John Singleton Recalls Telling Tupac to Quit Rap and Pivot to Acting

“Initially, he wasn’t that good a rapper. I was like, ‘You a’ight, but you a better actor.’”

John Singleton gave Tupac bad advice. According to him, at least.

In a new interview with The Daily Beast, while working on the 1993 classic Poetic Justice, the famed director recalls telling Tupac to quit rap and focus on acting instead.

“I’m the stupidest person in the world to be telling Pac [that],” he said. “When we were working initially, he wasn’t that good a rapper. I was like, ‘You a’ight, but you a better actor.’ He was like, ‘Fuck you, man. Hip Hop is my voice.’

He continued, “Hip Hop, being a rapper — that’s like being a gunslinger, that’s your manhood. Can’t nobody take that from you. If you can spit 16 bars and take somebody down that’s like having a multiple weapon. I’m telling him, ‘That’s not your weapon—your weapon is the fact that you’re going to be a major star.’ He couldn’t see it. I’m stupid for saying it but also, he couldn’t see it. He couldn’t see how one thing could begat the other.”

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Singleton also addressed the old rumor that Janet Jackson had Pac take an HIV test before filming any love scenes in the movie, saying it had gotten blown out of proportion

“That was a joke!” he said in the interview. “Me and Pac didn’t know Janet was married so we both were flirting with her and stuff. We’re on the set joking, with Janet there and the whole cast, and I was like, ‘I don’t know if I want you kissing my actresses—I don’t know where your lips have been. We gonna do this love scene with y’all, we’re gonna have to get you a double. He was like, ‘Fuck doing that, [only] if we’re really fucking!’ We’re gonna have to get you an AIDS test for you to kiss my actress! And it became a joke.”

He added, “and then a joke turned into some publicity and he was the only one that was left out of the circle. He knew, but he went along with it. They were in on the joke. It was just the salt and sugar of us messing around on the set.”

Poetic Justice was just been released to Blu-ray earlier this week.

Read the full interview here.

Ivie Ani

Ivie is a Nigerian-American, native New Yorker, and journalist covering culture. Usually on-air, on deadline, and on point. @ivieani

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Ivie Ani

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