Demetrius Shipp Jr., who is taking on the pressurized role of Tupac Shakur in the upcoming bio All Eyez On Me, graces the cover of Rolling Out magazine. In an interview, he talked about preparing for the role, which was an affair that took half a decade.

"It was a long time coming," he recalls. "At that time, it was four or five years, I started in 2011. So a little over four years of preparation in trying to get the role. So aside from [being] excited, it was just [the] amazement that it’s come full circle."

Shipp also spoke about how he researched the character of Pac:

"As far as research goes, I just watched a ton of video on Tupac. There’s a lot of him on YouTube. Night in and night out, I just watched that. And my acting coach, she put it on us to try and dive into his mind: what he liked, what his upbringing was like. I learned about the Black Panther Party. He loved Shakespeare — I read Shakespeare. Malcolm X. The Art of War."

Finally, he delved into the fandom surrouding the late hip-hop icon, saying that everyone almost has their own favorite version of the man:

"Certain people love the hip-hop person, the rapper. Strictly just the rapper. A lot of people, the newfound Tupac fans … they’re into Death Row-era Tupac. But that was only nine months! People think he was with Death Row all these years because he put out albums — [it was] technically nine months. But then you have the people that love the revolutionary side of Tupac. Some people like the crazy side of him [that was] always turnt up! Some people like the more sophisticated, voice of the people, leader-type of Tupac. We tried to combine all of that into one and present him as truthfully as possible."

Check out the full interview here and view the cover image as well as a behind-the-scenes video below.