Watch Tupac Shakur: Before I Wake
- 1 hr 40 min
Tupac Shakur: Before I Wake is a documentary film that takes us on a journey through the life of one of the most influential rappers of all time. Directed by Sean Long, the film includes exclusive interviews, archival footage, and dramatic reenactments that shed light on Tupac Shakur's early years and his rise to fame. The documentary is divided into several chapters, each of which explores a different aspect of Tupac's life. We start with his childhood, growing up in poverty in East Harlem and then moving to Baltimore. Through interviews with Tupac's childhood friends and teachers, we learn about the young Tupac's passion for poetry and his desire to escape a life of poverty.
The film then moves on to Tupac's teenage years in Marin City, California. Here, we get a glimpse of the young Tupac as he struggled to fit in with his new surroundings. Although he became involved in drugs and gangs, Tupac also continued to develop his love for poetry and music. Through interviews with his early collaborators and producers, we get a sense of how Tupac's artistry evolved during this time.
The documentary then moves on to Tupac's breakout years in the early 90s. We learn about the creation of his landmark album, "All Eyez on Me" and the controversial "Thug Life" movement that he founded. We also see how Tupac's music increasingly reflected his personal life, with tracks like "Dear Mama" and "Brenda's Got a Baby" touching on themes of poverty, racism, and social injustice.
As the film moves into its final chapters, we see Tupac's life become increasingly tumultuous. The East Coast-West Coast rap feud that Tupac became embroiled in is explored in depth, with interviews from friends and foes shedding light on the tensions that led to Tupac's tragic murder in 1996. The documentary also examines Tupac's pioneering contributions to hip-hop culture and his enduring legacy, which has inspired countless artists in the years since his death.
Throughout the film, we hear from a wide range of voices, including Tupac's close friends and family members, journalists who covered his career, and academics who have analyzed his impact on popular culture. Perhaps the most moving interviews, however, are those with Frank Alexander, Tupac's bodyguard, and Michael Eric Dyson, a scholar who was a friend of Tupac's. Alexander speaks candidly about his relationship with Tupac and the events surrounding his death, while Dyson provides insightful commentary on Tupac's legacy as a Black artist and activist.
Overall, Tupac Shakur: Before I Wake is a comprehensive look at the life and career of one of the most influential figures in hip-hop history. Through interviews, archival footage, and dramatic reenactments, the film sheds light on Tupac's early life, his artistic evolution, and the forces that shaped his tragic end. Whether you're a longtime fan of Tupac's music or just discovering his artistry for the first time, this documentary is definitely worth watching.
Tupac Shakur: Before I Wake is a 2001 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes.