have collected a few highly interesting Tupac interviews, to allow
those of you who do not know Tupac's character well to get into tune with
his persona. These interviews are direct transcripts and contain
strong language and themes of an adult nature.
April 1995 - Ready To Live
me wanna holler
The way they do my life
It was a chilly
January morning when I made my way to Rikers Island for a
conversation with Tupac Shakur, what would be his first words
to any journalist since being shot last November 30. After
passing through a series of checkpoints and metal detectors, I
reached a dingy white conference room in the same building
where Tupac was being held on $3 million bail. Within weeks,
he'd receive a one-and-a-half- to four-and-a-half-year
sentence for a sexual abuse conviction in his New York rape
case. Tupac strutted into the room without a limp, in spite of
having been recently wounded in the leg-among other places.
Dressed in a white Adidas sweatshirt and oversized blue jeans,
he seemed more alert than he had been in all our interviews
and encounters. He looked me in the eyes as we spoke and
smoked one Newport after another. "I'm kinda
nervous," he admitted at one point. After a brush with
death and the barrage of rumor and innuendo that followed,
Tupac said he'd summoned me because "this is my last
interview. If I get killed, I want people to get every drop. I
want them to have the real story."
How do you
feel after everything you've been through these past few
Well, the first
two days in prison, I had to go through what life is like when
you've been smoking weed for as long as I have and then you
stop. Emotionally, it was like I didn't know myself. I was
sitting in a room, like there was two people in the room, evil
and good. That was the hardest part. After that, the weed was
out of me. Then every day I started doing, like, a thousand
push-ups for myself. I was reading whole books in one day, and
writing, and that was putting me in a peace of mind. Then I
started seeing my situation and what got me here. Even though
I'm innocent of the charge they gave me, I'm not innocent in
terms of the way I was acting.
tell me specifically what you mean?
I'm just as
guilty for not doing nothing as I am for doing things. Not
with this case, but just in my life. I had a job to do and I
never showed up. I was so scared of this responsibility that I
was running away from it. But I see now that whether I show up
for work or not, the evil forces are going to be at me.
They're going to come 100 percent, so if I don't be 100
percent pure-hearted, I'm going to lose. And that's why I'm
losing. When I got in here, all the prisoners was, like,
"Fuck that gangsta rapper." I'm not a gangsta
rapper. I rap about things that happen to me. I got shot five
times, you know what I'm saying? People was trying to kill me.
It was really real like that. I don't see myself being
special; I just see myself having more responsibilities than
the next man. People look to me to do things for them, to have
answers. I wasn't having them because my brain was half dead
from smoking so much weed. I'd be in my hotel room, smoking
too much, drinking, going to clubs, just being numb. That was
being in jail to me. I wasn't happy at all on the streets.
Nobody could say they saw me happy.
When I spoke
to you a year ago, you said that if you ended up in jail, your
spirit would die. You sound like you're saying the opposite
That was the
addict speaking. The addict knew if I went to jail, then it
couldn't live. The addict in Tupac is dead. The excuse maker
in Tupac is dead. The vengeful Tupac is dead. The Tupac that
would stand by and let dishonorable things happen is dead. God
let me live for me to do something extremely extraordinary,
and that's what I have to do. Even if they give me the maximum
sentence, that's still my job.
Can you take
us back to that night at Quad Recording Studios in Times
The night of
the shooting? Sure. Ron G. is a DJ out here in New York. He's,
like, "Pac, I want you to come to my house and lay this
rap down for my tapes." I said, "All right, I'll
come for free." So I went to his house-me, Stretch, and a
couple other homeboys. After I laid the song, I got a page
from this guy Booker, telling me he wanted me to rap on Little
Shawn's record. Now, this guy I was going to charge, because I
could see that they was just using me, so I said, "All
right, you give me seven G's and I'll do the song." He
said, "I've got the money. Come." I stopped off to
get some weed, and he paged me again. "Where you at? Why
you ain't coming?" I'm, like, "I'm coming, man, hold
Did you know
I met him
through some rough characters I knew. He was trying to get
legitimate and all that, so I thought I was doing him a favor.
But when I called him back for directions, he was, like,
"I don't have the money." I said, "If you don't
have the money, I'm not coming." He hung up the phone,
then called me back: "I'm going to call [Uptown
Entertainment CEO] Andre Harrell and make sure you get the
money, but I'm going to give you the money out of my
pocket." So I said, "All right, I'm on my way."
As we're walking up to the building, somebody screamed from up
the top of the studio. It was Little Caesar, Biggie's [the
Notorious B.I.G.] sideman. That's my homeboy. As soon as I saw
him, all my concerns about the situation were relaxed.
saying that going into it...
I felt nervous
because this guy knew somebody I had major beef with. I didn't
want to tell the police, but I can tell the world. Nigel had
introduced me to Booker. Everybody knew I was short on money.
All my shows were getting canceled. All my money from my
records was going to lawyers; all the movie money was going to
my family. So I was doing this type of stuff, rapping for guys
and getting paid.
I was kicking
it with him the whole time I was in New York doing Above the
Rim. He came to me. He said, "I'm going to look after
you. You don't need to get in no more trouble."
Nigel also go by the name of Trevor?
a real Trevor, but Nigel took on both aliases, you understand?
So that's who I was kicking with-I got close to them. I used
to dress in baggies and sneakers. They took me shopping;
that's when I bought my Rolex and all my jewels. They made me
mature. They introduced me to all these gangsters in Brooklyn.
