Few musicians have lived on so vividly after their death as Tupac Shakur.
Since his untimely passing in 1996 at age 25, Tupac’s mythology has grown exponentially, with more albums and collaborations being released after his death than before it.
Now, director Allen Hughes – the man behind the HBO docuseries The Defiant Ones – has secured a deal with the Shakur Estate that will give him full access to all of Tupac’s recordings, released and unreleased, as well as his writings, poetry, home movies and more.
Hughes will be directing and executive producing the series, as he did on The Defiant Ones. He’ll be using his unprecedented access to the Shakur Estate to create a five-part documentary series about the hip hop icon.
According to a statement from Hughes’ team, per Variety, the documentary will be:
The first definitive, comprehensive project on Shakur with the full cooperation of the estate.
Hughes has actually worked with Tupac before. In the early 1990s he directed a video, along with his brother Albert Hughes, for the song Brenda’s Got a Baby.
The director ended up working a few times with Tupac, however the collaboration didn’t exactly go smoothly, as their relationship ended in 1993 when a fist fight between Hughes and Shakur resulted in the rapper spending 15 days in jail.
The dispute apparently started when the Hughes brothers cast Tupac in their film Menace II Society. During a script read-through they apparently started arguing, and the rapper had to leave the film.
Hughes and Shakur reportedly began arguing again on the set for a music video connected to the film. This time though, Tupac and his entourage allegedly beat up the director rather seriously. Hughes pressed charges for assault, and Tupac was found guilty in 1994. He was given 15 days in prison.
Speaking about the incident outside the court at the time, Tupac told reporters:
Think about it. A fist fight becomes battery in the courts. Two and a half minutes just cost me 15 days.
When asked about the fight, in an interview with JOE last year, Hughes said:
What the beef was over… [Shakur] was experiencing massive fame [at the time] because of [his role in the film] ‘Juice’ and he was on his second album at that time, and his diet — few people know this — consisted of weed, Hennessey and chicken wings… Not a great mix! And that was it.
Tupac, on one level, was one of the sweetest people I ever met. It was it what it was, we were young, we were only 20. But he apologized in Vibe magazine about six months before he died. He only apologised to two people – Quincy Jones and me.
I didn’t really come to peace with it until I was done with ‘The Defiant Ones’.
Tupac was a strong presence in Hughes’ docuseries The Defiant Ones, as both Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine worked with him before his death.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.