The long-awaited movie All Eyez On Me about hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur will be in theaters on Friday, June 16. The film began production almost two years ago in Atlanta, Georgia. The movie stars young up-and-coming actor Demetrius Shipp Jr., whose father produced records for Shakur on his first posthumous album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory.
In an interview with Complex, Shipp spoke about his father’s relationship with the late rapper.
“My father’s relationship with Pac was something I was proud of,” Shipp, Jr. recalls.
Shipp’s performance in AEOM will be his big-screen debut. Due to his strong resemblance to Shakur, Shipp was perfect for the role. However, due to his inexperience, he had to take extensive acting lessons to portray the role of Tupac. The film also stars Kat Graham (Vampire Diaries) and Hill Harper (CSI: NY).
Tupac Shakur was born June 16, 1971, in East Harlem, New York. Pac’s actual legal name was initially Lesane Parish Crooks. His mother, Afeni Shakur, decided to change this due to his family’s political ties with the Black Panther Party during the 1960s and 1970s. She feared her son would be a target of the government and law enforcement if he continued to use his birth name.
Shakur would move around often when he was younger due to his mother’s drug addiction. When Pac ended up moving to California, everything changed for the better. Pac broke into the world of hip-hop when he joined Digital Underground after his poetry teacher, Leila Steinberg, introduced him to the group’s manager, Atron Gregory. He would start out as a roadie and backup dancer before he was able to put his lyrical skills to use.
While patiently playing his role with Digital Underground, Pac decided to use his acting skills as a way to further his career. If the world did not know who he was before, they knew who he was after his performance in 1991 with his critically acclaimed performance in the movie Juice. The role he played was Bishop, a crazy psychopath who would kill his own friends and enemies to prove he was crazy. The performance would help the young star gain the necessary exposure he needed to further his music rap career.
Five years later, Tupac would become the biggest star in hip-hop. Swaying away from his beginning political style of rap, he had transitioned to the gangsta rap genre. The change in his lyrical content would bring Pac some very serious real-life issues. In 1996, his ongoing feud with the Notorious B.I.G. was blown up by the media, so much so that it created the “East Coast vs. West Coast Rivalry.”
The coast war is what would lead to the eventual death of Tupac Shakur. On September 7, 1996, Shakur was shot five times in a fatal drive-by shooting while riding shotgun with Suge Knight, the owner of Death Row Records, in his 740 il BMW. Pac was pronounced dead on September 13, 1996, after several days of battling in the hospital.
All Eyez On Me has been highly anticipated by Tupac fans, who have been waiting to see the big screen portrayal of his career. His former friend and rival the late Notorious B.I.G.’s biofilm came out in 2009, so many viewers can’t wait to see their feud from a different perspective.
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