (Wikipedia)

91% Google users liked this film

7) CB4 (1993)

Initial release: 12 March 1993 (USA)

Director: Tamra Davis

Box office: 17,9 million USD

Screenplay: Chris Rock, Robert LoCash, Nelson George

Producers: Chris Rock, Nelson George

After many failed attempts to establish themselves as rappers, Albert (Chris Rock), Euripedes (Allen Payne) and Otis (Deezer D) get their big break when nightclub owner Gusto (Charlie Murphy) is arrested. Albert assumes his name and criminal past, becoming MC Gusto, and the trio rises to fame by pretending to be recently released felons. As their fame increases, so do tensions within the group. When Gusto escapes from prison, he is furious at having his identity stolen and vows revenge. (Wikipedia)

81% Google users liked this film

6) Juice (1992)

Four Harlem teens decide to rob a local bodega in order to gain respect. Things take a turn for the worse when one of them gets enraged and shoots the store owner during the heist.

Initial release: 17 January 1992 (USA)

Director: Ernest Dickerson

Story by: Ernest Dickerson

Box office: 20,1 million USD

Screenplay: Ernest Dickerson, Gerard Brown     

The film received generally favorable reviews. Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, praising the film as "one of those stories with the quality of a nightmare, in which foolish young men try to out-macho one another until they get trapped in a violent situation which will forever alter their lives." Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B+" grading, based on how it depicts four young characters who try to gain complete self-control over their surroundings.

The film is an inflammatory morality play shot through with rage and despair. Like Boyz n the Hood and Straight Out of Brooklyn, it asks: When every aspect of your environment is defined by violence, is it possible to avoid getting sucked into the maelstrom?

Dickerson also received praise for his directorial skills:

Coming out from behind Spike Lee's camera, Ernest Dickerson has instantly arrived at the forefront of the new wave of black directors. His film aims for the gut, and hits it.

Juice holds a rating of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 24 reviews.

90% Google users liked this film

5) Hustle and Flow (2005)

DJay, a pimp, suffers from mid-life crisis. When he meets a musician friend, he is inspired to make a career in rap music.

Initial release: 22 July 2005 (USA)

Director: Craig Brewer

Featured song: Hustle & Flow

Box office: 23,5 million USD

Cast: Terrence Howard, Taryn Manning, Taraji P. Henson

89% Google users liked this film

4) Friday (1995)

Craig and Smokey spend their time wishing their day was more eventful. Their dreams come true when encounters with their neighbours add spice to their life.

Initial release: 26 April 1995 (USA)

Director: F. Gary Gray

Featured song: Friday

Box office: 28,2 million USD

Screenplay: Ice Cube, DJ Pooh

91% Google users liked this film

3) Notorious (2009)

A biopic of Notorious B.I.G., who rose from being a Brooklyn street hustler to respected rap artist.

Initial release: 16 January 2009 (USA)

Director: George Tillman Jr.

Box office: 44,4 million USD

Budget: 20 million USD

Producers: Voletta Wallace, Mark Pitts, Wayne Barrow, Robert Teitel, Trish Hofmann, Edward Bates, Christopher Singleton

87% Google users liked this film

2) Get Rich Or Die Tryin (2005)

After his mother's death in an apparent drug deal gone wrong, Marcus takes up drug peddling to pay his bills. However, his life changes when he decides to give it up and pursue his passion for rap.

Initial release: 9 November 2005 (USA)

Director: Jim Sheridan

Featured song: Hustler's Ambition

Box office: 46,4 million USD

Producers: Jim Sheridan, Jimmy Iovine, Chris Lighty, Paul Rosenberg

Get Rich or Die Tryin' holds a 16% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based upon 117 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "While it may be based upon 50 Cent's own life experiences, Get Rich or Die Tryin' is too similar to many other rags-to-riches stories to resonate." Radio Times criticized the film, saying that "as a vehicle for hip-hop superstar Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson, this [film] runs out of gas a fair few kilometres short", giving it a "could be worse" rating of 2/5 stars. CinePassion stated that "[Jim] Sheridan's surface vividness is applied around a vacuum." (Wikipedia)

94% Google users liked this film

1) 8 Mile (2002)

Jimmy 'B-Rabbit' Smith is an aspiring rapper with a messed-up life. He must use his rap skills to succeed in a rapping contest as this could be his last chance to get out of the ghetto.

Initial release: 6 November 2002 (USA)

Director: Curtis Hanson

Box office: 242,9 million USD

8 Mile opened at No. 1 with $51,240,555 in its opening weekend, the then second highest opening for an R-rated movie in the U.S. The film would go on to gross $116,750,901 domestically and $126,124,177 overseas for a total of $242,875,078 worldwide. The film's final domestic gross would hold the film at No. 3 in Box Office Mojo's "Pop Star Debuts" list, behind Austin Powers in Goldmember (Beyoncé) and The Bodyguard (Whitney Houston). The 8 Mile DVD, which was released on March 18, 2003, generated $75 million in sales and rentals in its first week, making it the biggest DVD debut ever for an R-rated movie and putting it in the all-time Top 10 for first week home video sales for a movie. A VHS version was also released on the same date. (Wikipedia)

93% Google users liked this film