On November 4, 1998, the film Belly was released in theaters. Written and directed by Hype Williams, the movie told the story of “Sincere” and “Bundy”—played by Nas and DMX, respectively—two street criminals doing whatever deemed necessary to make money. Since its premiere, Belly has become a cultural phenomenon and a staple in the history of hip-hop.
In addition to the two aforementioned rappers, the film also stars Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Method Man, Taral Hicks, Hassan Johnson, Tyrin Turner, Louie Rankin, and several others. Many of the actors involved have maintained a strong presence in the entertainment industry, further solidifying Belly in the hearts and minds of millions worldwide.
To celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary, take a look at the cast then and now.
The ruthless street criminal and explosive friend of Sincere.
Born Earl Simmons, this rapper and actor is regarded as one of the most important figures in hip-hop history. He is a Grammy Award-winning musician and appeared in several films after the release of Belly, including Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, and Cradle 2 The Grave. Sadly, he passed away in 2021 after suffering a heart attack.
Intelligent street hustler and friend of Buns. He begins to rethink his life of crime as the film progresses.
Native of Queens, New York, and one of the greatest rappers of all-time. He has released 17 studio projects, and won a Grammy in 2021 for Best Rap Album for King’s Disease.
The feisty girlfriend of Bundy who wants more from life and her relationship.
This actress and R&B singer is best known for her acting in such films as 1993’s American crime drama film A Bronx Tale and her 1997 debut R&B studio album This Time. She still maintains an active acting career, appearing in 4 films in 2022 alone.
Supportive girlfriend of Sincere. Travels with him to Africa.
As one of the founding members of the iconic R&B group TLC, Watkins was an integral part of the best-selling American girl group of all time. In addition to Belly, she also appeared in several episodes of Day of Our Lives from 2016 – 2020.
One of Knowledge’s henchmen. Goes to Nebraska to infiltrate Rico’s gang and kill Tommy.
He is a member of the hip hop collective Wu-Tang Clan, and is half of the hip hop duo Method Man & Redman. After Belly, he really leaned into acting, appearing in a multitude of films, and has a starring role in Power Book II: Ghost.
Young “friend” and mistress of Bundy.
Following Belly, Vita signed with Murder Inc. Records and was featured on the chart-topping songs “Put It On Me” and “Down 4 U.” In 2017, Raynor released songs and videos with European rapper CHG Unfadable.
The Christian preacher who changes Tommy’s life for the better.
This Civil Rights activist and the current president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. He also serves as national co-chair for the political organization No Labels. He’s written three books, and appeared in Spike Lee’s Get On The Bus.
Part of Tommy and Sincere’s crew, and a live wire.
Johnson has been in the entertainment industry for almost 30 years. Throughout his career, he’s had roles in NYPD Blue, Law & Order, and ER. He was also a main component of HBO’s classic series The Wire. He recently appeared in the acclaimed film Story Ave.
The rival drug dealer in Omaha, Nebraska.
Best known for his role as Caine in 1993’s Menace II Society, Turner also played in Tales, Black-ish, and reprised his role as Big Head Rico in Meet The Blacks and Meet The Blacks 2.
The wealthy Jamaican drug lord that assists Bundy with his supply.
Born Leonard Ford, he is known professionally as Louie Rankin, the Jamaican dancehall reggae artist and actor. In addition to Belly, Rankin also appeared in Shottas. Unfortunately he was killed in a car accident in 2019.