I met Nigel's family, went to his kid's birthday party-I
trusted him, you know what I'm saying? I even tried to get
Nigel in the movie, but he didn't want to be on film. That
bothered me. I don't know any nigga that didn't want to be in
Can we come
back to the shooting? Who was with you that night?
I was with my
homeboy Stretch, his man Fred, and my sister's boyfriend, Zayd.
Not my bodyguard; I don't have a bodyguard. We get to the
studio, and there's a dude outside in army fatigues with his
hat low on his face. When we walked to the door, he didn't
look up. I've never seen a black man not acknowledge me one
way or the other, either with jealousy or respect. But this
guy just looked to see who I was and turned his face down. It
didn't click because I had just finished smoking chronic. I'm
not thinking something will happen to me in the lobby. While
we're waiting to get buzzed in, I saw a dude sitting at a
table reading a newspaper. He didn't look up either.
both black men?
Black men in
their thirties. So first I'm, like, These dudes must be
security for Biggie, because I could tell they were from
Brooklyn from their army fatigues. But then I said, Wait a
minute. Even Biggie's homeboys love me, why don't they look
up? I pressed the elevator button, turned around, and that's
when the dudes came out with the guns-two identical 9 mms.
"Don't nobody move. Everybody on the floor. You know what
time it is. Run your shit." I was, like, What should I
do? I'm thinking Stretch is going to fight; he was towering
over those niggas. From what I know about the criminal
element, if niggas come to rob you, they always hit the big
nigga first. But they didn't touch Stretch; they came straight
to me. Everybody dropped to the floor like potatoes, but I
just froze up. It wasn't like I was being brave or nothing; I
just could not get on the floor. They started grabbing at me
to see if I was strapped. They said, "Take off your
jewels," and I wouldn't take them off. The light-skinned
dude, the one that was standing outside, was on me. Stretch
was on the floor, and the dude with the newspaper was holding
the gun on him. He was telling the light-skin dude,
"Shoot that motherfucker! Fuck it!" Then I got
scared, because the dude had the gun to my stomach. All I
could think about was piss bags and shit bags. I drew my arm
around him to move the gun to my side. He shot and the gun
twisted and that's when I got hit the first time. I felt it in
my leg; I didn't know I got shot in my balls. I dropped to the
floor. Everything in my mind said, Pac, pretend you're dead.
It didn't matter. They started kicking me, hitting me. I never
said, "Don't shoot!" I was quiet as hell. They were
snatching my shit off me while I was laying on the floor. I
had my eyes closed, but I was shaking, because the situation
had me shaking. And then I felt something on the back of my
head, something real strong. I thought they stomped me or
pistol-whipped me and they were stomping my head against the
concrete. I saw white, just white. I didn't hear nothing, I
didn't feel nothing, and I said, I'm unconscious. But I was
conscious. And then I felt it again, and I could hear things
now and I could see things and they were bringing me back to
consciousness. Then they did it again, and I couldn't hear
nothing. And I couldn't see nothing; it was just all white.
And then they hit me again, and I could hear things and I
could see things and I knew I was conscious again.
Did you ever
hear them say their names?
No. No. But
they knew me, or else they would never check for my gun. It
was like they were mad at me. I felt them kicking me and
stomping me; they didn't hit nobody else. It was, like,
"Ooh, motherfucker, ooh, aah"-they were kicking
hard. So I'm going unconscious, and I'm not feeling no blood
on my head or nothing. The only thing I felt was my stomach
hurting real bad. My sister's boyfriend turned me over and
said, "Yo, are you all right?" I was, like,
"Yes, I'm hit, I'm hit." And Fred is saying he's
hit, but that was the bullet that went through my leg. So I
stood up and I went to the door and-the shit that fucked me
up-as soon as I got to the door, I saw a police car sitting
there. I was, like, "Uh-oh, the police are coming, and I
didn't even go upstairs yet." So we jumped in the
elevator and went upstairs. I'm limping and everything, but I
don't feel nothing. It's numb. When we got upstairs, I looked
around, and it scared the shit out of me.
Harrell was there, Puffy [Bad Boy Entertainment CEO Sean
"Puffy" Combs] was there, Biggie... there was about
40 niggas there. All of them had jewels on. More jewels than
me. I saw Booker, and he had this look on his face like he was
surprised to see me. Why? I had just beeped the buzzer and
said I was coming upstairs. Little Shawn bust out crying. I
went, Why is Little Shawn crying, and I got shot? He was
crying uncontrollably, like, "Oh my God, Pac, you've got
to sit down!" I was feeling weird, like, Why do they want
to make me sit down?
bullets had passed through your body.
I didn't know I
was shot in the head yet. I didn't feel nothing. I opened my
pants, and I could see the gunpowder and the hole in my Karl
Kani drawers. I didn't want to pull them down to see if my
dick was still there. I just saw a hole and went, "Oh
shit. Roll me some weed." I called my girlfriend and I
was, like, "Yo, I just got shot. Call my mother and tell
her." Nobody approached me. I noticed that nobody would
look at me. Andre Harrell wouldn't look at me. I had been
going to dinner with him the last few days. He had invited me
to the set of New York Undercover, telling me he was going to
get me a job. Puffy was standing back too. I knew Puffy. He
knew how much stuff I had done for Biggie before he came out.
did see blood on you?
telling me, "Your head! Your head is bleeding." But
I thought it was just a pistol-whip. Then the ambulance came,
and the police. First cop I looked up to see was the cop that
took the stand against me in the rape charge. He had a half
smile on his face, and he could see them looking at my balls.
