Have you gotten to a point yet where you've decided where you're gonna go, because you seem to have a career in two different worlds. I'm wondering how difficult it is to keep that going?
It's difficult, but I don't wanna quit, I don't wanna seperate either. I wanna keep 'em part of one talent which is to survive you know. So if I can do movies, if I can do television, whatever I can do, if I can be a plumber to advance myself to where I'm gonna go then that's what I'm gonna do that's what I'm gonna do, so that's all this movie was. And hopefully, the future will have a lot bigger and better things for me.
So why this particular movie? [Poetic Justice]
Because the previous movie I did was Juice. I played a killer, lunatic, killed my friends; which was good, I wanted people to have an image in their head of me as an actor. But now I wanna change that image to show that I'm not just an actor, that I'm also type cast you know, cause the papers was starting to look like the movies, so I had to like make sure that my image was right. So people know I'm an actor and I could do roles from either side of the spectrum.
So do you like this love story?
I read in places about how you liked working with Janet, so umm, I read in some places that you didn't really like it, so how was that working with Janet Jackson?
No I enjoyed working with Janet. What it is is that, Janet is good to work with, just her personally, but everybody around her make itso much harder to work for her than she does you know what I'm sayin. Like, she's a nice person, but everybody else is so you know, royalty beat up in thier head, they like, "Janet Jackson, Janet Jackson, Janet Jackson, Janet Jackson; Janet Jackson, Janet Jackson, Janet Jackson!" You know, and it just not good when you doing a movie and you gotta fall in love with this person and you kinda wanna be on the same plain...
You know what I'm sayin; so if everybody's goin, "Janet Jackson, Janet Jackson, Janet Jackson, Janet Jackson" you know, it makes it harder for you to like really get into it so that's what I meant when I said negitave-wise, but she was really a nice person,and I can understand that's how it is when you up there.
Was it her entourage, did she bring an entourage?
I really can't say it was her entourage, but it was them in some spots but they were nice, it wasn't like they were being bad but it was anybody who came to the set, I mean we doing a movie, I'm doinga scene with her, I have to fight of like Oprah Winfrey is interviewing her on the side you know, her boyfriend is right there on this side and I'm about to kiss her. I mean c'mon, you know what I'm sayin, how do you get that in everyday, like who else gets that? [laughing]. I mean its hard, its really, really hard. Then we arguing and its like, "Cut!" Thirty people would go this way you know, and its like, [cough] "Can I have some water? Some water.." [laughing]. Like they squeezing lemons over there, I'm like "Can I get some water?" And tehy got like fresh grape-juice over there for her [everyone laughing].
Did you feel slighted by all this attention towards her?
I mean, slighted just cause of me personally, just cuase of the type of person I am. I know that she earned that in reality. But just the kinda person I am, I'm always gonna be like, "Ehh!" Like her trailor was bigger than mine, so I'm like, "Scuze me, I'm I smallr than Janet Jackson? I'm I shorter than her or what!" [everyone laughing]. But, I understand how it is, I was like really just joking, but when you're doing the character its kinda hard when you see all those people you know.
How easy was it to get the role, I mean were you one of John's automatic choices or did you have to fo through audition?
Not only was I not his chose but it was known from the beggining that the part was for Ice Cube, and everybody kept calling me Ice Cube's part; "Oh you doing Ice Cube's part!" I was like, "No!" But after a couple of auditions it was mine.
Wow, that must pretty cool that you know, not only getting a part through an audition but getting it when it was planned for somebody else.
Yea, it was kinda unconfortable though cause you know that its planned for somebody else, I knew that he wrote it for Cube. So I'm like, "Yo maybe I don't wanna go there, what if I don't wanna go that way with it." And John was open to that like about where you gonna take it and what you wanna do,and that's what I like about it.
Did he tell you why you were chosen instead?
He said that, no he didn't say why, people just never brought it up, he just said he couldn't do it, Cube couldn't do it, he was involved with some other project or it wasn't what he wanted to do right now, the type of story he wanted to do right now.
