Dead Rappers Get Better Movie Promotion


With as much excitement as the casual admirer can muster, I present to you a few nuggets of information regarding the inevitably forthcoming ‘Tupac Shakur.’ Please don’t quote me on the title, but in all honesty, what else could you possibly call the movie about Hip Hop’s equivocal Elvis?

Not for nothing, but if Antoine Fuqua hadn’t signed up to be in charge of the story telling duties, I probably wouldn’t be on board to watch it. (That, coincidentally, has more to do with Fuqua’s work than it does with Shakur’s life story, but my point remains.) Speaking of “watching it,” ‘Notorious’ got rave reviews, & was based on a very notable rapper, yet there my bootleg copy sits, unopened, on top of a retail copy of Welcome To Death Row, to bottom line things.

According to, the following is the film’s synopsis, followed by several character breakdowns. One could even go as far as to say this is a leak, but I’m pretty sure “leak” is a much dirtier word in Hollywood than it is at the my neck of the woods.

The Official Synopsis:
“The rise and fall of TUPAC SHAKUR is chronicled, from his days attending the Baltimore School of the Arts as a teenager, to his decision to leave his mother’s dead-end life behind and embrace the Thug Life in California, to his wild success as a rapper and his dangerous war against the East Coast scene. A true poet who was waylaid by fame’s trappings, his earliest ambition was to change the world and make a difference in people’s lives, and before his tragic murder in Las Vegas in 1996, that’s exactly what 2Pac did…

Character Breakdowns
TUPAC SHAKUR| Seen from the ages of 17 to 25, an extraordinarily talented rapper, poet, musician and actor, he grows up in the Druid Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, where he attends the School of the Arts and stands out among his classmates as a force to watch. Tupac grows up without a father, and his mother — once a proud member of the Black Panthers — struggles with crack addiction. He escapes to California with virtually nothing to his name but his beloved composition book. Well-read and intense, Tupac initially sees himself as a truth-bringer, and he wants to change the world with his music and his message. As his star rises, and he finds fame throughout the entertainment industry, his priorities change, and he grows increasingly angry and paranoid. An attempt on his life and a stint in prison alter his personality further until he fully embraces the Death Row label and all it stands for. Still, before his death in 1996, Tupac’s on the verge of another resurrection — of his music and his soul. In his rapper persona he’s a thug: tough, defiant, confident, tattooed and ripped, “pure energy, frenetic, propulsive, irresistible”; but in his personal life, especially around women like Jada and Kidada, he can be pensive, thoughtful and vulnerable…

AFENI| Seen from early 30′s – 40′s, Tupac’s mother, a strung-out wraith, emaciated by crack, she’s struggling to raise three kids on her own in the ghetto. Afeni was once a proud, dignified member of the Black Panthers. Arrested for supposedly participating in a terrorist conspiracy, she stood up to her accusers in court, eloquently refuted their claims, and won. Her legacy is something that young Tupac wishes to emulate, so her fall from grace is tough on him. After her son leaves Baltimore and becomes a star, Afeni manages to clean up her act, and by the time Tupac is facing a prison sentence of his own, Afeni is there to support him as a strong, healthy woman again…

SUGE KNIGHT| Early 30s, an enormous, intimidating, larger-than-life man with a stone countenance, never seen without his jewel-encrusted Death Row medallion or his thuggish bodyguards (all of whom are members of the Bloods), he’s the CEO of Death Row Records. At times a fearsome figure, and at other times a paternal, calming presence, Suge is proud of his authentic history; he grew up in Compton and built his label with his own hands, without any help from anyone. He believes that he and Tupac are kindred spirits, and he tries to lure Tupac away from Interscope. Suge gets his chance when he bails Tupac out of prison. Their legendary contract is signed…

MAURICE “MOPREME” SHAKUR| Seen from his early to late 20s, with glasses and a goatee, he is Tupac’s half-brother who grew up with Tupac in Baltimore and eventually moves out to Oakland, California, to live with Tupac. A performer in his own right, Mopreme was the first to enter “the game” of music and he believes in creating a persona that’s separate from one’s real life. After Tupac gets shot, Mopreme tries to raise bail, and he’s concerned when Suge steps in; he doesn’t trust Suge and he’s also troubled by Tupac’s East Coast/West Coast war. The brothers’ once-close relationship is shattered when Suge turns the two young men against one another…

JADA PINKETT| Long before she met and married Will Smith, Jada Pinkett was a classmate of Tupac’s at the Baltimore School of the Arts. A regal, stunning young woman (seen from the ages of 17 to early 20s), she puts Tupac in his place for altering some of Hamlet’s lines in a school production. She encourages and supports his poetry, and tells him he was put on earth to change things. Their important friendship continues throughout Tupac’s rise and fall; she visits him in prison and later urges him to apologize to Quincy Jones and his family for offensive remarks he made. She’s concerned that Tupac has changed too much from the boy she used to know…

KIDADA JONES| Early 20s, a gorgeous, sultry, intelligent and loving young woman of mixed race, she is Quincy Jones’ daughter who meets Tupac after he insults her family. His attempt to apologize leaves her both infuriated and charmed. Their animosity and sparks later turn into love, and she accompanies him on his fateful trip to Vegas, though she doesn’t like boxing and would prefer to relax by the pool. Loving, kind, and supportive, she’s stunned by but happy about Tupac’s marriage proposal, and she urges him to meet with her father to discuss his future as an artist…

At this point, one has to wonder about the motives behind finally releasing this movie. The premise of it is, after all, an unsolved murder, & no matter the balance of good vs. evil in the script, it’s a depiction of a man’s real life. & death. Inspirational songs & motivational speeches aside, it’s hard to celebrate life until you accept death. This is a chapter that his mom assuredly lives daily, that has yet to be finished. Money is nice, but I doubt it’s reciprocity for hear slain, only son.

Plus, really though; it’s been so many years of back & forth rumors & legal problems that Tupac’s movie has legitimately become the visual version of Dr. Dre’s ‘Detox’ album. (That’s called irony, I think.)


4 comments on “Dead Rappers Get Better Movie Promotion

  1. Mark Dub says:

    To say the least, it’s intriguing. Pac is one of those love him or hate him type of cats, and I think this movie will have every bit of success that Notorious had. Btw, Grands…despite some inaccuracies, Notrious was a pretty good flick; you should check it.


  2. LC says:

    ^yea despite Gravy’s heavy breathing throughout the whole movie, its good


  3. Soulrise says:

    Notorious was ok but if you haven’t seen it you’re not missing much. Too many glaring historical inaccuracies from an era still too fresh in my memory to overlook. I saw it in the theater but could’ve easily pictured it being one of those VH1 original movies instead, lol.

    I wanna see if Fuqua has the balls to pin Suge as the killer, but ultimately I think what will doom this movie is I can’t imagine any actor ever being able replicate the combined passion, fury, intensity, and charisma that Pac had.


  4. @Soulrise

    Only Pac could’ve played Pac, I totally agree. I don’t think that’ll doom the entire movie, though, esp. since he’s been dead almost 20 years, but I can see it putting a scarlet letter on whoever they get to play him. Hopefully Anthony Mackie got enough bullshit before to stay away…

    Fuqua isn’t going to do too much speculating. He knows how fanatics get over their Pac.


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