It's been a bad week for two more rappers' rap sheets.

On Sunday, Tupac Shakur, who costarred in the recent film "Poetic Justice," was arrested in Atlanta and charged in the shooting of two off-duty police officers. On Monday in New York, Flavor Flav of the group Public Enemy was charged with the attempted murder of a neighbor.

With Snoop Doggy Dogg's recent arraignment on murder charges in Los Angeles, this brings to three the number of big-name rappers facing gun-related felonies -- blurring the lines between the supposed fiction of "gangsta" rap and the reality of today's gun culture. One insider on the recently canceled Dr. Dre/Snoop Doggy Dogg tour complained that "everyone on that show was strapped" (i.e., carrying firearms).

Shakur, 22, faces two counts of aggravated assault after an early-morning incident in downtown Atlanta involving Mark Whitwell and his brother, Scott, who work for suburban police departments. The Whitwells were crossing the street with their wives when they were almost struck by a car outside of a hotel. An argument erupted, and several men got out of another car just before shooting started, said a spokesman for the Atlanta police.

"One of the officers pointed a gun toward the group," Capt. Herb Carson said. It wasn't clear if the Whitwells, who were not in uniform, identified themselves as police officers. "That matter's under investigation," Carson said.

A witness told police that Shakur fired at the officers, who did not fire their guns (three casings from a 9mm pistol were found at the scene). Mark Whitwell was shot in the abdomen, Scott Whitwell in the buttocks. The Whitwells were released from the hospital Monday.

Kenneth Ellis, Shakur's attorney in Atlanta, claimed yesterday that one of the Whitwells started shooting first. Ellis said there had been a problem between the white officers and a black motorist not associated with Shakur, who he says was in a car coming from the opposite direction.

When Shakur's party got out to investigate the traffic jam, according to Ellis, one of the Whitwells pulled and fired his gun. "When shots were fired, they were returned," Ellis said, though he would not say if Shakur was involved in the shooting.

"We've denied everything," Ellis said. A preliminary hearing has been postponed until Dec. 1, and Shakur was freed on $50,000 bond. Shakur also faces an outstanding charge of simple battery for allegedly slapping a woman last summer when she asked him for his autograph, Atlanta police said.

In New York, meanwhile, Public Enemy's Flavor Flav (William Drayton) was arrested on attempted murder and weapons charges after allegedly shooting at a neighbor he suspected was having sex with his girlfriend. After entering Thelouizs English's apartment and flipping furniture and yanking open doors, Flavor Flav reportedly reached for a gun in his waistband and (according to Newsday) said, "I ought to shoot you." At that point, English abandoned his apartment and fled into the street in front of the Bronx apartment house.

Soon after, a shot was fired, and when police arrived and arrested Flavor Flav in his own apartment, they found a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol with one bullet missing from its five-round clip. Officers said Flav was acting paranoid and delusional; his lawyer said the rapper hadn't slept in three days. Two years ago, Flavor Flav spent 20 days in jail for assaulting his girlfriend.

However, there have been other volatile times for Shakur, whose current album, "Strictly for My Niggaz," has sold more than 500,000 copies. The rapper first gained attention in his acting debut as the trigger-happy Bishop in Ernest Dickerson's "Juice," a 1992 film that examined the corrupting power of a gun after it was introduced into a quartet of Harlem youngsters.

During a "Yo MTV Raps" interview for "Poetic Justice," what appeared to be a 9mm pistol was visible at Shakur's waist.

After starring as a mailman opposite Janet Jackson in "Poetic," Shakur was fired from the Hughes brothers' film "Menace II Society," reportedly for difficult behavior. When he heard about his dismissal on "MTV News," Shakur allegedly stormed into the video shoot for Spice I's "Trigga Gots No Heart" and attacked director Alan Hughes, who reportedly plans to file civil and criminal suits.

These aren't the only suits in which Shakur is involved: He's filed a $10 million suit against Oakland's police department charging police brutality after a jaywalking incident, and he's facing a multimillion-dollar suit from the widow of Texas State Trooper Bill Davidson. Davidson was shot in April 1992 by Ronald Ray Howard; part of Howard's defense was that he had learned to hate police after years of listening to anti-cop rap music.

Howard, convicted of first-degree murder, said he was listening to Shakur's album "2pacalypse Now" just prior to being stopped for a broken headlight while driving a stolen truck. One of the songs, "Soulja's Story," contains these lyrics: "Cops on my tail/ so I bail till I dodge them/ They finally pull me over and I laugh/ Remember Rodney King/ And I blast his punk ass."

The jury rejected the Shakur-made-me-do-it defense and sentenced Howard to death. The civil trial may take place next month, with Shakur and Interscope Records as codefendants. "We do not believe that listening to music causes people to shoot people," said Interscope attorney Jim George. "We believe {Howard} did it because he didn't want to go to jail. ... It's been happening in Texas since Jesse James." Interscope is preparing to release the debut album by Oakland rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg (Calvin Broadus), who faces a murder charge because he was driving the car from which his bodyguard fired shots that killed a Los Angeles man.