If you saw Josh Harraway walking down the street, you might think you’d just seen a ghost. A very famous ghost.
That’s because Harraway, an actor and filmmaker living in Los Angeles, looks exactly like slain ’90s rapper Tupac Shakur, right down to the facial features, height, weight and clothes.
The uncanny resemblance doesn’t go to waste.
Since 2005, Harraway has been cashing in on his looks by moonlighting as a professional Tupac impersonator, performing at parties, bars and events as the iconic rapper.
“I’m the world’s first Tupac impersonator,” Harraway told AOL News. “I know I might not be the first look-alike, but as far as I know, I’m the first impersonator to make a living performing as Tupac.”
Harraway said he’s been flown out to places such as Las Vegas, Chicago and Ireland over the years to perform songs like “California Love” by Tupac. He was even hired to re-enact Tupac’s unsolved slaying in the TV series “Famous Crime Scene,” which aired last year on VH1.
For that gig, Harraway had to re-enact the rapper’s famous death scene in Las Vegas alongside an equally convincing Suge Knight look-alike.
After simulating the fatal shooting on camera, Harraway was zipped into a body bag, thrown on a gurney and taken away by an ambulance. He then had to lie naked — and perfectly still — on an autopsy table to portray the examination of Tupac’s dead body.
“That was a crazy experience. I got to see how everything went down, step by step. After a few takes in the body bag I started to think, ‘Wow, this is how it must’ve really been for Tupac.’ I was tripping out a little, questioning my own mortality,” Harraway recalled. “It was weird.”
His on-camera experience as Tupac doesn’t stop rolling there.
Using his own filmmaking equipment, Harraway once shot a music video of himself lip-syncing to Tupac’s song “Against All Odds.” He’s also filmed his own online reality show called “2pac Alive,” which follows his life as a Tupac impersonator.
Rap videos. Club appearances. A stint as a Tupac re-enactment actor. What could possibly be next for Harraway?
The doppelganger confirmed he’s been tapped to audition for an upcoming Tupac biopic, which could lead to his big-screen debut. He’s been working day and night to perfect “Pac’s” persona so he can nail the casting call and land the role in the movie, which is supposed to begin filming this summer.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the gritty biopic about Tupac’s life and legacy is being made by Morgan Creek Productions and Antoine Fuqua, director of films such as “Training Day” and “Brooklyn’s Finest.”
Tupac’s real-life mother, Afeni Shakur Davis, will serve as executive producer.
“I’ve been studying Pac’s mannerisms more closely than ever, watching Pac interviews. I’m learning to speak more like him by bringing out my poetic side, since Pac was a poet. I’ve been making these vocabulary flashcards so I can pronounce words just like he did, down to the inflections.”
Additionally, Harraway said he’s been brushing up on his Tupac gestures, posture and appearance. He works out six times a week to maintain a muscular physique similar to that of the late rapper.
He even pops on fake piercings and tattoos as needed, sticking a nose ring and henna ink on his body to look more like Tupac. If Harraway lifts up his shirt, his abdomen usually reads “Thug Life,” an homage to one of Tupac’s most famous tattoos, in removable henna ink.
He figures that everything combined — the look, mannerisms and vocabulary — will improve his chances at the upcoming audition.
A little guidance from the right connections may also help.
One man who thinks Harraway is fit for the part is Frank Alexander, Tupac’s former bodyguard who protected the rapper from September 1995 until his sudden death in September 1996.
Alexander — who penned the book “Got Your Back” about his experiences with Tupac — told AOL News that he’s been helping Harraway with his monologue for the movie, giving him pointers on how to “walk, talk, act and think like Tupac.”
“I’m teaching him everything I can about how Tupac moved. Josh’s resemblance is striking. With practice, I think he has a good chance of getting the role,” Alexander said. “Josh still needs to work on getting down Tupac’s swagger and charisma, but he’s beginning to scratch the surface.”
Alexander said Harraway already has a couple of key things in his favor. For starters, Alexander noted that just like Tupac, Harraway is a graduate of a performing arts school and has extensively studied acting.
Second, Alexander thinks Harraway’s lack of real tattoos is actually an advantage.
“Josh doesn’t have a single real tattoo on his body, unlike other Tupac impersonators. This will make it very easy for the film’s makeup artists to work with Josh since they won’t have to cover up any ink. They’ll be able to add on Tupac’s tattoos perfectly,” Alexander said.
The bodyguard said working with Harraway has been both rewarding and surreal, since he still can’t believe how much Harraway resembles Tupac.
“The first day we met, about a month ago, we were sitting in my car talking. Looking at Josh’s face was hard for me. In the dim light, he looked so much like Tupac. I had to stop and turn away because it was so unbelievable. It wasn’t eerie, it was just surreal.”
Alexander isn’t first person to react to Harraway that way.
The Tupac double said he gets similar reactions from strangers all the time at the grocery store and gas station, even if he’s not in costume. Just recently, paparazzi from TMZchased him down because he looked so much like Tupac.
Another time, he was at a car dealership dressed in regular clothes when a Tupac fan approached him asking for his Tupac impersonator business card because he’d heard about him around town.
A few days later, Harraway said the man called and asked to hire him for two hours just to meet for drinks at the Rainbow Room in Los Angeles.
No funny business, just two dudes hanging out.
“The guy was a huge Tupac fan and was going through a rough time in his life. He wanted someone to talk to, and since Tupac’s music had helped him a lot, I was a good alternative. I met him at the bar dressed as Tupac and we just hung out. It was cool.”
Well, if Harraway’s audition for the Tupac movie doesn’t work out, at least he can always fall back on his imitation skills. Or maybe become a Tupac fan counselor.
He said he charges about $250 an hour to perform, though it depends on the job. Lately he’s been booking most parties for $1,000 to $2,000.
Aside from vying for the movie role, Harraway said he plans to book some sort of public Tupac performance forJune 16 to honor what would’ve been the beloved rapper’s 40th birthday.