Talk about a work ethic: Seven years after his death, Tupac Shakur still manages to make most living artists look lazy by releasing a steady stream of new material. And this week, the West Coast rapper scored an impressive triple header. A documentary about his life, ”Tupac: Resurrection” is in theaters now, the film’s companion book has spent three weeks on the nonfiction best-seller list, and the film’s soundtrack (featuring songs by Shakur, Eminem, and the Outlawz) is in stores.
And there’s even more where that came from. Here’s what else is on the way from Shakur’s estate in the near future.
Untitled Tupac album (2004)
Yes, there’s more music in the vaults. ”Some of the songs were completed by Tupac, and some were not,” says Karolyn Ali, the head of the film, television, and literary department for Amaru Entertainment. Ali says it’s more than likely that high-profile guest stars will be fleshing out Tupac’s raw material, just as Eminem did with tracks on the ”Resurrection” soundtrack. But is this the last new material from Tupac? ”I won’t say there are completed songs, but there’s still additional material,” says Ali. ”Whether his mother [Afeni Shakur] decides to work with those or release them is up to her.”
”Live 2 Tell” (In development)
Shakur wrote this screenplay while serving time behind bars in 1995. Ali is keeping the story under wraps, but says, ”It’s from his heart, and it’s very well done. Some might consider it semiautobiographical.” Amaru is planning to show the scripts to studios and coproducers shortly. Whoever takes on the project will have to win the favor of Afeni Shakur, who is expected to produce.
Untitled Tupac Musical (In development)
Afeni Shakur is currently negotiating a deal for a Broadway opera about the life and times of her son. ”He started out as an actor at the Baltimore School for the Arts, and it was always his goal to do a Broadway play,” says Ali. It’s too soon to know the creative direction of the project, but Shakur’s music will be a driving force. Look for Tupac on the Great White Way in the next several years.
”In the Beginning” (MTV Films; In development)
Based on Shakur’s life prior to his success, the script for this cable movie is being written by Jamal Joseph. A former Black Panther (as is Afeni), Joseph is a documentarian and NYU film teacher who also runs Impact Repertory Theater in Harlem, a program for inner-city youth. More importantly, he’s also Shakur’s godfather. The movie will be music intensive, but don’t expect Shakur’s greatest hits. ”His music wasn’t happening at the time of this story, so it’s going to have to be a unique mix,” says Ali.
”All Eyez on Me” (Working title) by Quinton Skinner (Atria/Simon & Schuster; Fall 2004)
Skinner (”Behind the Music Casualties of Rock”) will be covering the entirety of Tupac’s life in this biography, warts and all. ”Afeni Shakur has never wanted anyone to sugarcoat his story, not only because he already told his own story so well, but also because it’s important to the integrity of the project,” says Ali.
”Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary” by Jasmine Guy (Atria/Simon & Schuster; February 2004)
Yes, the author is ”A Different World” star Jasmine Guy, who was a longtime friend of Shakur. ”She got very close with the family when he passed, and realized, Wow, his mom has quite a story in her own right,” says Ali. Guy taped interviews with Afeni following her son’s death, and the resulting book is written as a conversation between the two women. Guy has also written a feature-film treatment of Afeni’s life story, which Amaru plans to show to studios in the future.
”Tupac: Resurrection” DVD (Paramount Home Entertainment; Spring 2004)
In addition to never-before-seen home videos, the DVD will feature some of the rapper’s most popular music videos, footage that didn’t make the final cut of the film, and interviews with Shakur’s mother, sister, aunt, and cousins, among others. ”We found that fans are really interested in his mom and his family,” explains Ali.