On the same day that Jay-Z and his “Hard Knock Life” tour counterparts hit the big screen in “Backstage,” some other hip-hop heavyweights are heading to theaters as well.
“Turn It Up,” the long-awaited film starring The Fugees’ Pras and rapper Ja Rule, finally arrives on Wednesday, almost two years after Pras issued “Ghetto Supastar,” the album on which the movie is based.
In the film, Pras plays Diamond, an aspiring hip-hop artist who spends all his time cutting demos in a Brooklyn studio, while Ja Rule portrays Gage, his longtime friend, who will do anything from stealing to dealing to help Diamond get a record deal (see “Ja Rule Connects In ‘Turn It Up,’ Readies ’3:36′ LP” ).
Pras already has lined up his next movie, “Higher Ed,” about a track star (Pras) who gets a scholarship to a Southern school and is hounded by gang members from New York City (see “Pras Forms
Film Company, Lines Up Next Project” ).
Earlier this year, Ja Rule told MTV News he planned to go before the cameras with John Leguizamo for the film “Stoop,” by “Dead Presidents” director Jean Claude La Marre (see “Ja Rule Talks Murderers, Next LP, Film Project” ). The MC will also appear in the actioner “Redline,” starring Vin Diesel.
Coincidentally, Ja Rule also appears in “Backstage,” Jay-Z’s all-access look at the “Hard Knock Life” tour, which hits theaters the same day as “Turn It Up.”
Directed by Chris Fiore, the “Backstage” documentary features Jay-Z, DMX, Method Man, Redman, Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek, and a host of other superstars while casting an unflinching eye on the goings-on both onstage and backstage during the blockbuster 1999 hip-hop tour.
“You hear the music, but [you see] the things we do behind stage — the feelings, the emotions, and all that,” Jay-Z said of the flick
late last month at its New York City premiere (see “Jay-Z Points To Hip-Hop Unity In ‘Backstage’” ).
In what may be a sign of good things to come at the box office, the soundtrack to “Backstage” will debut at number six on next week’s “Billboard” album chart.