Another docuseries centering on the life and legacy of Tupac Shakur is coming to the small-screen. This time around, Menace II Society director Allen Hughes is telling the story through his lens. Hughes and Tupac had a complicated relationship when the rapper was alive. He doesn’t ignore it in the series and dives into detail about how he and Tupac ended up in a tumultuous place.
Tupac Shakur and Allen Hughes had a major fallout that turned physical
Hughes and Tupac started off as friends, with Hughes and his brother/business partner hiring him for a role in their first major film, Menace II Society. The rapper was reportedly fired for causing trouble on set. The firing pissed Tupac off, with things becoming so bad that he and his entourage assaulted Hughes.
Tupac actually admitted to Ed Lover on Yo! MTV Raps that he and his boys jumped Hughes over the firing. “They fired me but did it in a roundabout punk snitch way. So I caught them on the streets and whipped their behinds. I was a menace to the Hughes Brothers, and it ain’t over,” the rapper said in the interview.
Lover attempted to hush Tupac from speaking about the incident, noting that the admission could be used against him in a legal case, but Tupac continued his rant. The Hughes Brothers used the MTV footage in court to help get the rapper convicted of assault. Tupac served 15 days in jail as a result of the beating.
Allen Hughes includes their fallout in his new project
Despite the incident, Hughes remained a fan and advocate of Tupac. So much so that he has a forthcoming five-part docuseries about Tupac set to be released. He was hesitant to attach himself to the project in the first place. Discussing the beating was even more complicated.
“I was reluctant to go into my thing because I was like, ‘I don’t want the camera on me.’ I’m not trying to be famous in this thing. My producers and writing partner said, “You gotta deal with it, Allen.” So we found a way,” Hughes told Deadline. “And it was cathartic for me, because I understood things about what happened that favor him, actually, and don’t favor my argument, that I never understood before. Not the argument for violence, but what the disagreement was over.
In retrospect, he doesn’t hold a grudge against Tupac and understands how things ended up the way they did. “What I didn’t understand until I started doing like a deep, emotional dive and excavation on this was like, “Oh s–t, the actual argument that we had about the character in the movie, he actually had a valid point.” I just didn’t see it. Then we’d gotten into too much of a dysfunctional place,” Hughes explained.
What Allen Hughes’ new Tupac project entails
Tupac’s family wanted him to helm the project. He noted on a panel at the 2022 ESSENCE Music Festival that regardless of their rollercoaster relationship, “to know him [Tupac] is to love him.”
Unlike other documentaries about Tupac, he opted to take a different approach by using his mother’s perception of her son. “Anybody who knows Tupac knows that he and his mother are like twins,” Hughes added, noting that Tupac’s activism – no matter how perceived – is a direct trait from Afeni.
“This is an eternal struggle,” Hughes said, “And she knew that.” He also describes the rapper’s mom as “an authentic Black woman” who inspired Tupac to create music praising the Black woman with songs like “Dear Mama” and “Keep Ya Head Up.” “I don’t know of an artist today who has two of those songs,” Hughes added.