Growing up, I was always a fan of L.L.Cool J.

I even had the cassette tape of his first album and used to rewind it over and over, writing down the lyrics.

This was the mid-80s, and that was a little over 30 years ago. (Geez).

I brought up my admiration for L.L. Cool J to prove how long he has been around and to use an example of how much he has been a major contributor to the culture of hip hop, whether it's been movies, music, or TV.

Then there's Ice Cube, who is now known for his movies as opposed to his music.

Queen Latifah and Will Smith, who were hip hop stars, were also able to cross over to network TV and then to film, paving the way for hip hop artists today to do the same.

Here are 12 noteworthy rappers who are also successful actors, presented in no particular order. (We're not ranking them, because they all have their different strengths.)