By Mike Bruno
Updated February 08, 2007 at 08:32 PM EST

New Line just helped Dr. Dre jump big-time into the movie biz by hooking him up with a multiyear production deal. Apparently, Dre will start out developing “dark comedies,” which immediately made me think about fellow N.W.A gangsta Ice Cube’s Friday (but not Next Friday, which I make a point to think about as little as possible) and how surprised I’d have been, back when I was freaking out my dad with Straight Outta Compton and its tales of murderous mayhem in the CPT, to know that one day Cube and Dre would become mainstream movie folk. Then, of course, I remembered the photo of Dre in a flyboy pose, decked out in a white doctor coat and stethescope and a full face of makeup, and realized that these cats have made their bread and butter telling stories and “acting” throughout their entire careers. (Then I thought of Eazy and Cube’s Jheri Curls and laughed a bit, because that is just funny.)

Still, even though studio gangstas Dre and Cube lack the bullet holes in the face to prove their ”realness” (here’s looking at you, 50 Cent), you’ve got to hand it to them for being able to parlay the street thug pose into such lucrative, multifacted careers. Ice-T was the first to pull off the transition in New Jack City (he was also the first guy to sell hella records rapping about L.A. street life), but Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Fitty seem to be the ones keeping it going in the new millennium. What do you think, PopWatchers — which hip-hop act, gangsta or not, has been best suited for his (or her — hello, Latifah!) transition to the silver screen? Or for all the headz out there, which one has been able to keep it the realest in doing so?