Later today, Tupac Shakur will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 20 years after his death. Snoop Dogg will give his induction speech. TMZ reported that there’s a California Love tribute in the works featuring Snoop and Dr. Dre but Rolling Stone says that’s just a rumour. I really hope it’s true. California Love is arguably Tupac’s most recognizable hit and it’s the song most heavily featured in the All Eyez on Me trailer that dropped yesterday.
I’ve been analyzing every teaser and every trailer for this film since last June. I’ve been skeptical, then hopeful, then skeptical again that director Benny Boom and this cast could pull off a story as nuanced, complex, heartbreaking, and culturally relevant as Tupac Shakur’s life. This trailer, the one they are calling the “official trailer” is making me hopeful again.
We’ve seen most of this footage in past clips but the new scenes we’re given are all really promising. Demetrius Shipp Jr. still sounds and moves so much like ‘Pac he’s basically a hologram. Kat Graham is still serving some Jada Pinkett realness. But this trailer goes a bit deeper into Tupac Shakur’s past. The trailer opens with the foreboding words of ‘Pac’s stepfather, Mutulu Shakur:
"You must stand for something. You must live for something, and you must be willing to die for something."
Sure, it’s a little on the nose but I like that we’re going to see a bit of how Tupac became the guy who, as the trailer states, could unite “revolutionaries and gang communities.” It’s an on-point summation of Tupac’s appeal. Also, this may have been an inappropriate response but I laughed when the white record executive tells Tupac, “We love your music Tupac. You paint a picture for the listener that’s not always pretty, but it’s real.” (Serious question: Would this dude have been for or against Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad?)
I got chills when ‘Pac approaches Biggie (played by Jamal Woolard, who will play Biggie in every movie from now until forever) and says, “We got a big platform. Use that platform to make change.” This was always the glaring disparity between the Notorious B.I.G and Tupac Shakur. One was the party-loving, slick-tongued, introspective bad boy and the other was political, defiant, a socially-conscious activist, poet and actor. ‘Pac was woke before woke was a thing, Sometimes, when something bad happens— like another police shooting of an unarmed black man— and an artist releases a song in its wake, I think of Tupac and how he would be using his platform today if he was still alive. Tupac’s platform was so influential, a movie about his life is one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer of 2017. It will be released on his birthday and in the same year his friend Snoop inducts him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Please, dear sweet baby Blue Ivy, let it be good.