Donald Glover sees many comparisons between himself and slain musician/actor Tupac Shakur.
The actor, who co-writes and stars in FX show Atlanta, also puts out music as Childish Gambino, for which he recently won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Performance.
The Atlanta native is also set to star in two blockbusters, Solo: A Star Wars Story, as Lando Calrissian and The Lion King remake, playing Simba.
When asked in an interview with Esquire how he sees himself, the 34-year-old compared himself to the California Love hip-hop icon, who also made the transition to the big screen in movies such as Juice and Poetic Justice before he was murdered in a drive-by shooting at the age of 25.
“Do you think Tupac was like, ‘I know exactly who I am?'” he responded to the publication. “I know everybody likens themselves to Tupac a lot. I am the new Tupac in a strange way. I grew up similar. I didn’t have a mom in the Black Panthers, but my parents were very pro-black.”
His mother also showed great foresight by sending a young Donald to a performing arts school, which started him on the road to his career in Hollywood.
“She was like, ‘That’s where you need to be,'” he explained.
The writer/rapper, who cut his teeth on U.S. show 30 Rock, has since immersed himself in storytelling, whether it be movies or music, proof that his mother’s decision was the right one.
“Sometimes you have to play a role for people to understand you, even though you’re far more complex than any of that,” he sighed, explaining the motivation behind his writing. “Sometimes it’s really hard to simplify that so people can eat it. Storytelling is just simplifying what’s happening to you. Life is just a story.
“Stuff that happens to you, you just put into story mode. I just take what’s there and put it into story mode on a smaller level so that you can be like, ‘Oh my God, that’s life! I totally relate to that.’”