Tupac Month: Bishop vs. Birdie [Poll]

Tupac Shakur was arguably as good an actor as he was an MC. Through six motion picture roles, ‘Pac shared the screen with Oscar-nominated actors Tim Roth, Mickey Rourke, Oscar winner Adrien Brody, and starred in a film by Oscar-nominated director, John Singleton. Unlike the droves of rapper-turned-actors who followed in his footsteps, he was never typecast—playing formidable villains (Juice, Above the Rim), a postal clerk (Poetic Justice), a heroine-addicted musician (Gridlock’d) and a crooked cop (Gang Related). Though ‘Pac showed range on the screen, he’ll forever be remembered for his two most gangsta roles: Bishop—a rebel without a cause in Juice and Birdie—a notorious drug kingpin—in Above the Rim. Sadly, the rebellious MC’s riveting on-screen performances may have turned into a case of life imitating art.

The release of Juice in 1992—’Pac’s movie debut—coincides with the beginning of the rapper’s perpetual legal woes. He’d been arrested for resisting arrest and filed a lawsuit against the Oakland Police Department in ’91, but Shakur’s antics soon began to rival that of his infamous on-screen characters. People close to ‘Pac even said the MC obsessed over the “juice” Bishop longed for. By the time Shakur played Birdie in late ’93 (the movie came out in ’94), he’d assaulted Menace II Society directors Allen and Albert Hughes, shot two off-duty police officers in Atlanta and added a sexual assault to his rap sheet.

Clearly, there was a bit of ‘Pac in both Bishop and Birdie, but who’s more gangsta? XXL compares the two memorable characters.—XXL Staff


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  • bakerboi

    Man, that’s a really good question. Which one, I would have to go with Bishop becuz he play the hell out that role and was crazy as hell and didn’t give a fuck. But Birdie was a beast too, Man idk it’s a hard one.

  • J

    Bishop is a legendary character.

    Side Note: Why the fuck is everyone picking his radio songs over his real shit. If any of you motherfuckers know, Pac made those songs intentionally for the radio. They were NOT his jams

  • Check Facts

    little known fact – Pac was hanging around Hatian Jack when he was working on Above the Rim and based his Birdie character on him.

  • http://www.po.gov.za Tshilidzi

    Bishop………..hands down!!!
    ………….Pac reseblems that character in so many ways.
    Life imitating art.

    GOAT………..enuff said…..

  • jermaine cheek

    Bishop! not by much tho he just went a lil deeper with this one

  • p-don

    bishop is to tupac as scarface is to al pacino signature roles

  • Young4yaa

    Bishop 4 me wins hands down. I was 13 when I watched Juice & fell in love with Tupac. From that day I knew I when I grew up I was going to get me some of that Thug Passion. :-) R.I.P Hip Hop, their will never be another man like you. The realest MAN to ever live.

  • tumza

    BISHOP was a crazy mutha fucker. Pac left people wondering if he was acting or just being himself. That how good he was as an actor.