New York City, NY – Back in 1992, Tupac Shakur’s acting debut in Harlem-based drama Juice immediately became a Hip Hop culture classic for its accurate depiction of inner-city black youth and the potential drama they were faced with on the daily.
The film was also notable in launching the careers of Omar Epps and Ernest Dickerson, who made his directorial debut after spending considerable time working as a cinematographer, frequently under Spike Lee. Juice‘s accompanying soundtrack boasts many still-prominent names, such as Too $hort, Naughty By Nature, Salt-N-Pepa and Eric B. & Rakim.
According to Khalil Kain, who portrayed “Raheem” in the film for his acting debut as a 27-year-old, that sense of realism translated off-screen due to a jewelry robbery in Tupac’s trailer.
While speaking to VLADTV, the tenured actor confirmed a long-standing rumor that Tupac’s crew beat up an invited guest on set. It’s a well-known fact that the late Shakur was all about Black Unity and upliftment but he apparently bonded with a kid who wasn’t ready to see the bigger picture.
“I grew up in New York City; I knew what Uptown was about,” Kain says of the movie’s location. “I wasn’t showing love [that way] at that point. And yeah, [Tupac] invited the wrong kid to hang out. And the kid stole some jewelry … and he got his ass beat. He got stomped out … those are the rules.”
Kain had even brought a girlfriend hopeful to the set to impress her and she thought it was a scene they were filming.
As history tells it, the filming for Juice preceded the release of Tupac’s debut album, 2Pacalypse Now. And as Kain tells it, there was no way anyone truly knew Pac would be catapulted into soon-to-be rap legend status and become one of the most controversial figures of all time.
“I had never heard anyone say something that bombastic at the time — and like seriously mean it,” Kain recalled of Pac speaking truth into his millionaire dreams and aspirations. “I remember him saying and telling him to shut the fuck up … but he did it and it was pretty amazing to watch him do what he did.”
Elsewhere, Kain spoke on growing up with Gylan Kain of The Last Poets as his father. The Harlem collective of musicians without question paved the way for Hip Hop music to be created.