The teaser trailer for the upcoming Tupac biopic All Eyez On Me came out on his 45th birthday. The full trailer was released yesterday, on the 20th anniversary of his death. It has been TWENTY years since Pac died. There are full grown adults of drinking age who don’t remember a music world in which Tupac Shakur existed. To me, that is a tragedy. And this is why the rollout of these trailers has been brilliant. There were already going to be the nostalgic think-pieces about Tupac’s influence 20 years later like this one from Complex about his relationship with the police, or this one from Forbes about his legacy by the numbers and Rolling Stone’s “8 Ways Tupac Shakur Changed The World.” So while we reminisce about his influence, the new All Eyez on Me trailer is here to remind us of his life.
When I wrote about the teaser trailer, my main concern was that Demetrius Shipp Jr. only says three words. I was worried he couldn’t embody Pac’s swag and intensity. I really didn’t think he could deliver but I hoped I was wrong. Well, based on this trailer, I was wrong. I’ve never been so happy about being wrong. The trailer opens with Tupac addressing a crowd at a concert with a speech that is hauntingly relevant, especially juxtaposed against images of Pac getting thrown to the ground by police officers. Shipp’s energy and cadence is on point. He has Pac’s face! And his voice! It’s freaking me out. We also get some more glimpses at Danai Gurira, who plays Tupac’s late mother Afeni Shakur and Kat Graham, who plays Jada Pinkett before she was a Smith. These two exchanges are the trailer’s most exciting moments. I’d watch two hours of Jada putting Pac in his place.
It’s also clear that All Eyez on Me isn’t going to shy away from the violence and dark sh-t that plagued Tupac’s life. Pac existed in a hip-hop landscape when beefs didn’t just end with a Top 40 song. Beefs ended lives. Tupac lived a lot of life in 25 years and he left a hell of a legacy. I’m still a little worried about the behind-the-scenes drama and Benny Boom’s directing chops but this trailer proves, if nothing else, that the performances are going to be mesmerizing.
In the spirit of nostalgia, take a look at this moment in 1996 that The Undefeated posted of Nas stopping his concert to announce that Tupac had passed. It’s riveting.
Nas stops concert to announce 2Pac's death— Andrew Barber (@fakeshoredrive) September 13, 2016
9/13/96, Nassau Coliseum pic.twitter.com/YJdSVWB2vj