Prior to casting Vonte Sweet, the role of Sharif Butler in the 1993 film Menace II Society was originally set to be played by Tupac. However, the rapper later walked away from the movie after disagreements with the film’s directors regarding the character’s religious affiliations.
“Pac had a problem with that role because it didn’t depict him like the rest of us,” MC Eiht said during the interview. “In our circle, everybody was gang-banging killers, except him. And for him playing movies that had him in that role, it kind of side-tracked him. This wasn’t no — who wouldn’t do Poetic Justice with Janet Jackson? — but as far as the [Roland] Bishop role [in the 1992 film Juice], he wanted to maintain that character with his image of acting… At that time, it was his second gig so he wanted to maintain that imagery of Bishop. When they wanted him to be around all of us, you got [MC] Eiht over here, you got Too $hort, and even the actor muthafuckas are ‘hard core’ [so] why I gotta be the calmed down dude?
“To me it was a tactic because they didn’t want him in the movie,” MC Eiht later added about the film’s directors, the Hughes brothers. “They didn’t want him in the movie because the Hughes brothers knew him. They shot three [or] four of his videos [and] they had worked with Pac, they knew his work ethic. From my understanding, he was a part of the deal. ‘We gotta have Tupac in this movie.’ So they figured, let’s give him this role because it won’t put him on that stage because they didn’t want to work with him.”
Later in the interview, MC Eiht elaborated on the reasons why Tupac didn’t like his character’s narrative.
“My take on it was — every time we got ready to rehearse, he had an opinion about his character,” MC Eiht said. “Every time it came down to him to start reading, he would stop and just start going, ‘Well why my character ain’t this? Why this? Why that?’ So he wanted them to write in [to] the script why he turned Muslim. Show why! The depiction of it was supposed to be [that] his little brother had got killed, but they weren’t gonna show all that, it was just a point of view. He didn’t want that character. Or make my character so the audience can understand why I’m a Muslim now. Did I go bust on 15 dudes and kill them? Did my brother get killed and I went and retaliated? Show me why I turned Muslim. And they wouldn’t do it and that’s what angered him.”
MC Eiht’s interview, whereby he says that Tupac ditched his role in Menace II Society as the character wasn’t thug enough, can be viewed below: