Kid N Play certainly didn’t come into the game on the aggressive tip. Quite the opposite, in fact: The whimsical rap duo juggled lighthearted lyrics with uptempo beats that were perfect for your local house party.
You see where I’m going here.
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After become recognizable names in the industry, other offers came left and right. So in addition to a syndicated cartoon show (yeah, that happened), toys and merchandise, a big screen opportunity came their way. Neither men were trained thespians, but that wouldn’t be an issue as the pair wouldn’t have to reach too deep into their acting bag to star in the 1990 comedy, House Party.
They kept their stage names and the plot was simple: A couple of high schoolers night of fun turns into an evening of madcap mayhem. In addition to dodging the cops, bullies and sneaking away for some quality time with their women, they’d actually get time to showcase their rapping and dancing screen in theaters, nationwide.
Directed by Reginald Hudlin, House Party was considered low-budget for its time. But following its release, it became one of New Line Cinemas most profitable films of the 1990s. Hudlin would go on to direct Eddie Murphy’s Boomerang two years later, and served as a producer in 2012’s Oscar-winning revenge flick, D’Jango Unchained.
House Party also served as a launching pad for the careers of Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell and A.J. Johnson. Lawrence and Campbell would go on to co-star in the classic Martin, which debuted in 1992, and Johnson would find more film work in Hollywood, most notably as the mother of Jodi, played by Tyrese in John Singleton’s Baby Boy.
It’s been nearly 35 years since the original House Party, which spawned a handful of sequels and a 2023 remake. But in the hearts and minds of rap purists, nothing will top the original: Which remains a testament to Hip-Hop’s crossover appeal as one of the first big-screen commercial hits starring artists from the genre.
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