It Doesn’t Have to Rhyme, which begins filming this week, tells the story of a young female rapper, played by Azealia Banks, who enrolls in a college poetry course in the hopes of improving her lyric writing. While attending, she discovers a love for slam poetry and finds herself in the midst of a debate over how rap and slam poetry could possibly co-exist.
The movie will be directed by RZA, a rapper himself, and will star Common, Jill Scott, and Lorraine Toussaint. Scott plays Banks’ professor, who firmly believes the two forms of expression can never coexist, while Toussaint plays Banks’ mother. Common will take on the role of a mentor figure.
It Doesn’t Have to Rhyme was written by Nicole Asher and is being produced by Paul Hall through Lionsgate. The inspirational musical drama was previously titled Coco.
Azealia Banks is a rising star in the rap community, having put out several singles leading up to her debut album, Broke with Expensive Taste, released last year. This will be RZA’s second directing foray after The Man with the Iron Fists, starring Russell Crowe and Dave Bautista, which was described as a love letter to 70s kung fu/action movies.
It Doesn’t Have to Rhyme is currently in development and does not have a set release date yet.