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Is Hip-Hop The New Television Trend?

There might be a new trend alert in the horizon as both the film and television industries are looking to go hip-hop.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the award-winning musician, Timbaland, has been tapped as the new songwriter and producer for “Empire,” a new drama pilot picked up by 20th Century Fox Television, which explores the world of hip-hop and the people that run it.

The publication also reports that the show is being penned by Danny Strong writer for “The Butler”; and directed by Lee Daniels, the film’s producer. The show will give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the world of hip-hop and will feature original and current music.

But, the hip-hop inspiration doesn’t stop there, it actually gets bigger. Back in November of last year THR reported that Tupac would finally be resurrected on the big screen after producer Randall Emmett confirmed that shooting for the long awaited biopic would commence in the spring of 2014.

The project, which would take audiences back to the early 90s when the rapper became a platinum-selling artist until his murder, has been delayed since 2011 due to legal battles. THR adds that one of the producers/financiers Morgan Creek sued Afeni Shakur, Pac’s mother, in claims that she continued to negotiate after having signed over her son’s story and music. She countersued claiming otherwise. The dispute was settled out of court and she is now an executive producer.

In February, Variety reported that the film made major progress and tapped John Singleton to rewrite, direct and produce the biopic. “Tupac was the guy who I planned to do a lifetime of films with,” Singleton told the publication.

According to Variety, the director hopes to begin production in June, the only thing missing is who will play the part of the legendary rapper, but worry not since we here at ShowBizCafe already did the arduous work of finding the perfect match back in November.

Of course if hip-hop is going to take over little and big screens nationwide, bringing Tupac back just wasn’t enough and so Universal Pictures is adding the most dangerous 80s crew to the picture, N.W.A.

This is another film that has been in the works for years, with no luck of advancement until recently. This week sources told THR that Universal has begun casting and is close to greenlighting the production titled “Straight Outta Compton.”

In 2012 the publication reported that F. Gary Gray was helming the pic, which will detail the rise and fall of the gangsta rap group whose members were drug-dealer-turned-founder Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella.  Arabian Prince was also part of the group but left before the release the group’s debut album.

There has been talk of the film since 2010 when Andrea Berloff, was writing the story under New Line Cinema, but in 2013 THR reported that Universal Pictures was picking it up and Jonathan Herman was penning the latest draft. The film will also be produced by Ice Cube and Matt Alvarez via Cube Vision as well as Eazy-E’s widow, Tomica Woods, who inherited his share of the song rights – the rapper died in 1995 due to AIDS-related causes.

According to THR, “Empire” will be produced during the traditional pilot season. And there are no set release dates for either biopic.

What do you think of the current trend? Do you think it will give rise to similar projects in the next years? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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