As hype and excitement builds around All Eyez On Me, the biopic about Tupac Shakur, thoughts of the legendary rapper’s checkered past, his discography and his legacy are all heavy on our minds.
All Eyez On Me chronicles ‘Pac’s footsteps as an emcee, actor, activist and poet. As you re-watch Juice and Poetic Justice for the millionth time, and bump “I Get Around” on the way to the theater, make sure you’re also up on details you might not know or remember about the late superstar.
We got you covered, below.
1.Tupac had an unorthodox childhood.
Life was far from perfect for the rapper as an adolescent— born in East Harlem, N.Y., he never had a steady and stable living situation. Every time the rapper seemed to get settled in one location—including New York, Baltimore and eventually California— it was time to move. On top of this, Tupac grew up in a tumultuous time: the beginning of the crack epidemic, the take down of the Black Panther Party and the birth of hip hop. Life as a Black man in the inner city was already rough, coupled with the fact he was raised by a single mother battling drug addiction.
2.Dear Mama… It’s Complicated.
It’s no secret that the relationship between Tupac and his mother was arduous, but he continuously professed his love for her. Afeni Shakur was an active member of the Black Panther Party, and was tried and later acquitted for conspiracy to bomb several city landmarks. In fact, Tupac was born little over a month after she was acquitted of the charges. After the death of her first husband, Lumumba Shakur, Afeni married his brother Mutulu Shakur, who Tupac believed to be his father until the age of five, when he learned his biological father was Billy Garland. Afeni struggled with a dependency on crack cocaine throughout Tupac’s early teenage years to early adulthood. At one point, it resulted in them being homeless. Afeni’s drug use caused a strain on their relationship, which Tupac openly discussed in his song “Dear Mama.” After Afeni successfully completed rehab, she was able to repair her relationship with her son.
3. The original Harlem World.
Often overlooked, Tupac’s first rap name was MC New York. Bouncing around from Manhattan to the Bronx, the rapper always felt like New York was home. In fact, it’s where he resided longest. It wasn’t until after the rapper got shot five times in NYC that he drifted away from his hometown.
4.His music is his legacy.
It’s bigger than “I Get Around,” “California Love” and “How Do You Want It.” Tupac has a whole catalog that still reigns relevant in Trump’s America. Before you watch the movie, take the time to re-listen to some of his heavier songs, like “Brenda’s Got A Baby,” “Keep Ya Head Up” and “Hail Mary.” It will help set the tone and move the story along.
5. Pac & Suge, it wasn’t all what it seemed…
Tupac and Suge Knight were no Batman or Robin— this was not the dynamic duo that many people like to portray. Just look at some old photos and their body language. In reality, Suge Knight was a thug and lead his business with fear— that’s why Dr. Dre separated himself. Tupac didn’t want to stay with the infamous Death Row Records but, because Suge helped him get out of jail, and out of fear of the way Suge “dealt” with people, it’s understandable why ‘Pac was apprehensive about leaving. After completing all his obligations to his contract, Tupac approached Suge with hopes of leaving Death Row Records and it didn’t go over well. Suge later offered to partner on a Death Row East label that the late rapper could run.
All Eyez On Me will be released on Friday, June 16.