Tupac Shakur is one of the most memorable artists in modern history.
An enigmatic and controversial figure, it would always be a tough task to capture the essence of a man who was socially conscious yet gang affiliated, aggressive yet caring – he personified complexity.
His music touched millions, selling over 75 million copies worldwide and he became one of the highest selling Hip Hop artists of all time following his demise. Mired in mystery, his death has always attracted conspiracy theorists who point to the clues in his music which hint the rapper may somehow be alive. Throughout his 25 years of life, Pac touched the hearts of many and changed the music industry, inspiring a whole generation of West Side artists such as Kendrick Lamar. He has an incredible legacy which is documented through his extensive catalogue but he will also be remembered for his role in the East Coast vs West Coast beef which resulted in the death of himself and his former friend Biggie Smalls.
Whispers of a Tupac biopic emerged first almost a decade ago and after the success of ‘Straight Out Of Compton,’ the biopic depicting the careers of N.W.A members Dr Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy E, a movie about Tupac Shakur seemed plausible. The vision came into fruition with ‘All Eyez On Me’ garnering a lot of anticipation from the Hip Hop world and beyond when it was officially announced.
The movie, which was directed by Benny Boom and LT Hutton has received mixed reviews. Heavily criticised for historical inaccuracies such as showing Pac’s death on the pavement rather than at the hospital seven days after being shot in Las Vegas, many Hip Hop stars have called out the movie for its poor execution. New York rapper 50 Cent, who is heavily inspired by Pac, took to Instagram to denounce the film as ‘trash’ and Jada Pinkett Smith whose character features in the movie as Pac’s love interest criticised the directors for romanticising her friendship with Tupac.
Biopics take on a difficult challenge, particularly when they are portraying the lives of complex icons in the space of two and a half hours. ‘Notorious,’ the biopic depicting the life of Biggie Smalls was also heavily criticised along with LifeTime’s Aaliyah biopic. For some reason, in the Hip Hop world, these kinds of movies are very difficult to get right. However, with the Hollywood success of ‘Straight Out Of Compton,’ there was renewed hope.
Not everyone was so critical of ‘All Eyez On Me,’ Compton rapper Game defended the movie in an explosive Instagram post and MC Hammer described the movie as a ‘truthful portrayal.’
Demetrius Shipp Jr, who played the role of Tupac, has an uncanny resemblance and did his best to portray the legend but ultimately, it seems that the accuracy of the script let the movie down.