On June 16, 2023, Tupac Shakur would have celebrated his 52nd birthday if he were alive today.
With the nation celebrating 50 years of hip-hop, it is only right to acknowledge the legendary rapper who helped change the music industry as we know it.
Actor Alvin “AG” Gray, who has appeared in BET’s “No Limit Chronicles,” BET’s “Death Row Chronicles,” where he played Suge Knight and Oxygen’s “Snapped Notorious: Snapped in a Snap – Tupac Shakur,” shared his thoughts on the rapper’s legacy.
How did you prepare to play Suge Knight?
Everybody else has all of these other movies about Tupac and stuff like that. The luxury of being in the movie, versus a reenactment type of deal, is you have words. If your acting is a little wack, you can still make it sound cool and look cool if you can deliver it with your voice. When you’re doing a reenactment, you strictly have to make sure you move like who you’re being. That’s a whole different ballgame to watch a Suge Knight video off of YouTube and you’re not studying his voice or how he talks, you’re studying his mannerisms. Such as, how he holds a cigar, and how he might stand over a person when he talking to him, I had to look at body language instead of words, because we didn’t have a script. Our script was acting in a literal, physical sense, without speaking, because if you rewatch the special, Suge is telling you what’s going on during the reenactment. I had to focus and study for a few months to get it down, but I feel like I pulled it off.
How has Tupac positively impacted you personally and the world?
Ever since he touched the microphone, he was a game changer and it’s crazy how young he was. I think people forget that he wasn’t even 30. The way he touched the world with music is truly unbelievable because everybody knows his face. You can go to any country. Any Black dude with a bald head is either going to get compared to Michael Jordan or Tupac. I will say that his legacy and what he left behind, is just truly amazing. I don’t know if anybody will ever really follow that. What Michael Jordan is to basketball, Tupac is to rap, hip hop, and the culture because every single year, you’re going to hear his story. It’s amazing because it reverses itself with the generations because his music is timeless. When you have a timeless product, everybody can relate.