Do you know Ice Cube personally?
Ummhmm, Oh yea, he talked to me about it and he was like, "Good luck." Ice-T and Ice Cube were very supportive when I moved to LA, when I came out here and did the movie. They were like, "How you doing? How do you like John?" Ice Cube was like, "How do you like John?" You know, like comparing notes, so I enjoyed that, it made me confortable. And it was never like this was his role, now its my role, it was never ever like that. I just knew from people saying that was Ice Cube's role, but he was never like, "How you like doing my role?"
Cause I know, when we talked to Cube he said the reason was that he was just getting ready to get married, and he couldn't do this love scene thing. Just getting married, so he didn't wanna like, complete the two. What do you feel about the travels of success I mean, you talked about what Janet had and she had worked very hard to get to the point were she is very well respected. I mean, is thatsomething you think about when you're doing your music, when you're doing your movies?
I think about it in the way that I wanna achieve it just because all of these people are trippin' off of it you know, I kinda just wanna have it just to put it in my room, so I got one too, I got one, you know what I'm sayin, so everybody just relax. But I don't really trip off of it, like we was on the set there was none of that, "Gimmie artist e first." You know, there's about 30 people in the line, all these people sweatin', lights and burnin' they selves, and standing on trees with microphones. I'm out there laughing, joking, I eat first. What kinda world is that, what kinda job is that! Growed beards you know, and grey hair. I'm bearly driving, coming to the set and its like, "They eat first." So I don't really care about that, I just want the respect though, that's the only thing that I desire. And it cant't be... it has to be equal to the amount they give anybody else. So I can't understand how this person gets this and this person gets this, it just beats me. We're not talkin' about who is the most famous, we're just talking about acting right now so what does all this have to do with acting?
What about fans? How do they interact with you, how do you interact with them, do you have an interseting fan experience when people come up to you?
Yea, we was on the set and people started coming up taking pictures and they take pictures, and I hope this don't make people mad but its the truth; they take pictures and they walk away, cause I don't care, I'll take pictures and be like, "Huh!" you know for tourists, and then they come to me later and say, "They took the film." and I go, "Why?" and they say, "Well we can't take pictures cause Janet's on the set." [everybody is shocked]. So I take them round to my trailor and be like, "click, click!" [laughing]. That type thing you know, I didn't like that to much but that ain't her fault, that's what I mean by people around her, its nothing to do with her but thats for real though.
Do you have a seperate set of fans like people that enjoy your movies and not your music or your music and not your movies?
Nah I think its both, I think its both. But its definitly more movies but I think its starting to be more both.
Is the movie fan different from the music fan, I mean a person who would come up to you as the actor as opposed to someone who knew you as a first hand musician?
Umm.. Well, I have to say, different in the way were I was in Miami or something walking down the street and this old white man was like, "You were great, I enjoyed your work." Not like a fan like, "ARGHHHHH!!" And I was scared, he walked right up to me and was like you were great. I was like, "Man, this movie shit is deep." Cause I mean I don't care how many rap records I sell, theres only gonna be a certain peer group that I'll be attracting, but this is like reaching generations, old people; yesterday people that didn'teven speak english, like from Peurto Rico, "I saw you on Juice, Juice, Juice."
[laughing] They probably don't even know what you are saying...
Heh, yea, they just know I had a gun and I was running across the screen, so that was deep to me...
Is it more rewarding than music?
Umm... Rewarding in its own sense, music is rewarding because I write something, its deep, people get into it and they respond, the movies is crazy cause people get whatever they want. They'll come to me with such a different idea about the charcter that I played, like kids, like people come to me still, now, years after the movie talking about, "Why'd you kill Rahim?" they know his name they know.. I mean I'm like, "Who?, Whooo!" [laughing] "Are you serious? Is that a question?" but they are serious, they really mean it I mean its mothers, daughters, fathers, uncles, "Why'd you kill.." or you can see it in their face, they'll turn red when I come in. Or this little kid yesterday I saw and I was like, "Hey Heyy," I used to be able to just talk to kids, but just cause I played a murderer they be like, "ARGHHH!" [everybody is laughing]
But that means that you done your job well...
