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Director Allen Hughes frankly admits that he predicted 2Pac’s death after hearing the track “Hit Em Up” in an interview.
HipHopDX reports veteran filmmaker revealed the prediction during his time as a guest on Michael Rapaport’s podcast last week. During their conversation, the focus fell on Tupac Shakur and Hughes remembered the first time he heard the infamous track aimed at East Coast rappers. According to him, he saw the short and long-term implications of it immediately. “I remember [Interscope Records co-founder] Jimmy Iovine playing me the track before it came out and I’d go, ‘Him and 2Pac and/or Suge (Knight) would be dead in less than six months,’” the Dear Mama director stated. “And it wasn’t the words; it was the energy. It’s the power of how he did it — particularly the outro.”
“Hit Em Up” was released in June 1996, and the song explicitly targets The Notorious B.I.G., Diddy, and Bad Boy Records, cementing its status as one of the most vicious diss tracks ever recorded in rap. Shakur would die just three months later after being shot multiple times after an altercation at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Hughes also spoke about how the murder of 2Pac – and then The Notorious B.I.G. six months later – left a void in the rap game that would be filled by others who didn’t necessarily meet their skill level. “I’m not gonna name names, I’ll get in trouble with other iconic, legendary, gazillionaire rappers right now,” he said, “but when you shoot the two A+ students in the class, the C– student starts to rise to the top.” The comment led others online to speculate that he was referring to Jay-Z.
For the Menace II Society director, his friendship and subsequent work on the five-part FX documentary about the late rapper and his mother, former Black Panther Party member and revolutionary activist Afeni Shakur has given him more insight into who Tupac Shakur was. It also reinforced some thoughts he had concerning his murder, which he conveyed in an earlier interview with Linsey Davis of ABCNews. “In the community, as we know, and in the streets, there was never a mystery to who killed 2Pac,” he said at the time. “It was always about Las Vegas law enforcement closing the case on this.”
Check out the interview in full above.