Hip-Hop is no longer just DJ's beats, rappers's rhymes, b-boying, and graff. The culture has expanded so much that the participants and the culture has permeated into the main vein of popular society. Dennis L.A. White is one of the younger, innovative talents to branch off from the Hip-Hop tree into Hollywood for greener pastures. Most remember him for his portrayal of D-Roc, the best friend of The Notorious B.I.G., but nowadays White is moving into deeper waters. Starting this Thursday, he comes to the end of a two-week play in New York City as a man suffering from breast cancer. Additionally, this month White offers a compelling role in The King of Paper Chasin, a gritty street flick with a sick twist. Read on about a man once known as "Dennis Da Menace" doing great things in a foreign land.
AllHipHop.com: Can you speak on your new play and the importance of the play?
Dennis White: The play is called, "Die Laughing". It runs this Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 14-th-16th, 8pm, at the Roy Arias Theatre. 300 west 43rd street. I play Michael Laurence, A stand up Comedian, who finds out that he has breast cancer. Being that this is Breast Cancer Month, I think this play is extremely relevant to what's going on. Breast cancer for men has been totally unpublicized. Did you know that Richard Roundtree, the dude that played Shaft, had breast cancer? It's more prevalent than you realize.
AllHipHop.com: Is this a topic you feel is overlooked by Hip-Hop?
Dennis White: I do, With Hip Hop being predominately male driven, We tend to overlook little pains and problems that occur within our bodies. We've lost a lot of people due to sickness. Guru, J-Dilla, etc. We as Black men really need to pay more attention to our health to prevent such tragedies.
AllHipHop.com: The word on the street is this role is a game-changer for you since you have mostly played Hip-Hop or street roles mostly.
Dennis White: I hope so, I agreed to take this role because of the strength of the content and how it had the potential to stretch my acting muscle. I think people are really gonna be amazed when they come see me on stage. this is pretty much a one-man show. I am on the stage alone for about 95% of the whole show. I go from doing comedy to drama to experiencing extreme pain to poetry. It's banana republic! Raqiyah Mays plays my wife as well.
AllHipHop.com: Changing gears, you played D-Roc, Biggie's best friend, in Notorious. How has that affected you?
Dennis White: Man, the love has been incredible. Notorious has been a wonderful vehicle to show my talents and to secure other gigs. I've done 5 movies this year already. So workwise and financially it has been extremely lucrative. Being that I was a huge Biggie fan before the movie, my love and admiration for him has increased drastically since the movie. I feel like I am part of hip hop history. I think that Notorious with be one of the best hip hop movies of all time. In the same category as Beat Street, Electric Boogaloo and 8 Mile.
AllHipHop.com: Do people think you are D-Roc.
Dennis White: Hell yeah, I get people everywhere I go, coming up to me like, "Yo, D-roc, I put my socks on first, Motherf***er!" (laughs)I think that a lot of people can relate to someone like D-Roc because he was such a stand up dude. It's funny, some of my people called me D-Roc before the movie so it just makes sense.
AllHipHop.com: For people that don't known, what was D-Roc's importance to Hip-Hop?
Dennis White: Damion "D-Roc" Butler is extremely importance to Hip Hop. He help the world experience Christopher Wallace. He protected Lil Kim in the whole Hot97 fiasco, He is holding Nicki Minaj down right now. I have nothing but love and respect for that man. We don't look a lot alike though. LOL! he's like 6'5, 280. That's our running joke. He's such a good dude and he represents what Hip Hop should be about.
Trailer: "King of Paper Chasin'"
AllHipHop.com: Can you speak on your new movie "King of Paper Chasin'" and your role in it?
Dennis White: King of Paper Chasin' comes out in theaters Friday, Oct. 15th. It's a great New York, Hip-Hop movie. I play "JB." He's a flashy hustler who is confronted with a situation that if he makes the wrong decision it could be very costly. Please support this project. The buzz is crazy!
AllHipHop.com: What's your ideal role? Who would you like to play?
Dennis White: I wanna play someone that is paralyzed. I think that is a humongous challenge, to not be able to rely on your physical capacities and pull it off. I would love to play Big Meech, Paul Robeson, Kevin Liles and Dame Dash.
AllHipHop.com: How hard is it for an African American in Hollywood?
Dennis White: It's very hard, especially if you aren't related to someone, sleeping with someone or paying someone. I am none of the above. (laughs) The industry isn't constructed for us to win. There are only a few avenues available for us and those avenues are either flooded or extremely narrow to get through. It's even harder as a Black man because we are stereotypically threatening to others. The opportunities that are available to us often go to the top 8 Black male Actors. So you have to get in where you fit in. I go HAM with everything I do, so I'm uber determined.
AllHipHop.com: Does the Hollywood scene ever weird you out?
Dennis White: It does. Its surprising to know how many dudes are homosexuals in the game. Celebrities that you would never even think would be that way. It's baffling. some are just like that and some became that way to help their careers. It's sad. I try to surround myself with people that I trust and have a strong and grounded mindframe.
AllHipHop.com: Who are your favorite actors and why?
Dennis White: Joaquin Phoenix, Jeffrey Wright, Ben Kingsley, Danny Aiello, Giancarlo Esposito, Wesley Snipes, Laurence Fishburne, Robert Downey, Jr. I appreciate actors that melt themselves into their roles and not vice versa. Those actors that take their craft seriously.
AllHipHop.com: What's next for you?
Dennis White: I'm super stoked about a film I have coming out at the top of the year, "Changing The Game". There are 3 films I have coming out in the 1st half of 2011. I'm in the process of filming at least 2 more projects before the year is out and I'm working on my music again. I have a new group that I formed, TFT. Look out for the song, "Rich Girl".
AllHipHop.com: Any final words?
Dennis White: Yup! Please, Please, Please, if you are in the New York area come support, "Die Laughing" - Oct.14th-17th. 8pm. This is the last week of shows. 212-352-3101 or TheaterMania.com for tickets. Come see me live and direct. Also, I really appreciate the love that AllHipHop has giving me throughout the years. Thank You!