3 Movies Every Tupac Fan Should See

Though Tupac was best known for his legendary rap career, his on-screen talent as an actor is surely a significant bullet point in the summary of his life. At high school in both Maryland and California, he performed in plays and took acting classes, which actually was the reason for his well-documented friendship with Jada Pickett Smith.

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Pac never earned his high school degree, but the experience he gained as an actor during his schooling led to him landing roles in several films in the early-to-mid-1990s. Below, we’ve listed out the three most important movies any fan of Tupac should familiarize themselves with.

1. Juice (1992)

The 1992 film Juice, directed by Ernest R. Dickerson, became the first movie Pac ever acted in that wasn’t considered a cameo. For the film, he played the role of Roland Bishop, a Harlem teenager who goes on a killing rampage.

Juice gained tons of notoriety because of Pac’s involvement, and is noted to have influenced the stage name for now-deceased late 2010s rapper Juice WRLD.

2. Poetic Justice (1993)

A year after Juice, Tupac acted in the most important film of his career: Poetic Justice. Starring alongside fellow burgeoning musician Janet Jackson, Pac played the role of Lawrence, a postal worker and aspiring rapper. Though they butted heads at the start of the film, Lawrence and Jackson’s character Justice developed a romance later on, making for one of the most beloved flicks of the ’90s.

In an interview with Arsenio Hall just days before Poetic Justice was released, Pac discussed the interesting circumstances regarding the shooting of the film, which was set in Oakland. Considering Pac was an Oakland resident in the early ’90s and had run-ins with the law around that time, he noted how strange his relationship with the city’s police was.

“They beat me up in that city, took me to jail, and I was back within two months doing a major motion picture with Janet Jackson,” he told Hall. “And they had to protect me. We hired them. I was the star.”

[RELATED: City of Oakland Unveils “Tupac Shakur Way” to Honor Late Rapper]

3. Above the Rim (1994)

Following the success of Poetic Justice, Pac did another movie in 1995 titled Above the Rim. In the basketball-themed film, Pac played a character named Birdie, who was a local neighborhood gangster.

According to Vice, Birdie was actually based on a New York gangster named Haitian Jack, who was also involved in the hip-hop scene in NY. Allegedly, The Notorious B.I.G. was acquainted with Haitian Jack and had warned Pac not to befriend him when the two iconic MCs were still on good terms. Pac did not follow B.I.G.’s orders, though, and built a relationship with Jack.

“[H]e loved the respect and recognition I got in New York, and I think he wanted that same respect,” Haitian Jack said per Vice.

This, along with many other petty reasons, led to the souring of Pac and B.I.G.’s friendship.

Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

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