This September marks the 20th anniversary of Tupac Shakur’s death and with it we all will finally be one step closer to the highly anticipated biopic, All Eyez On Me. With Demetrius Shipp Jr. (a doppelganger for the prolific rapper), the film gives us a glimpse into the life and tragic death of the hip-hop legend.
The budding actor recently sat down with Complex to discuss his first acting role, Pac’s legacy, and his personal ties to the “Keep Ya Head Up” rapper. The latter being especially influential in Shipp’s preparation for the iconic role. Believe it or not, the 27-year-old’s father had a very close relationship with Tupac. Shortly before his death, Shipp’s father produced the 1996 hit single “Toss It Up.”
“They were pretty close,” Shipp said of his father’s relationship with Pac.
“For the short time that he was there, he knew him. My father actually knew Pac—I believe they first met in Atlanta. They knew each other then and then got really close when they came to Death Row.”
At the time of Pac’s death Shipp was only 8 years old, however, the late rapper’s legacy has inspired the newcomer beyond measure. From his musings to his life’s work, Shipp credits Pac to helping him transition into manhood.
“The greatness that I adore the most is him as a man, as a person, and as a leader, as a black leader,” Shipp said.
“That’s what I idolized in Pac more than the music. As a kid, it was just the music, but growing up, becoming a man, and diving deep into his life and seeing exactly what he had to go through, what he overcame, the choices he made and the wisdom he carried at 25. Man, that’s something that was amazing.”
All Eyez On Me is scheduled to hit theaters on November 11.