He said, "What's up, Tupac? How's it hanging?"
When I got to
Bellevue Hospital, the doctor was going, "Oh my
God!" I was, like, "What? What?" And I was
hearing him tell other doctors, "Look at this. This is
gunpowder right here." He was talking about my head:
"This is the entry wound. This is the exit wound."
And when he did that, I could actually feel the holes. I said,
"Oh my God. I could feel that." It was the spots
that I was blacking out on. And that's when I said, "Oh
shit. They shot me in my head." They said, "You
don't know how lucky you are. You got shot five times."
It was, like, weird. I did not want to believe it. I could
only remember that first shot, then everything went blank.
At any point
did you think you were going to die?
No. I swear to
God. Not to sound creepy or nothing-I felt God cared for me
from the first time the niggas pulled the gun out. The only
thing that hurt me was that Stretch and them all fell to the
floor. The bullets didn't hurt. Nothing hurt until I was
recovering. I couldn't walk, I couldn't get up, and my hand
was fucked up. I was looking on the news and it was lying
about me. Tell me about some of the coverage that bothered
you. The No. 1 thing that bothered me was that dude that wrote
that shit that said I pretended to do it. That I had set it
up, it was an act. When I read that, I just started crying
like a baby, like a bitch. I could not believe it. It just
tore me apart. And then the news was trying to say I had a gun
and I had weed on me. Instead of saying I was a victim, they
were making it like I did it.
all the jokes saying you had lost one of your testicles?
really bother me, because I was, like, Shit, I'm going to get
the last laugh. Because I've got bigger nuts than all these
niggas. My doctors are, like, "You can have babies."
They told me that the first night, after I got exploratory
surgery: "Nothing's wrong. It went through the skin and
out the skin." Same thing with my head. Through my skin
and out the skin.
Have you had
a lot of pain since then?
Yes, I have
headaches. I wake up screaming. I've been having nightmares,
thinking they're still shooting me. All I see is niggas
pulling guns, and I hear the dude saying, "Shoot that
motherfucker!" Then I'll wake up sweaty as hell and I'll
be, like, Damn, I have a headache. The psychiatrist at
Bellevue said that's post-traumatic stress.
Why did you
leave Bellevue Hospital?
I left Bellevue
the next night. They were helping me, but I felt like a
science project. They kept coming in, looking at my dick and
shit, and this was not a cool position to be in. I knew my
life was in danger. The Fruit of Islam was there, but they
didn't have guns. I knew what type of niggas I was dealing
with. So I left Bellevue and went to Metropolitan. They gave
me a phone and said, "You're safe here. Nobody knows
you're here." But the phone would ring and someone would
say, "You ain't dead yet?" I was, like, Damn! Those
motherfuckers don't have no mercy. So I checked myself out,
and my family took me to a safe spot, somebody who really
cared about me in New York City.
Why did you
go to court the morning after you were shot?
They came to
the bed and said, "Pac, you don't need to go to
court." I was, like, no. I felt like if the jury didn't
see me, they would think I'm doing a show or some shit.
Because they were sequestered and didn't know I got shot. So I
knew I had to show up no matter what. I swear to God, the
farthest thing from my mind was sympathy. All I could think of
was, Stand up and fight for your life like you fight for your
life in this hospital. I sat there in a wheelchair, and the
judge was not looking me in my eyes. He never looked me in my
eyes the whole trial. So the jury came in, and the way
everybody was acting, it was like a regular everyday thing.
And I was feeling so miracle-ish that I'm living. And then I
start feeling they're going to do what they're going to do.
Then I felt numb; I said, I've got to get out of here. When I
left, the cameras were all rushing me and bumping into my leg
and shit. I was, like, "You motherfuckers are like
vultures." That made me see just the nastiest in the
hearts of men. That's why I was looking like that in the chair
when they were wheeling me away. I was trying to promise
myself to keep my head up for all my people there. But when I
saw all that, it made me put my head down; it just took my
Can we talk
about the rape case at all?
Okay. Nigel and
Trevor took me to Nell's. When we got there, I was immediately
impressed, because it was different than any club I'd been in.
It wasn't crowded, there was lots of space, there were
beautiful women there. I was meeting Ronnie Lott from the New
York Jets and Derrick Coleman from the Nets. They were coming
up to me, like, "Pac, we're proud of you." I felt so
tall that night, because they were people's heroes and they
saying I was their hero. I felt above and beyond, like I was
glowing. Somebody introduced me to this girl. And the only
thing I noticed about her: She had a big chest. But she was
not attractive; she looked dumpy, like. Money came to me and
said, "This girl wants to do more than meet you." I
already knew what that meant: She wanted to fuck. I just left
them and went to the dance floor by myself. They were playing
some Jamaican music, and I'm just grooving. Then this girl
came out and started dancing-and the shit that was weird, she
didn't even come to me face-first, she came ass-first. So I'm
dancing to this reggae music; you know how sensuous that is.
She's touching my dick, she's touching my balls, she opened my
zipper, she put her hands on me. There's a little dark part in
Nell's, and I see people over there making out already, so she
starts pushing me this way. I know what time it is.
We go over in
the corner. She's touching me. I lift up my shirt while I'm
dancing, showing off my tattoos and everything. She starts
kissing my stomach, kissing my chest, licking me and shit.
