Prior to his death in 1996, West Coast artist Tupac Shakur had starred in a handful of films including Poetic Justice and Juice and was delving deeper into his acting career. And according to former Death Row Chief Engineer Rick Clifford, Tupac was to audition for the role of a Jedi in the George Lucas-created Star Wars.
Clifford says Tupac was to read in front of Lucas for a role he says was ultimately given to Samuel L. Jackson.
“We always talked about his film career and stuff,” Clifford said during an interview with 2Pac-Forum.com. “He was telling me that he was supposed to read for George Lucas and them. They wanted him to be a Jedi. Yeah, I’m serious. Samuel L. got Tupac’s part. Yeah, cause he said ‘old man’—you know he called me ‘old man.’ He said ‘Old man, keep your fingers crossed. I got three movies coming up. One of ‘em I gotta read for George Lucas.’”
After speaking on Tupac’s acting career, Clifford touched on the moment Death Row began to go downhill. He recalled walking into the studio one day expecting to work with Dr. Dre on The Chronic only to be told that Dre would not be returning.
The former Chief Engineer says he knew his days at the label were numbered when he began using his mic techniques to alter the voices of artists who sounded similar to Tupac and Snoop Dogg to complete projects.
“All I knew is I get a call—this has to be around 98 or so, I guess,” he said. “I get a call from Kevin Lewis. ‘[We’re all coming back.] We’re working on The Chronic.’ I’m going ‘Oh, great.’ I get down to the studio. I said, ‘So hey, so when Dr. Dre get back?’ And they go ‘Oh, Dr. Dre ain’t coming back.’ I go ‘Well, ain’t we working on The Chronic?’ They go ‘Well uh.’ They heard that Dre [was] working on The Chronic, so they decided to put out a Chronic also. And that’s when I said to myself—cause Suge was in jail at this point. That’s when I said ‘This some bullshit.’ Then it got worse…They definitely wanted me back in the picture cause I record everybody the same. As soon as I put my mic technique on Tha Realest, the guy sounds exactly like Tupac. Then this other kid, Top Dogg, he sound just like Snoop. So, then that’s when they started having them fix records that Snoop had started or Pac had started.”
In a past interview with 2Pac-Forum.com, Clifford revealed that Dr. Dre left Death Row due to a loss in creative control.
“When [Dr.] Dre left, that caused a lot of confusion,” Clifford said. “Dre left due to the fact that he thought, the only reason Dre left ’cause he thought he lost creative control.”