In the grand spectrum of rappers/singers-turned-actors, the loftiest station a guy can aspire to lands somewhere around “Jamie Foxx/Will Smith” territory. Score a couple of radio hits, and then successfully pivot your career out of the rap game and into Hollywood. Toil in modestly budgeted features for long enough, and you just might land a highly visible, award-ready role in a prestige picture in the vein of Ali or Ray. This appears to be the path that young Tyga has set for himself, as the rapper has accepted a new film role. It’s been a rough week for the man born Michael Ray Nguyen-Stevenson, as his latest release, The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty, debuted on Tuesday to less-than-positive reviews. (Our sister site Pitchfork dealt the record a deliciously bitchy 3.9 review. Choice quote: “You can just imagine him texting [girlfriend and Kardashian half-sister] Kylie [Jenner] when The Gold Album debuted, at long last, on Spotify last week: ‘Can you remind your sisters to tweet the link to my album? ;)’.”) He’ll try to engineer a bounce-back with an appearance in a new thriller titled Sleight.
Deadline unveiled the cast to Sleight, which collects a handful of otherwise underutilized black performers. Jacob Latimore (Black Nativity, Ride Along, The Maze Runner) has signed on to play the lead in the film, a street musician who suddenly becomes his younger sister’s (Storm Reid) sole guardian in the wake of their mother’s death. He has no choice but to repurpose his magical prowess to fit the drug game, amassing weight in the neighborhood through his sleight-of-hand tricks. When he runs afoul of a violent supplier and consequently gets his sister kidnapped, he’ll have to use all of his powers to retrieve her. Dulé Hill, bursting with easy charm in TV’s The West Wing and Psych, will also star in the film alongside Latimore and Tyga.
Sleight marks the feature debut of music-video vet J.D. Dillard, who also scripted the film with Alex Theurer. He plans to commence shooting in Los Angeles this summer, by which point Tyga will have hopefully picked his face up.