She's going down, and I'm, like, Oh shit. She pulled my dick
out; she started sucking my dick on the dance floor. That shit
turned me on. I wasn't thinking, like, This is going to be a
rape case. I'm thinking, like, This is going to be a good
night. You know what I'm saying? Soon as she finished
that-just enough to get me solid, rock-hard-we got off the
dance floor. I told Nigel, "I've got to get out of here.
I'm about to take her to the hotel. I'll see you all
later." Nigel was, like, "No, no, no. I'm going to
take you back." We drive to the hotel. We go upstairs and
have sex, real quick. As soon as I came, that was it. I was
tired, I was drunk, I knew I had to get up early in the
morning, so I was, like, "What are you going to do? You
can spend the night or you can leave." She left me her
number, and everything was cool. Nigel was spending the night
in my room all these nights. When he found out she sucked my
dick on the floor and we had sex, he and Trevor were livid!
Trevor is a big
freak; he was going crazy. All he kept asking me was,
"D-d-did you fuck in the ass?" He was listening to
every single detail. I thought, This is just some guy shit,
it's all good.
happened on the night of the alleged rape?
We had a show
to do in New Jersey at Club 88. This dude said, "I'll be
there with a limo to pick you up at midnight." We went
shopping, we got dressed up, we were all ready. Nigel was
saying, "Why don't you give her a call?" So we were
all sitting in the hotel, drinking. I'm waiting for the show,
and Nigel's, like, "I called her. I mean, she called me,
and she's on her way." But I wasn't thinking about her no
second time. We were watching TV when the phone rings, and
she's downstairs. Nigel gave Man-man, my manager, some money
to pay for the cab, and I was, like, "Let that bitch pay
for her own cab." She came upstairs looking all nice,
dressed all provocative and shit, like she was ready for a
prom date. So we're all sitting there talking, and she's
making me uncomfortable, because instead of sitting with Nigel
and them, she's sitting on the arm of my chair. And Nigel and
Trevor are looking at her like a chicken, like she's, like,
food. It's a real uncomfortable situation. So I'm thinking,
Okay, I'm going to take her to the room and get a massage. I'm
thinking about being with her that night at Nell's. So we get
in the room, I'm laying on my stomach, she's massaging my
back. I turn around. She starts massaging my front. This
lasted for about a half an hour. In between, we would stop and
kiss each other. I'm thinking she's about to give me another
blow job. But before she could do that, some niggas came in,
and I froze up more than she froze up. If she would have said
anything, I would have said, "Hold on, let me
finish." But I can't say nothing, because she's not
saying nothing. How do I look saying, "Hold on"?
That would be like I'm making her my girl. So they came and
they started touching her ass. They going, "Oooh, she's
got a nice ass." Nigel isn't touching her, but I can hear
his voice leading it, like, "Put her panties down, put
her pantyhose down." I just got up and walked out the
room. When I went to the other suite, Man-man told me that
Talibah, my publicist at the time, had been there for a while
and was waiting in the bedroom of that suite. I went to see
Talibah and we talked about what she had been doing during the
day, then I went and laid down on the couch and went to sleep.
When I woke up, Nigel was standing over me going, "Pac,
Pac," and all the lights was on in both rooms. The whole
mood had changed, you know what I'm saying? I felt like I was
drugged. I didn't know how much time had passed. So when I
woke up, it was, like, "You're going to the police,
you're going to the police." Nigel walks out the room,
comes back with the girl. Her clothes is on; ain't nothing
tore. She just upset, crying hysterically. "Why you let
them do this to me?" She's not making sense. "I came
to see you. You let them do this to me." I'm, like,
"I don't got time for this shit right here. You got to
chill out with that shit.
Stop yelling at
me and looking at me all crazy." She said, "This not
the last time you're going to hear from me," and slammed
the door. And Nigel goes, "Don't worry about it, Pac,
don't worry. I'll handle it. She just tripping." I asked
him what happened, and he was, like, "Too many niggas."
You know, I ain't even tripping no more, you know? Niggas
start going downstairs, but nobody was coming back upstairs.
I'm sitting upstairs smoking weed, like, Where the fuck is
everybody at? Then I get a call from Talibah from the lobby
saying, "The police is down here."
what landed you in jail. But you're saying that you never did
nothing. Only thing I saw was all three of them in there and
that nigga talking about how fat her ass was. I got up,
because the nigga sounded sick. I don't know if she's with
these niggas, or if she's mad at me for not protecting her.
But I know I feel ashamed-because I wanted to be accepted and
because I didn't want no harm done to me-I didn't say nothing.
How did you
feel about women during the trial, and how do you feel about
When the charge
first came up, I hated black women. I felt like I put my life
on the line. At the time I made "Keep Ya Head Up,"
nobody had no songs about black women. I put out "Keep Ya
Head Up" from the bottom of my heart. It was real, and
they didn't defend it. I felt like it should have been women
all over the country talking about, "Tupac couldn't have
did that." And people was actually asking me, "Did
you do it?" Then, going to trial, I started seeing the
black women that was helping me. Now I've got a brand-new
vision of them, because in here, it's mostly black female
guards. They don't give me no extra favors, but they treat me
with human respect. They're telling me, "When you get out
of here, you gotta change." They be putting me on the
phone with they kids. You know what I'm saying? They just give
to happen if you have to serve time?
