Best Movies With Hip-Hop Storylines

Photo:  Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Pictures
Photo: Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Pictures

With news that 50 Cent plans to make a series based on the 2002 film 8 Mile,  we take a look back at some of the best movies with hip-hop storylines.

While movies such as Paid in Full, Belly, Friday, New Jack City, Menace II Society, and Boyz n the Hood include some of hip-hop’s greatest MCs and inspire songs from artists, they aren’t exactly about the genre.

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The Root takes a look back at the films where hip-hop is either the main storyline or a driving force in it.

Hustle & Flow

Hustle & Flow (2005) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

One of Terrance Howard’s most iconic roles, the film follows DJay, a pimp and drug dealer in Memphis, Tenn. As he gets older and wastes his life away, he uses his experiences in the streets as inspiration for his rap music. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for Three 6 Mafia’s “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp.”


Dope Official Trailer #1 (2015) - Forest Whitaker, Zoë Kravitz High School Comedy HD

While this movie is mostly about a teenager getting caught up in a drug deal gone bad, the main character, Malcolm, is obsessed with 90's hip-hop culture. Throughout the movie uses his brains and knowledge of hip-hop to get himself and his friends out of a terrible situation.

Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton - Official Trailer (HD)

Straight Outta Comton tells the story of N.W.A., the legendary rap group based out of Compton, Calif. The movie follows how every member joined (and eventually left the group) and how they became the most dangerous rap group ever.

Get Rich or Die Tryin’

Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005) Official Trailer # 1 - 50 Cent HD

Mostly autobiographical, Get Rich tells the story of how 50 Cent went from a life of crime into rap superstardom.

Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar Movie Trailer

While this is best-knwon as a classic romantic-comedy, the movie tells the love story of two friends who fall in love thanks to their discovery of hip-hop when they were teenagers.


Juice - Trailer

Although this movie is mostly about how a group of friends maneuver the struggles in their neighborhood, music is also a central theme in that. One of the main characters, Q, is an aspiring DJ tries to juggle his dreams and realities of the neighborhood around him.

8 Mile

8 Mile Official Trailer #1 - (2002) HD

Similar to Get Rich or Die Tryin’, 8 Mile tells the mostly autobiographical story of how Eminem became a rapper in Detroit, with the underground battle rap scene being the amazing backdrop for this movie.

House Party

House Party (1990) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

Friends Kid and Play plan on having the best house part ever while Play’s parents are out of town. This comedy has everything you want, great music, fun dancing and hilarious moments.

Wild Style

Wild Style - Trailer

Considered by many music historians as the first hip-hop film, the movie centers around a Raymond, a graffiti artists who is hired to create backdrop for a break-danace and rap concert during the early 1980s.

Krush Groove

Krush Groove - Theatrical Trailer

Loosely based on the early years of record producer Russell Simmon, Krush Groove follows an up-and-coming record exec signing many of the best rap groups of the time and the struggles to get their music out to the public.


Breakin’ Official Trailer #1 - Christopher McDonald Movie (1984) HD

As if the title didn’t give it away, this movie is about break dancing in the early days of hip-hop.

Beat Street

Beat Street Official Trailer #1 - Rae Dawn Chong Movie (1984) HD

Similar to may movies on this list, Beat Street follows a group of friends in the South Bronx. They all aspire to show off their talents outside of their neighborhood. One of the friends is a DJ, another is a B-boy and another is a graffiti artists.

Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest

Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest | Official Trailer HD (2011)

Although this is a documentary, it’s extremely entertaining, especially if you’re a huge fan of A Tribe Called Quest. The film follows what led to the group having a huge amount of success during the mid-90s, and what led to the group breaking up.


CB4 Official Trailer #1 - Chris Rock Movie (1993) HD

One of Chris Rock’s early movies, this comedy follows the fictional rap group, CB4, and is loosely based on N.W.A and the main act of the group, Eazy-E.

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