Then I was in
Los Angeles interviewing the Death Row posse, I was told Tupac
Shakur wasn't available to talk. But after Randy
"Stretch" Walker was killed, I felt the need to contact
Shakur. What I thought would be a five-minute conversation lasted
well over an hour. "Lemme get my cigarettes," Shakur
said as he got comfortable. He was, as usual, very candid.
Did you move to Death Row for some sort of protection?
Hell, no. There's nobody in the business strong enough to
scare me. I'm with Death Row 'cause they not scared either.
When I was in jail, Suge was the only one who used to see me.
Nigga used to fly a private plane, all the way to New York, and
spend time with me. He got his lawyer to look into all my cases.
Suge supported me, whatever I needed. When I got out of jail, he
had a private plane for me, a limo, five police officers for
security. I said, "I need a house for my moms"; I got a
house for my moms.
I promised him, "Suge, I'm gonna make Death Row the
biggest label in the whole world. I'm gonna make it bigger than
Snoop even made it." Not stepping on Snoop's toes; he did a
lot of work. Him, Dogg Pound, Nate Dogg, Dre, all of them-they
made Death Row what it is today. I'm gonna take it to the next
Is it true your marriage was annulled?
Yeah. I moved too fast. I can only be committed to my work or
my wife. I didn't want to hurt her; she's a good person. So we
just took it back to where we were before.
I wanna put a rumor to rest. Did something happen to you in
Kill that rumor. That got started either by some guards or by
some jealous niggas. I don't have to talk about whether or not I
got raped in jail. If I wouldn't lay down on the floor for two
niggas with pistols, what the fuck make you think I would bend
over for a nigga without weapons? That don't even fit my
Do you or Death Row have any beef with Puffy or Biggie?
[Laughs] I don't got no beef with nobody, man. I let the music
speak for itself. If you know, you know; if you don't, you don't.
Ain't no mystery-niggas know what time it is.
So is this an East Coast/West Coast thing?
It's not like I got a beef with New York or nothing, but I do
have problems. And I'm representing the West Side now. There's
people disrespecting the West Coast-"It's only gangsta shit,
it ain't creative enough, it's fucking up the art form"-even
though we made more money for this art form than all those other
motherfuckers. The artists now who selling records stole our
style. Listen to 'em-Biggie is a Brooklyn nigga's dream of being
You used the word jealousy-
Let's be real. Be real, Kev. Doesn't Biggie sound like
me? Is that my style coming out of his mouth? Just New
York-tized. That big player shit. He's not no player-I'm
What about all the kids who look up to you and Biggie who
don't understand all this?
Regardless of all this stuff-no matter what he say, what I
say-Biggie's still my brother. He's black. He's my brother. We
just have a conflict of interest. We have a difference of
How can we stop this disagreement before someone gets
I don't want it to be about violence. I want it to be about
money. I told Suge my idea: Bad Boy make a record with all the
East Coast niggas. Death Row make a record with all the West
Coast niggas. We drop the records on the same day. Whoever sell
the most records, that's who the bombest. And then we stop
battling. We could do pay-per-views for charity, for the
What about Death Row and Bad Boy doing something together?
That's as together as we can get. For money. What about
getting together as black men? We are together as black men-they
over there, we over here. If we really gonna live in peace, we
all can't be in the same room. Yellow M&M's don't move with
green M&M's. I mean, you don't put M&M's peanuts with
M&M's plain. You hear me?
What about this hostility that people are feeding into? Can
you and Suge and Puffy and Biggie sit down-
But that's corny. That's just for everybody else-they just
wanna hear what the conversation is about. I know my life's not
in danger. They shouldn't feel like they gotta worry about me.
Puffy wrote me while I was in jail. I wrote him back that I don't
got no problems with him. I don't want it to be fighting, I just
wanna make my money. You can't tell me I've gotta sit down and
hug and kiss niggas to make everybody else feel good. If there
was beef, niggas would know.
Your new album is called All Eyes on Me. Can you
describe it in a phrase?
Relentless. It's like, so-uncensored. I do not suggest that
children buy this album. There's a lot of cursing. There's a lot
of raw game that needs to be discussed in a family moment before
you let them listen.
What would you suggest parents tell their kids to prepare
them for it?
Explain to them that because I'm talking about it doesn't mean
that it's okay. This comes from someone who just spent 11 and a
half months in a maximum-security jail, got shot five times, and
was wrongly convicted of a crime he didn't commit. This is not
from a normal person.
Do you feel that you're a leader?
I think so. I think I'm a natural-born leader because I'm a
good soldier. I know how to bow down to authority if it's
authority that I respect. If Colin Powell was president, I'd
I wanna get into politics. That's the way for us to overcome a
lot of our obstacles. Nothing can stop power or recognize power
but power. If Bosnia disrespects America, they gonna go to war.
'Cause America wants its respect. And we sit down after they
recognize that they should respect America. Before we can
communicate, there has to be mutual respect. And we don't have
Where's Tupac gonna be in the year 2000?
I'll be much calmer than I am now.
Why aren't you calm right now?
You know-how would you feel if someone violated you? I was set
up. I would rather have been shot straight-up in cold blood-but
to be set up? By people who you trusted? That's bad.
Why do you think so many young black men around the country
identify with you?
'Cause we all soldiers, unfortunately. Everybody's at war with
different things. With ourselves. Some are at war with the
establishment. Some of us are at war with our own communities.
What are you at war with?
Different things at different times. My own heart sometimes.
There's two niggas inside me. One wants to live in peace, and the
other won't die unless he's free.
What about the Tupac who's the son of a Black Panther, and
Tupac the rapper?
Tupac the son of the Black Panther, and Tupac the rider. Those
are the two people inside of me. My mom and them envisioned this
world for us to live in, and strove to make that world. So I was
raised off those ideals, to want those.
But in my own life, I saw that that world was impossible to
have. It's a world in our head. It's a world we think about at
Christmas and Thanksgiving. I had to teach my mother how to live
in this world like it is today. She taught me how to live in that
world that we have to strive for. And for that I'm forever
grateful. She put heaven in my heart. K.P.