If it happens,
I got to serve it like a trooper. Of course, my heart will be
broke. I be torn apart, but I have to serve it like a trooper.
you recently completed a new album.
don't even got the thrill to rap no more. I mean, in here I
don't even remember my lyrics.
putting out the album, right?
called Me Against the World. So that is my truth. That's my
best album yet. And because I already laid it down, I can be
free. When you do rap albums, you got to train yourself. You
got to constantly be in character. You used to see rappers
talking all that hard shit, and then you see them in suits and
shit at the American Music Awards. I didn't want to be that
type of nigga. I wanted to keep it real, and that's what I
thought I was doing. But now that shit is dead. That Thug Life
shit...;I did it, I put in my work, I laid it down. But now
that shit is dead.
your plans after prison?
I'm going to
team up with Mike Tyson when we get out. Team up with Monster
Kody [now known as Sanyika Shakur] from California. I'm going
to start an organization called Us First. I'm going to save
these young niggas, because nobody else want to save them.
Nobody ever came to save me. They just watch what happen to
you. That's why Thug Life to me is dead. If it's real, then
let somebody else represent it, because I'm tired of it. I
represented it too much. I was Thug Life. I was the only nigga
out there putting my life on the line.
else been there for you?
Since I've been
in here I got about 40 letters. I got little girls sending me
money. Everybody telling me that God is with me. People
telling me they hate the dudes that shot me, they're going to
pray for me. I did get one letter, this dude telling me he
wished I was dead. But then I got people looking out for me,
like Jada Pinkett, Jasmine Guy, Treach, Mickey Rourke. My
label, Interscope Records, has been extremely supportive. Even
Can you talk
about your relationship with Madonna and Mickey Rourke?
I was letting
people dictate who should be my friends. I felt like because I
was this big Black Panther type of nigga, I couldn't be
friends with Madonna. And so I dissed her, even though she
showed me nothing but love. I felt bad, because when I went to
jail, I called her and she was the only person that was
willing to help me. Of that stature. Same thing with Mickey
Rourke-he just befriended me. Not like black and white, just
like friend to friend. And from now on, it's not going to be a
strictly black thing with me. I even apologized to Quincy
Jones for all the stuff I said about him and his wives. I'm
apologizing to the Hughes Brothers...but not John Singleton.
He's inspiring me to write screenplays, because I want to be
his competition. He fired me from Higher Learning and gave my
idea to the next actor.
Do you worry
about your safety now?
I don't have no
fear of death. My only fear is coming back reincarnated. I'm
not trying to make people think I'm in here faking it, but my
whole life is going to be about saving somebody. I got to
represent life. If you saying you going to be real, that's how
you be real-be physically fit, be mentally fit. And I want
niggas to be educated. You know, I was steering people away
from school. You gotta be in school, because through school
you can get a job. And if you got a job, then that's how they
can't do us like this.
Do you think
rap music is going to come under more attack, given what's
happened to you?
That's why they're doing me like this. Because if they can
stop me, they can stop 30 more rappers before they even born.
But there's something else I understand now: If we really are
saying rap is an art form, then we got to be true to it and be
more responsible for our lyrics. If you see everybody dying
because of what you saying, it don't matter that you didn't
make them die, it just matters that you didn't save them.
mentioned Marvin Gaye in "Keep Ya Head Up." A lot of
people have compared you to him, in terms of your personal
That's how I
feel. I feel close to Marvin Gaye, Vincent van Gogh.
Why van Gogh?
appreciated his work until he was dead. Now it's worth
millions. I feel close to him, how tormented he was. Him and
Marvin too. That's how I was out there. I'm in jail now, but
I'm free. My mind is free. The only time I have problems is
when I sleep.
you're grateful to be where you are now?
gift-straight-up. This is God's will. And everybody that said
I wasn't nothing...my whole goal is to just make them ashamed
that they wrote me off like that. Because I'm 23 years old.
And I might just be my mother's child, but in all reality, I'm
everybody's child. You know what I'm saying? Nobody raised me;
I was raised in this society. But I'm not going to use that as
an excuse no more. I'm going to pull myself up by my
bootstraps, and I'm going to make a change. And my change is
going to make a change through the community. And through
that, they gonna see what type of person I truly was. Where my
heart was. This Thug Life stuff, it was just ignorance. My
intentions was always in the right place. I never killed
anybody, I never raped anybody, I never committed no crimes
that weren't honorable-that weren't to defend myself. So
that's what I'm going to show them. I'm going to show people
my true intentions, and my true heart. I'm going to show them
the man that my mother raised. I'm going to make them all
Questions have constantly
been raised to whether or not Tupac Shakur has matured after his
incarceration several months ago. VIBEonline conducted an exclusive
interview with Tupac, to find what really is making him tick, and what
exactly has him ticked off. Take part in this series of interviews, this
week catch Part 1 of "Inside the Mind of Shakur"
What motivates you?
Poverty, needs, wants, pain. No I'm
dealing with a more military type of philosophy-to mix the street life
with respected, known and proven military philosophy. So when I'm rapping
and talking that hardcore shit, at least it'll be from a military mindset.
What about your father, do you have
any relationship with him?
I thought my father was dead all my life.
After I got shot, I looked up there was this nigga that looked just like
me. And he was my father; that's when I found out. We still didn't take no
blood test but the nigga looked just like me and the other nigga's dead so
now I feel that I'm past the father stage. I do want to know him and I do
know him we did talk and he did visit and help me when I was locked down,
but I'm past that. What I want to do is form a society in which we can
raise ourselves; so we can become our own father figures and the big
homies can become their father figures and then you grow up then it's your
turn to be a father figure to another young brother. That's where I want
to start. Nine times out of ten though we would want them to be there,
they can't be depended on to be there. Now, some of the mothers can't be
there because they doing their thing[working] I can't blame them, they
gotta do what they gotta do. So I think the youth should raise themselves
since they got lofty ideas about what's theirs and their rights, what they
should deserve. Since you can't whup their asses, these muthafuckers
should get out and work at fifteen. I want to be apart of the generation
that builds the groundwork for us to raise each other.
