Hive Five: The Almost Hip-Hop Career of Adrien Brody

Aspiring rapper Adrien Brody in Milan, January 2012. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images

This past Sunday morning, when you were busy sleeping off St. Patrick’s Day, The Daily Beast was buzzing bright and early, posting a penetrating piece about Adrien Brody. Over the course of Marlow Stern’s interview with the Queens-bred actor who earned an Oscar for The Pianist and portrays Salvador Dali in Woody Allen’s latest movie, Midnight in Paris, so many tasty tidbits were unearthed that one of the most intriguing illuminations was nearly lost in the rush, namely Brody’s hip-hop sideline. To wit: “I’ve been making hip-hop beats for many years … I think people just can’t comprehend that the guy who does The Pianist also makes dope hip-hop.” Naturally, this information led us to a frantic fit of spelunking through the archives (okay, Googling) to start sorting out the backstory behind Brody’s beat bombshell. Apparently, evidence of his hip-hop alter ego has been floating around out there for quite a while, but somehow we hadn’t put all the pieces together till now. Here’s the five moments of Brody’s past that suggest we could, someday, be in for a mixtape or two.

1. A boy and his beats

In 1998, just before his breakout role in Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line, a 25-year-old Brody stars in an indie film called Restaurant, apparently working his way onto the movie’s soundtrack. The album closes with a cut ironically entitled “This Ain’t a Movie” by a New York-based pair of Dominican-American rappers called Rawcotiks. The producer for the track bears the mysterious moniker A. Ranger – yep, you guessed it, our boy Brody. Flash forward five years later — even before the Oscar nod, The Pianist has made Brody enough of an A-lister that he’s bringing out his beats under his own name, and according to a New York Times piece from January of that year, busting them out for none other than P. Diddy, who fills the actor’s sails with the inspirational appraisal, “You an ill cat.”
2. Coke is it

In the wake of his ascension into the hallowed hall of Oscar winners, newly minted household name Brody lends his starpower to a 2004 TV spot for Diet Coke. There are two subtexts to the commercial: one is the implied message that you too can lose nearly 30 pounds by drinking diet cola, just like the already lanky Brody did for his part in The Pianist. The other is that Brody’s no boring classical ivory-tickler, but a streetwise hip-hop dude who plays street hoops and hops into hard-bouncing rides while “Calling Out” by Lyrics Born plays in the background. Call it a crazy hunch, but we’re guessing the star himself had at least some input into the latter notion.

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