Tupac the Actor

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Any Hip Hop lover knows the rapper, many know the man and his escapades but Tupac as an actor seems ultimately well-known to the general public. This is his first love, which he revived by playing in 6 films and this, only up to 25 years and his tragic death. So here we come back to his relationship with the movies, the roles played in his films and the type of actor he was.

Tupac has always had the soul of an actor

Tupac grew up in a poor family but very open and committed to culture and art. Thus, young Amaru enrolled at the age of 12 in a theater group in Harlem. He then moved to Baltimore. There, he joined the Baltimore School of Arts to study jazz, poetry and theater, playing in Shakespeare’s plays. This is also the time when he meets John Cole, his best friend at the time. This one testifies to the passion that had 2pac to play the comedy: “One could watch a film on the television and there he began to invent dialogues. He could become an old alcoholic or Tony Montana . 

But the life of Pac being made of constant movement, he finds himself once again forced to move to California and somewhat forsakes the theater. He will speak on his (no) opportunities: “I feel that I have always been an actor and playing was my first love. I went to school to study art. I wanted to be an actor, but because of poverty and circumstances that stopped me, I was poor, sdf and all that. I never had the chance to study quietly with good teachers and learn my craft. 

Juice, his first film

Small jump in time. 1991. Tupac is now a rapper of the Digital Underground and presents himself a little randomly for the casting of Juice . Indeed, he accompanies Money B , a member of his crew, who had an audition for the role. This one tells the time for the Rollingstone media: “I went and I totally failed. I was nil. I will not lie. They were like “um, OK, next” and I left. Tupac entered the auditorium and all of a sudden, we could hear applause. That’s how he got his first role at 20 years old.

It must be said that the character he interprets, Bishop , suits him perfectly. A street kid as he could be at times and as he rubbed shoulders with hundreds. “My character is Roland Bishop, a psychotic, very violent” . Tupac is the most determined of his small gang of 4, and the scenario tells an irremediable descent into the underworld of these kids. More than the interpretation of a simple kid who becomes a gangster, Tupac considers the attitude of his character as a consequence of the drifts of society. He can not help but project something deeper into himself, and it is surely that which makes his talent as an actor: “The father of my character is in prison and it is something that the continues throughout the film. It bubbles up his mind. Bishop just wants to be respected. He wants respect that his father did not have. “

An extract from Juice:

2pac multiplies roles

As a result of Juice’s esteem and commercial success, Tupac becomes known to the general public and reveals herself as a hip hop star. In spite of everything, between his albums and his travels in prison, it makes a point of honor to continue his acting career. In all the roles he interprets, he always has a rogue or resourceful side. Despite that, and does not play that gangster. So, for his second appearance in the movies, it is discovered in a romantic film alongside Janet Jackson for Poetic Justice (1993).

“Who can play a cop better than me?” 

Even if he plays two roles of beast and villain gangsters in Above the Rim (1994) and Bullet (1996), it is for Gang Related (1997) – Unscrupulous cops for the French title – that it surprises everyone. The creator of Thug Life is going to play the role of a cop, and it makes a lot of talk.

However, for 2pac it is a role that goes without saying: “Who can play a cop better than me? I saw their dark side when they believe that no one is watching them. I saw compassion, I saw anger, jealousy, fear, respect. And I’ve seen the cops hate more than anyone else. I was arrested twelve times last year. […] Whatever the reason, I saw the police more often than I would have liked. So for that reason, I am the perfect role. The good point is that we show the human side of the cops doing what they have to do. I think the cops are just a gang: with good and evil. Indeed, Pac always attaches great importance to his character. Detective Rodriguez is a ripoux cop, but remorseful and questioning enormously. It is all about choices, good or bad, not good or bad. In the same spirit, he plays the role of Spoon in Gridlock’d (1997), a junkie that he wants to show as a man, funny, resourceful and determined to get out of it elsewhere).

“I’m an actor, I just recall 
on my free time »

When Tupac died in 1996, he played an important role in 6 films and toured with major actors ( Mickey Rourke, Tim Roth, Leon Robinson) . No doubt the star would have continued on this path. He liked to play comedy more than anything and wanted him to be considered as an actor:  Before I made these other films, it was just a leisure activity. Now I’m an actor and I do not want anyone to take that away and say “You’re a rapper who plays in movies” […] So I’m an actor. It just happens to rapper on my free time. “ Tupac says: “I can be the best actor I have ever seen, the chance given me, the opportunity, the experience and the lessons of people, I can be the best . But for now I do not wish to be the best, I just want to be one of them [actor]. “

When one is considered by many to be the best rapper in history, in any case the most iconic, the statement may seem surprising. However, if we study the character Shakur, it makes sense. The article ends with this statement by the person concerned, who, according to his testimony, confirms it as a commentary on his texts:  I think I treat my albums as films, and I write if I was a character who writes a story. For all the albums, no matter what I go through, I do it step by step and I do it with vigor, action, description and with a beginning, a middle and an end “.


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