Azealia Banks, RZA Teaming for Musical Drama

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Common, Jill Scott and Lorraine Toussaint are also on board.

Several figures from the rap world, past and present, are teaming up for an inspirational music drama.

Azealia Banks will star in It Doesn’t Have to Rhyme, which is being directed by rapper-turned-director RZA.

Also joining the Lionsgate production, which was previously going by the title Coco, is another rapper, Common. Jill Scott and Lorraine Toussaint are also on board the production which will begin shooting this week in New York.

Described as being similar in tone to 8 Mile, the drama tells of a female rapper (Banks) who enrolls in college and enters a poetry course. While the class doesn’t improve her lyrical skills, as she had hoped, it does unleash in her a passion for slam poetry.

Scott is playing a professor who believes that rapping and slam poetry cannot co-exist, while Toussaint is playing Banks' character's mother. Common will play a mentor figure.

Paul Hall is producing. Nicole Asher wrote the script.

Banks put out several singles that made her a rising star in the rap world before releasing her debut album, Broke with Expensive Taste, last year.

RZA made his directing debut with his love letter to 1970s kung fu action movies, The Man with the Iron Fists, in which he starred with Russell Crowe and Dave Bautista. It Doesn't Have to Rhyme will be his follow-up, and with its setting in the worlds of academia and music, it could not be more different.

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