Director Allen Hughes on 2Pac: “He’s Not a Street Kid; He’s an Artist & an Activist”

While on The Art of Dialogue, filmmaker Allen Hughes says that 2Pac was “just delusional in a positive way.”

Many may remember 2Pac for being a gangster rapper while on Death Row Records, but director Allen Hughes sees otherwise. While recently on The Art of Dialogue, the Dear Mama director and one-half of The Hughes Brothers discussed the deceased rapper, who also went by Tupac Shakur, during his time on Death Row Records before his untimely death in September 1996.

When asked about the difference between Pac and Snoop Dogg, Hughes says Snoop was a “real street guy out of all these guys,” also praising him for leaving Death Row Records in 1998.

“Tupac on the other hand, while he came up in the inner city or the urban fucked up ghetto, he’s not a street kid. He’s an artist and an activist. He’s a performance arts kid and he’s delusional. He’s just delusional in a positive way. You have to be delusional to be a great artist,” he said. 

Later in the interview, Hughes added that “to be a great artist, to be in the arts, period, it comes with delusions.”

“You’re delusional. If you’re fortunate, maybe a third of your delusions become art.”

Both Tupac and Hughes had a volatile relationship during the rapper’s life, as Tupac was originally cast in 1993 film Menace II Society which The Hughes Brothers directed. The directors eventually fired Tupac for “causing trouble” on set, to which Tupac attacked Hughes, resulting in an assault and battery charge. The rapper also boasted about the incident on an episode of  Yo! MTV Raps.

FX docuseries Dear Mama, which focuses on Tupac and his mother, Afeni Shakur, premieres this fall. Watch the trailer below.


Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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Jaelani Turner-Williams

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