Allen Hughes on Tupac Shakur being a better actor than Denzel Washington
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Allen Hughes on Tupac Shakur being a better actor than Denzel Washington

Death Row legend Tupac Shakur was an exceptional musician who made some incredible music. As one of the most well-known rappers in the world during the 1990s, 2pac undeniably made massive hits and, before his murder in 1996, was one of the most famous artists in the world. However, before he was an artist or even a resident of California, Shakur was a student at the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he studied jazz, poetry, ballet, and acting. Although the ‘Dear Mama’ found fame as an emcee, the lyricist never lost his passion for performing.

Shakur was a thespian at heart, and with experience and knowledge of theatrics, it is no surprise that when Pac became a global rap sensation, he received offers for roles in film and TV. Shakur appeared in several movies, including Above The Rim, Poetic Justice, and Bullet. Another movie the Oakland act featured in was Menace II Society, directed by Allen Hughes, with whom the ‘Hit Em Up’ creator had a close friendship. Shakur first called upon Hughes to direct and film his music video for ‘Trapped’ in 1991 while he was part of Digital Underground. Allen (with his brother) directed and filmed several music videos with the group and became relatively amicable with Shakur over the years.

That said, even when Shakur left the group, he continued to have a business friendship with the Hughes brothers. As someone who worked with the emcee in a film-making capacity, Hughes knew Shakur’s talent, and in an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, the director professed that had Shakur not passed away, he could have been as famous as Denzel Washington.

Explaining to Eisen, how Washington is lucky, Hughes declared, “If he had been here, Denzel would have stiff competition. He was that talented! Denzel and Tupac share one thing in common, and I’ve seen them all. I’ve been with world-class pimps, Charismatics. All over the world. The ‘It’ thing you know in the streets or in the music business. Denzel and Tupac, I seen when they walk in a room, the emotional intelligence is off the charts. The Social intelligence is off the charts. The genius level of social intelligence.”

However, Hughes did begrudgingly admit that Shakur’s emotions may have held him back as he stated, “The difference is that Denzel is wise and very in control of his emotions and can control his emotions, but Tupac can’t. Tupac would’ve been one of our greatest leading men. Would’ve been a multiple academy award winner, and the music would’ve been secondary. I’m sure he would have continued doing music, but he would’ve been huge in the film world.”

Fondly remembering Shakur, Hughes recalled the first time they met, recounting, “I met him in a Waffle House in 91 in San Francisco with all of Digital Underground, which he was a part of. But he was not famous yet. His first album 2Pacalypse Now had not dropped. Juice had not come out.” The filmmaker continued, “I [was] sitting at this Waffle House, and there’s this 10-year-old at the end of the table. Shock G, Money B, all the personalities were there, but he stood out as the funniest. He was roasting everyone at the table. The most charismatic. And there’s just something about him.”

It is evident that Hughes believed Shakur was extremely talented in his acting ability and even seemed disappointed. However, while he was alive, we did get to see some of 2pac’s amazing skills. You can watch the trailer for Juice in the video below.