The film was highly anticipated as hood flicks were the wave of the day. People were still taking in the cinematic gem of Boyz In The Hood that starred rapper Ice Cube. Now it was Juice that featured a rising star in Tupac Shakur. His role as the Uptown criminal, Bishop, would eventually become legendary.
Omar Epps was the co-star with the experience of acting in films such as In Too Deep and Higher Learning. The movie’s final scene is a showdown between Bishop and Epps’ character Q aka Quincy. The are friend with other kids from the neighborhood portrayed by Jermaine “Huggy” Hopkins(Lean On Me) and Khalil Kain.
The soundtrack was also very hip hop heavy and would become a smash due to its urban appeal. Eric B and Rakim would provide a music video to help sell the visuals of the film. The song “Know The Ledge” is considered to be a rap classic.
The film not only put focus on a rap star, but it also had its share of hip hop icons. Treach of Naughty By Nature originally tried out for the role of Bishop. Tupac had just followed him for support and would eventually catch the eye of the production team. They eventually would cast Tupac in the role of Bishop. Hip hop enthusiasts would get to see the iconic Queen Latifah, EPMD’s DJ Scratch and Special Ed. Naughty By Nature would also provide the classic single “Uptown Anthem” for the soundtrack.
It was also revealed decades later that Tupac wrote the hit song “Brenda’s Got A Baby” on set. Pac was inspired to write the song which appeared on his debut album 2Pacalypse Now. The single features Dave Hollister, who does the vocals behind the single about a 12-year-old girl who lives in a troubled family and neighborhood that creates a situation where she can’t support her newborn baby.
“He was reading the newspapers … a woman had thrown her baby in the trash which was kind of common in New York,” said Omar Epps to Hiphop Hollywood.
Omar went on to say that Pac was “so rattled by it, the whole day, kept bringing it up.” According to the actor, that same day during their lunch break, Shakur invited Epps into is trailer. “He starts rapping this song to me,” Omar said.
He added, “Two, three months later his album comes out and I see the video. That was incredible, that’s real life art.”
The film not only helped Tupac become a movie star, but it also assisted the environment to which he would pen of his more emotional songs about the struggle of the same type of neighborhoods that cultivated a Bishop.