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Michael B. Jordan Names J. Cole And Drake Among His Favorite Rappers

tupac shakur biopic
With the news last week that the long-delayed, oft-discussed, potentially-forthcoming Tupac biopic had finally found a distributor in Open Road Films, it seems like the film might finally come to fruition. Of course, that's always going to be a premature statement; when it comes to the Tupac biopic, there feels like there have been more false starts than an entire NFL season, with the project caught up in varying levels of litigation and dissatisfaction—not to mention a revolving door of screenwriters and directors—since rumors that Tupac's mother Afeni Shakur was shopping rights to the film began circulating around 2007.

In the intervening years, the proposed film has seen its share of ups and downs; before it could even gain traction, production company Morgan Creek filed suit against Ms. Shakur's Amaru Entertainment in Feb. of 2009, claiming that they had a contract for the rights and that she had used the contract as a baseline to further negotiations rather than accept the terms. Amaru disagreed, filing a lawsuit the following month and setting off two years of litigation that was finally settled out of court in 2011. During those two years, the film acquired a director, script writers, and held an open casting call, and had numerous filming dates on the schedule, leading many to believe that the production was underway.

Three years later, all that has been wiped out, and the film is getting a fresh start. With the ink on the Open Road deal just beginning to dry, XXL spoke with one of the biopic's producers, Program Pictures CEO L.T. Hutton, to clear up all the confusion surrounding the film, set the record straight on what is coming down the pipeline, and lay out everything you need to know about the Tupac biopic. Keep ya head up. —Dan Rys
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Everything You Need To Know About The Tupac Biopic

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Lil Boosie Sees Similarities In Him And Tupac

Lil Boosie is loving life outside of prison. The  Baton Rouge rapper stirred massive hysteria with his release from prison, and since then, has had the rap game on tilt in lieu of his new album...

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Suge Knight Says Tupac’s “Hit Em Up” Could Make A Grown Man Cry

The East Coast/West Coast beef was a volatile war between the two coasts in the 1990’s. Suge Knight, who was in the center of the of it all, spoke to BET...

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Tupac’s Biopic Is Picked Up By A Film Company

Open Road Films to purchased the rights to John Singleton's Tupac Shakur’s biopic entitled, Tupac.

The movie will showcase the trials and tribulations of Shakur, including his beginnings in East Harlem, being the son of a Black Panther’s activist, his rapid fire path to superstardom, his role in the East Coast/West Coast skirmish, and his untimely demise...

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Marlon Wayans Saw Tupac Moments Before He Died

As both individuals ruled the entertainment world in the early 90's, it's no secret that Marlon Wayans and Tupac were good friends. Marlon recently spoke on his relationship with Pac, revealing that the icon had many more layers to him than he often portrayed...

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Lloyd Lake, a former business associate of infamous Death Row Records founder Suge Knight, is accusing Knight of being a conniving government informant being used by the United States to regulate hip-hop, and he's attempting to pull out all the stops to prove his case. Lake is campaigning to raise funds for a tell-all documentary titled Justice For Tupac & Biggie, uncovering the truth behind Suge Knight, his involvement with the government and the many legal cases which Knight has been involved with, most notably the murder cases of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur.

The documentary is essentially seeking to identify Knight as a snitch, though the film may never actually be made. The documentary purports to feature interviews with Tupac’s former bodyguard and a suspect in his killing, Reggie Wright, as well as lawyers who reveal the U.S. Justice System’s unwillingness to prosecute those involved in the crime. Lake put the project first on Kickstarter, then on Indiegogo in an attempt to meet a $150,000 goal, after which the documentary will be released to the public. The campaign isn't going so well, however.

Lake, who’s known Knight since 1994, has a bone to pick with him, particular after being indicted after an incident with NFL star Reggie Bush, and wants to address the question of why Suge Knight has never served serious time in the U.S. prison system outside of the four years he spent locked up following a probation violation in 1997. It's an interesting proposition—one which whets many a conspiracy theorist's appetite—but one that hasn't held much weight despite Knight's repeated arrests in the past decade.

So why push for this documentary now? It all stems from the incident with Bush in 2008, when Lake spoke about giving the former Heisman Trophy-winning running back and his family $300,000 in cash, living arrangements and other benefits between Nov. 2004 and Jan. 2006. The deal was a verbal agreement in exchange for Lake’s management agency, New Era Sports and Entertainment, representing Bush. Bush and Lake would eventually reach a settlement in a civil case regarding the dissolution of the matter, but Lake has contended that Knight's involvement caused Bush to go to the FBI, getting Lake indicted and somehow still getting off without major criminal investigation.

