Albert Hughes on Watching Juice With 2Pac: 'It Kind of Changed His Persona'

The director recalls a fateful night that may have altered the trajectory of the late rapper’s career forever.

Bob Berg / Getty Images

Albert Hughes has a particular moment with 2Pac he remembers fondly.

The filmmaker sat down with Complex to talk about The Continental, the three-part limited prequel series to John Wick that explores Winston Scott’s early life and introduces new characters into the franchise’s action.

During the conversation, Hughes, who directed the late rapper's first three music videos alongside his brother Albert, recalled one fateful night they screened Juice for the first time together. The 1992 crime thriller was 'Pac’s acting debut and he starred alongside Omar Epps, Samuel L. Jackson, and Queen Latifah.

“We took him to see Juice for the first time on the Paramount lot in a small private screening of, like, five people," the 51-year-old told Complex. "He’s in between me and my brother, [who are] watching Juice for the first time, as he’s watching Juice for the first time. It blew his mind to see his image up there. It kind of changed his persona; it’s like how he knew what to do with his persona in hip-hop based on that movie. That [same] night we went back, and we were all staying in West Hollywood at this shitty hotel, and he knocked on our door and his head was shaved for the first time.”

Hughes continued, “That was the first time we saw the 2Pac image happening. It was like that night he saw his movie, he shaves his head, and then we moved on to make two more music videos, and then Thug Life shortly happened six months to a year after that.”

Twitter: @ComplexPop

Albert Hughes also recalled the life-altering event in a 2013 interview with Sway in the Morning. “One, he was never the same after he walked out of that theater [after Juice]. Two, when I was in the theater, I literally watched the way he was looking at the screen, and I didn’t know it then, but he saw his future. He saw what he was going to embody at that point. He found his identity. And from the moment he walked out of that screening room, that’s when the tats, everything, all the erratic behavior started.”

2Pac was originally set to reunite with the Hughes Brothers in the 1993 film Menace II Society but was dismissed for causing problems on the set. Shakur’s firing reportedly led to a physical altercation with the Hughes Brothers, which he spoke about on a 1994 episode of Yo! MTV Raps. Footage from the show was then used as evidence in a legal case that resulted in 'Pac serving a 15-day jail sentence for assault.

Latest in Music