In the VIBE article, you mentioned an
organization that you were starting with Mike Tyson. What happened with
Now I'm doing it with Death Row. I was
going to do it myself and I found out when I was about to be sentenced to
jail that there was a spot called "A Place Called Home" I was
about to be sent to jail for an old gun case that I had. The judge was
like "You can tell your side of who you are and the prosecutor gave
this big-fat envelope of everytime I got arrested and all this stuff that
made me look like a crazed animal. We got someone who didn't work for us
to write my life's story talking about everybody in my family and the
people that I helped. This lady from the community center wrote as well.
We were planning already to do this big concert with me and my homeboys to
raise money to have a center in North Central were we can have the
"at risk" kids come to a spot that they can call home-where they
can get guidance, tutoring, love, nurturing; we're going to do a spot like
that. So instead of it just being a program with me and Tyson like I
planned it, cause it's me sitting in the penitentiary thinking, is now
moved into this program called "A Place Called Home." that I'm
working closely with. There's also a program called "Celebrity Youth
League" with me, Hammer, Suge and all of these sports figures are
each going to sponsor a youth group all year in football, baseball and
basketball. We sponsor the team, buy the uniforms, hire the coach and
start out own little league.
How do you relax from all this that
There's three ways: shopping, driving
down Sunset with the top down on any car and being with my homeboys. Not
necessarily the older homies but the younger one's. Vibing off of what
they're talking about and what's going on, and dropping whatever I have to
drop to them. Then It's not like I'm doing this shit in vain.
Do you keep in touch with old
On a whole, I don't have any friends.
Friends come and go; I've lost my trust factor. I believe I have people
who think they're my friends. And believe that there are people probably
in their heart are friendly towards me or are friends to me. But they're
not my friends because what I learned is that fear is stronger than love.
So soon as somebody scarier comes along, they won't be my friend anymore.
I learned that on the floor at Times Square--so I don't have friends, I
have family. You're either my all the way family or just somebody on the
Are you tight with your family?
Yeah, we took it back to the old school.
We got the head of the family, we listen to the rules and regulations,
order and organization. Now we're a living breathing family when before we
were a dying-dysfunctional family. We still got problems but know we're
learning how to deal with it.
What religion are you?
I'm the religion that to me is the
realist religion there is. I try to pray to God every night unless I pass
out. I learned this in jail, I talked to every God (member of the Five
Percent Nation) there was in jail. I think that if you take one of the
"O's" out of "Good" it's "God", if you add a
"D" to "Evil", it's the "Devil". I think
some cool motherfucker sat down a long time ago and said let's figure out
a way to control motherfuckers. That's what they came up with-the bible.
Cause if God wrote the bible, I'm sure there would have been a revised
copy by now. Cause a lot of shit has changed. I've been looking for this
revised copy-I still see that same old copy that we had from then. I'm not
disrespecting anyone's religion, please forgive me if it comes off that
way, I'm just stating my opinion. The bible tells us that all these did
this because they suffered so much that's what makes them special people.
I got shot five times and I got crucified to the media. And I walked
through with the thorns on and I had shit thrown on me and I had the theif
at the top; I told that nigga "I'll be back for you. Trust me, is not
supposed to be going down, I'll be back. I'm not saying I'm Jesus but I'm
saying we go through that type of thing everyday. We don't part the Red
Sea but we walk through the hood without getting shot. We don't turn water
to wine but we turn dope fiends and dope heads into productive citizens of
society. We turn words into money. What greater gift can there be. So I
belive God blesses us, I belive God blesses those that hustle. Those that
use their minds and those that overall are righteous. I belive that
everything you do bad comes back to you. So everything that I do that's
bad, I'm going to suffer for it. But in my heart, I belive what I'm doing
in my heart is right. So I feel like I'm going to heaven. I think heaven
is just when you sleep, you sleep with a good conscience-you don't have
nightmares. Hell is when you sleep, the last thing you see is all the
fucked up things you did in your life and you just see it over and over
again, cause you don't burn. If that's the case, it's hell on earth cause
bullets burn. There's people that got burned in fires, does that mean they
went to hell already? All that is here. What do you got there that we
ain't seen here? What, we're gonna walk around aimlessly like zombies?
That's here! You ain't been on the streets lately? Heaven now, look! (reffering
to his plush apartment) we're sitting up here in the living room-big
screen TV- this is heaven, for the moment. Hell is jail I seen that one.
Trust me, this is what's real. And all that other shit is to control you.
If the churches took half the money that they was making and gave it back
to the community, we'd be alright. If they took half the buildings that
they use to "praise God" and gave it to motherfuckers who need
God, we'd be alright. Have you seen some of these got damn churches
lately? There's one's that take up the whole block in New York. There's
homeless people out here. Why ain't God lettin' them stay there? Why these
niggas got gold ceilings and shit? Why God need gold ceilings to talk to
me? Why does God need colored windows to talk to me? Why God can't come
where I'm at where he sent me? If God wanted to talk to me in a pretty
spot like that, why the hell he send me here then. That makes ghetto kids
not belive in God. Why? So that's wrong religion-I belive in God, I belive
God puts us where ever we want to be at. They didn't make sense that God
would put us in the ghetto. That means he wants us to work hard to get up
out of here. That means he's testing us even more. That makes sense that
if you're good in your heart, you're closer to God but if you're evil than
your closer to the devil; that makes sense! I see that everyday all that
other spooky shit, don't make sense. I don't even belive, I'm not dissin'
them but I don't belive in the brothers, I've been in jail with 'em and
having conversations with brothers; "I'm God, I'm God." You God,
open the gate for me. You know far the sun is and how far the moon is, how
the hell do I pop this fuckin' gate? And get me free and up outta here.