Alongside Wright, Lake's film is looking to dismantle a perceived injustice dating back nearly two decades and make the hip-hop community aware of Suge’s "snitching" activities, often bringing up the name of infamous Boston mobster Whitey Bulger, who was protected throughout a decades-long criminal enterprise by funneling information to the FBI on his enemies, as a comparison. Conspiracy theorists or not, Lake and Wright’s accusations still contain some element of plausibility.

"The fact that 17 years has gone by without anyone being prosecuted, and there are 17 deaths connected with Tupac’s murder for which no one has been charged, this forces us to look at the glaring fact that the legal system failed," Lake said during an interview with XXL. "It’s my goal with this documentary to put not only those involved on trial, but to reveal the shameful cover up and reveal the truth and facts in the case."

Whether or not the documentary ever sees the light of day, XXL spoke with Lake and Wright to try and get to the bottom of their claims, fantastical or otherwise. The story remains far from over. —Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP)
Lloyd Lake, a former business associate of infamous Death Row Records founder Suge Knight, is accusing Knight of being a conniving government informant being used by the United States to regulate hip-hop, and he's attempting to pull out all the stops to prove his case. Lake is campaigning to raise funds for a tell-all documentary titled Justice For Tupac & Biggie, uncovering the truth behind Suge Knight, his involvement with the government and the many legal cases which Knight has been involved with, most notably the murder cases of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur.

The documentary is essentially seeking to identify Knight as a snitch, though the film may never actually be made. The documentary purports to feature interviews with Tupac’s former bodyguard and a suspect in his killing, Reggie Wright, as well as lawyers who reveal the U.S. Justice System’s unwillingness to prosecute those involved in the crime. Lake put the project first on Kickstarter, then on Indiegogo in an attempt to meet a $150,000 goal, after which the documentary will be released to the public. The campaign isn't going so well, however.

Lake, who’s known Knight since 1994, has a bone to pick with him, particular after being indicted after an incident with NFL star Reggie Bush, and wants to address the question of why Suge Knight has never served serious time in the U.S. prison system outside of the four years he spent locked up following a probation violation in 1997. It's an interesting proposition—one which whets many a conspiracy theorist's appetite—but one that hasn't held much weight despite Knight's repeated arrests in the past decade.

So why push for this documentary now? It all stems from the incident with Bush in 2008, when Lake spoke about giving the former Heisman Trophy-winning running back and his family $300,000 in cash, living arrangements and other benefits between Nov. 2004 and Jan. 2006. The deal was a verbal agreement in exchange for Lake’s management agency, New Era Sports and Entertainment, representing Bush. Bush and Lake would eventually reach a settlement in a civil case regarding the dissolution of the matter, but Lake has contended that Knight's involvement caused Bush to go to the FBI, getting Lake indicted and somehow still getting off without major criminal investigation.

Alongside Wright, Lake's film is looking to dismantle a perceived injustice dating back nearly two decades and make the hip-hop community aware of Suge’s "snitching" activities, often bringing up the name of infamous Boston mobster Whitey Bulger, who was protected throughout a decades-long criminal enterprise by funneling information to the FBI on his enemies, as a comparison. Conspiracy theorists or not, Lake and Wright’s accusations still contain some element of plausibility.

"The fact that 17 years has gone by without anyone being prosecuted, and there are 17 deaths connected with Tupac’s murder for which no one has been charged, this forces us to look at the glaring fact that the legal system failed," Lake said during an interview with XXL. "It’s my goal with this documentary to put not only those involved on trial, but to reveal the shameful cover up and reveal the truth and facts in the case."

Whether or not the documentary ever sees the light of day, XXL spoke with Lake and Wright to try and get to the bottom of their claims, fantastical or otherwise. The story remains far from over. —Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP)
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Is The Government Using Suge Knight To Control The Rap Industry?

Quincy Jones has had a long, contentious history with hip-hop dating back to its very beginnings, when he was an early advocate for the genre that he says he saw coming "20 years away." He's even had a close family connection; his daughter, Kidada, was engaged to Tupac at the time of the West Coast legend's murder in 1996, a relationship he has said he'd had to come to terms with. But in recent years, Q has distanced himself from hip-hop, generally disparaging rappers and drawing a line in the sand between himself and producers and artists of today.