Then I'll be a Five Percenter for life.
What type of woman would it take to
settle you down?
A very, very strong woman. One who's more
in love with me because I could be more in love with her than she is.
Everytime I fall in love with a woman I don't fall in love with the woman
she is, I fall in love with the woman she could be. I haven't found a
woman yet, that has met up to my standards. And I'm sure I don't fit up to
everyone's standards. But I haven't found one yet, but I found one that I
think has the potential to be the rawest woman in the world. I feel like
it's natural for a man especially being black to feel like he's the king
and he's looking for his queen. That's where I'm at right now. You can't
be a king until you've made yourself; Until you've done something. And
I've accomplished my goals that made me a man. Now I feel like I'm a man,
now I set out goals to make me a king. Not a king of anyone else but me.
Nobody else is under my rule but me. I made my self into a king, now I
need a queen to be happy so I can be a teacher and a father, I can't be
that until I find a queen-So I'm stuck in limbo.
A lot of your east coast fans feel
like your new alleigance to the west coast is a disloyalty to the east.
That's so much nonsense, Poppycock!
(laughs) It's not a new allegiance to the west coast, I've been on the
west coast all this time. Some people, not all, some people on the east
coast are on their dicks so hard, they never heard me say that I'm living
on the west coast. It's just by me keeping it real, I always said where I
come from. I always gave New York their props. On Me Against The World, I
took a whole song to give it up. So now on teh next alvum, whin I wanna
give it up, for my home, where I'm at, everybody got a problem. Why don't
they have a problem with Biggie saying Brooklyn in th e house every
fucking show he do. They just did a Sprite commercial with the
"Bridge" and KRS, why isn't it hip-hop when I do it? Everybody
else can have a beef within the music, talk about differences and it's ok.
It's music, it's hip-hop, it's groundbreaking. When I do it, it's war.
That's all I'm doin g. All I'm doing is saying that I'm tired of you
talking about where you're from; If that's what we're gonna do now. We was
doing it like hip-hop was one nation. I have proof to say what I was
doing-I've done more for the east coast than the east coast did. I put
more guns in east coast niggas hands than east coast niggas did when they
came out here. I put them niggas on to more weed gates and weed spots and
safe havens and safe spots than the east coast did. I put more rappers on
than they did. I gave Biggie his first shows! I was that bridge that
niggas used to walk on to get over here. I explained it, I the one that
told you. I'm why all these niggas are running around with a gangbanger on
their payroll now.
Is there still a beef going on with
you and Biggie?
There was never a beef, only a difference
of opinion. My homeboy Suge gave me the best advice that I could ever get
from anybody. When people ask him if he's beefing with Bad Boy and with
Puffy, he's says it' s like me going to the playground to pick on little
kids. That's like me being mad at my little brother cause he's getting
cash now. I'm not mad at that, I'm just mad at my little brother when he
don't respect me. And when you don't respect me, I'm a spank that ass. I
don't give a fuck how rich you got on the block I'm your big brother. I'm
a break your big ass down. That's my only point. I feel as though he
wrong, he got out of hand. He got seduced by the power-not because he's an
evil person, but because money is evil; if it's not handled right. If you
lose your composure you could do anything. Fear got stronger than love and
niggas did things that they weren't really supposed to do. They know in
their hearts, that's why their in hell now. They can't sleep. That's why
they're telling all the reporters and all the people "Why they doing
this? They fucking up hip-hop, blah, blah, blah" cause they in hell.
They can't make money, they can't go anywhere, they can't look at
themselves cause they know the prodigal son has returned. I'm alive; the
ghost is walking around. And I'm around talking, in jail I didn't talk.
Now, everybody who thinks that I disrespected, I love my east coast fans.
I'm from there. I'm eating New York Pizza, I drive New York jeeps but I'm
saying let's keep it real for a second. If you're half the lover of music
that you are, go back and study. Study how Party And Bullshit was me
before I met Biggie. You don't hear my style in his raps. Study how after
I met Biggie, Ready To Die comes out and his whole style changes study.
Study why I would be mad when half of the major New York rappers or their
managers, or their agents or their somebody was there when I got shot-and
nobody couldn't give me no information. Just study that. Study how when
Wu-Tang got their chain snatched at six-six-duece, I not only found who
did it but gave them the message that if they wanted to see the niggas
that did it, they could see them. Man to Man, just you and them-no guns,
no nothing if you feel like that. That's all I ask for. If you're going to
act like a gangster or a "G" or a king of New York, I'm a expect
that. And when you don't come through, then I'm going to want to crush
your empire. And that's what it's time for.
| KMEL Beat Report
Davey D :
Give a little bit of background on yourself. What got you into
2Pac: I'm from
the Bronx, NY. I moved to Baltimore where I spent some high
school years and then I came to Oaktown. As for hip hop-all my
travels through these cities seemed to be the common
You lived In
Marin City for a little while. How was your connection with hip
hop able to be maintained while living there? Was there a
thriving hip hop scene in Marin City?
really..You were just given truth to the music. Being in Marin
City was like a small town so it taught me to be more straight
foward with my style. Instead of of being so metaphorical with
the rhyme, I was encouraged to go straight at it and hit it dead
on and not waste time trying to cover things...In Marin City it
seemed like things were real country. Everything was straight
forward. Poverty was straight forward. There was no way to say
I'm poor, but to say 'I'm poor'...
How did you
hook up with Digital Underground?
2Pac: I caught
the 'D-Flow Shuttle' while I was in Marin City. I'm referring to
the album 'Sons Of The P' It was the way out of here. It was the
way to escape out of the ghetto. It was the way to success. I
haven't gotten off since... Basically I bumped into this kid
named Greg Jacobs aka Shock G and he hooked me up with Digital
concept behind your album 2Pacalypse Now'?
concept is the young Black male. Everybody's been talkin' about
it but now it's not important. It's like we just skipped over
it.. It's no longer a fad to be down for the young Black male.
Everybody wants to go past. Like the gangster stuff, it just got
exploited. This was just like back in the days with the movies.
Everybody did their little gunshots and their hand grenades and
blew up stuff and moved on. Now everybody's doing rap songs with
the singing in it.. I'm still down for the young Black male. I'm
gonna stay until things get better. So it's all about addressing
the problems that we face in everyday society.
brutality, poverty, unemployment, insufficient education,
disunity and violence, black on black crime, teenage pregnancy,
crack addiction. Do you want me to go on?
How do you
address these problems? Are you pointing them out or are you
2Pac: I do
both. In some situations I show us having the power and in some
situations I show how it's more apt to happen with the police or
power structure having the ultimate power. I show both ways. I
show how it really happens and I show how I wish it would
You refer to
yourself as the 'Rebel of the Underground' Why so?
2Pac: Cause, if
Digital Underground wasn't diverse enough with enough crazy
things in it, I'm even that crazier. I'm the rebel totally going
against the grain...I always want to do the extreme. I want to
get as many people looking as possible. For example I would've
never done the song 'Kiss U Back' that way.
about your recent encounter with police brutality at the hands
of the Oakland PD?
everyone who doesn't know, I... an innocent young black male was
walking down the streets of Oakland minding my own business and
the police department saw fit for me to be trained or snapped
back into my place. So they asked for my I-D and sweated me
about my name because my name is Tupac. My final words to them
was 'f--- y'all' . Next thing I know I was in a choke hold
passing out with cuffs on headed for jail for resisting arrest.
We're currently letting the law do its job by taking it through
the court system. We had to file a claim. We're in the midst of
having a ten million dollar law suit against OPD. If I win and
get the money then the Oakland Police department is going to buy
a boys home, me a house, my family a house and a 'Stop Police
about the movie 'Juice'. How did you get involved?
2Pac: Money B
had an audition for the movie. Sleuth [road manager] suggested I
also come along. I went in cold turkey, read, God was with
me...The movie is about 4 kids and their coming of age.It's not
a hip hop movie. It's a real good movie that happens to have hip
hop in it. If it was made in the 60s it would've depicted
whatever was 'down' in the 60s...My character is Roland Bishop,
a psychotic, insecure very violent, very short tempered
message you hope is gotten out of the movie?
2Pac: You never
know what's going on in somebody's mind. There are a lot of
things that add up. There's a lot of pressure on someone growing
up. You have to watch it if it goes unchecked. This movie was an
example of what can happen...In the movie my character's, father
was a prison whore and that was something that drove him through
the whole movie [this aspect was deleted]. It just wrecked his
mind. You can see through everybody else's personality, Bishop
just wanted to get respect. He wanted the respect that his
father didn't get. Everthing he did, he did just to get a rep.
So from those problems never being dealt with led to him ending
four people's lives.
intend on continuing making movies?
depends on whether or not there are any good parts. I want to
What is your
philosophy on hip hop? I've heard you say you don't to see it
2Pac: Well when
I said that, it made me think. It brought me to myself. Now I
have a different philosophy. Hip Hop when it started it was
supposed to be this new thing that had no boundaries and was so
different to everyday music. Now it seems like I was starting to
get caught up in the mode of what made hip hop come about. As
long as the music has the true to the heart soul it can be hip
hop. As long it has soul to it, hip hop can live on.
your plans for the next year?
strengthen the Underground Railroad. I have a group and a
program called the Underground Railroad...The concept behind
this is the same concept behind Harriet Tubman, to get my
brothers who might be into drug dealing or whatever it is thats
illegal or who are disenfranchised by today's society-I want to
get them back into by turning them onto music. It could be
R&B, hip hop or pop, as long as I can get them involved.
While I'm doing that, I'm teaching them to find a love for
themselves so they cxan love others and do the same thing we did
for them to others. Right now we're twenty strong. The group is
going to be one that constanly evolves. The people that are in
the UR are coming from all over, Baltimore, Marin City, Oakland,
New York, Richmond-all over.
anything else we should know about Tupac?
2Pac: Yeah, the
group Nothing Gold is coming. My kids are coming out with a
serious message...NG is a group coming out that I produce.. All
the stuff I say in my rhymes I say because of how I grew up. So
to handle that, instead of going to a pyschiatrist, I got a kids
group that deals with the problems a younger generation is going
through. They put them into rhymes so its like a pyschology
session set to music. It'll make you come to grips with what you
actually do.. If you're a black man, you're going to really trip
out cause they really call you out and have you deal with
them...NG will make us have responsibilty again. Kids are
telling you to have responsibilty...