That distinction was made clearer again over the weekend, when the legendary producer and arranger was asked about Lil Wayne and the current state of music. "When you come from the era of Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson, it gets hard to get used to Lil Wayne," he told The National. "I just can’t handle it."

Having taken shots at Kanye West, Diddy and the culture of hip-hop in general over the past decade, XXL compiled six instances of Quincy Jones voicing his displeasure at hip-hop as a genre. —XXL Staff
Quincy Jones has had a long, contentious history with hip-hop dating back to its very beginnings, when he was an early advocate for the genre that he says he saw coming "20 years away." He's even had a close family connection; his daughter, Kidada, was engaged to Tupac at the time of the West Coast legend's murder in 1996, a relationship he has said he'd had to come to terms with. But in recent years, Q has distanced himself from hip-hop, generally disparaging rappers and drawing a line in the sand between himself and producers and artists of today.

That distinction was made clearer again over the weekend, when the legendary producer and arranger was asked about Lil Wayne and the current state of music. "When you come from the era of Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson, it gets hard to get used to Lil Wayne," he told The National. "I just can’t handle it."

Having taken shots at Kanye West, Diddy and the culture of hip-hop in general over the past decade, XXL compiled six instances of Quincy Jones voicing his displeasure at hip-hop as a genre. —XXL Staff
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Quincy Jones’ 6 Most Anti-Hip-Hop Quotes

For a while now, fans have been comparing Lil Boosie and his recent release from serving a nearly five-year prison sentence to the late Tupac Shakur, widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time. And before you scoff it off—no one, at least no one as far as we've seen, has actually put Boosie's rapping up against 'Pac's—it's not the worst comparison in the world. For one, the two rappers were both icons of their cities and regions, held up as bigger than the music during their recording careers; 'Pac was the most visible lightning rod for Cali during the East Coast vs. West Coast battles of the 1990s, while it's hard to overstate Boosie's influence and impact over Louisiana and the South in general.

So many people have been bringing up the two in connection with each other that Boosie was actually asked about the comparisons after his press conference following his release, where he chalked up the juxtaposition to the fact that they both make "heartfelt songs," calling it "a privilege" to be put in the same category of the late great.

Well, that was enough for us. XXL decided to break things down and see if the comparisons actually check out. The scale and time differential are tough to reconcile—'Pac was simply a bigger artist in a time when record sales were gargantuan—but it's still a fascinating look, side by side. For comparison's sake, we've included 'Pac's career up through The Don Killuminati: 7 Day Theory, the last project he completed before his untimely death Sept. 13, 1996. Without further ado, let's go. —Layne Weiss and Dan Rys 
For a while now, fans have been comparing Lil Boosie and his recent release from serving a nearly five-year prison sentence to the late Tupac Shakur, widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time. And before you scoff it off—no one, at least no one as far as we've seen, has actually put Boosie's rapping up against 'Pac's—it's not the worst comparison in the world. For one, the two rappers were both icons of their cities and regions, held up as bigger than the music during their recording careers; 'Pac was the most visible lightning rod for Cali during the East Coast vs. West Coast battles of the 1990s, while it's hard to overstate Boosie's influence and impact over Louisiana and the South in general.

So many people have been bringing up the two in connection with each other that Boosie was actually asked about the comparisons after his press conference following his release, where he chalked up the juxtaposition to the fact that they both make "heartfelt songs," calling it "a privilege" to be put in the same category of the late great.

Well, that was enough for us. XXL decided to break things down and see if the comparisons actually check out. The scale and time differential are tough to reconcile—'Pac was simply a bigger artist in a time when record sales were gargantuan—but it's still a fascinating look, side by side. For comparison's sake, we've included 'Pac's career up through The Don Killuminati: 7 Day Theory, the last project he completed before his untimely death Sept. 13, 1996. Without further ado, let's go. Layne Weiss and Dan Rys 
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Comparing Lil Boosie And Tupac By The Numbers

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Ty Dolla $ign
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Ty Dolla $ign Met Tupac As A Kid

Ty Dolla $ign recently sat down with Fuse to chop it up at SXSW. Speaking on his early musical connections and meeting Tupac as a kid, the rapper-singer showed that he's much deeper in to the music world than the average eye may see...

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