Yea, which is good, which is good but that also means hurry up Poetic Justice.
Well lemme ask you this, in light of the incident in Texas with the youngster, how does that make you feel? Like he's claiming that your music is making him go around and shoot cops...
It didn't bother me at all that he said that, I was honoured that he said that, I'm honoured that my music can move anybody either way really, I mean that goes back to, that's like playrighting you know, but, what bothered me was that the vice president was on T... I'm on the airplane getting a call, "Yea, turn on the TV, (I can't I'm on an airplane), Well the vice president is saying that your record needs to be snatched off the shelves" The vice president of the country that you live in is worried about my rap music. That really makes you go, "Uh Oh, I'm really doing right then." You know what I'm sayin, it really turned me off to this whole politic thing because the thing in Texas had nothing to do with me, anybody with half a brain could see that it had nothing to do with me, it was in Texas, I'm way out here doing a movie and I'm getting charged for murder.
Yea but it gives this really negitave light on you...
It doesn't bother me though, cause its like this; if I was seen as a role model the only thing I could do was mess up, and if I'm seen as a villin they only thing I can do is change peoples' minds.
No but the thing is that you have now just said that basically you are now pleased and honoured to realise that somebody has reacted to your record and gone out and killed somebody...
Yes its nice to get a recation...
Nah, I said I'm honoured to be, I'm flattered that somebody is moved by MY music either way, either way!
But aren't you, aren't you worried that somebody has said, "He has moved me so much that I wanna kill."?
Or do you even think that....
I don't even see it like that, no. I don't think my music did that, I don't see it like that. This is what happened... [interviewer trys to talk]. A cop walked up to the car, the guy killed the cop. He did that because he was scared off the cop, that had nothing to do with my music. What I'm honoured about is that he said my music moved him, to say that he mean that my music had to be strong. Or why would he way me? I Just hit the scene. Why not N.W.A.? Why not Public Enemy? Why not anybody out there? Why Tupac? Why would he say me, that's what I'm talking about, it has nothing to do with a murdered cop.
So can you perform in Texas now?
I wanna perform but no-one will let me [laughing], its like, I'm booking shows on pay phones and it just, it just hangs up. "Ok, Ok.. so its like 5.... Duuuuu! [phone hanging up]"
You could change your name in Texas...
Yeaaaa, I'm tryin though.
So has it hurt, you know your latest record?
No, I think its helped, I think its really, really, really helped. I'm starting to get this like political prisonor vibe, everybody's like you know, "Free 'Pac!" or "Go 'Pac, forward together" you know what I'm saying.. [laughing]. So its good, I like that, I like the support you know, it just seems that the more they beat me down, the more people rally around me and I enjoy that, it helps me, and I enjoy that support.
Do you have any singles on this soundtrack? [Poetic Justice]
Yea, Definition Of A Thug.
Ok... Well was it written spacificaly for the movie or was it something you already had in your repetoi and they just picked it out?
I had made a seperate song for the movie, a sader song...
Its called Pour Out A Little Liquor. And it was already gonna be on the thing, everybody agreed and everything, and I was just in the studio, making a beat, and John [Singleton] came by and was like, "What's this?" and I'm like, "Its a song that I'm NOT giving to you, I'm putting it on an underground tape, its not yours." I knew he was lookin', he said, "I bet I can make you put that on the soundtrack." I said, "No! Its not yours, I'm keeping this." We ran up for a couple of phone calls, next thing I know; its on the soundtrack. So it wasn't meant for the soundtrack but John just got that way about him where if he wants the song its gonna be there.
So what was it like working with John Singleton?
It's like ummm, working with your buddy. You know like if your buddy got a good job and he get you into like a managers position, well that's how it was. You know its like John got this really great job and he be like, "Yo I can get you.. You want a job? I can get you a job were I work at, they got a opening, a manager, EVERYTHING!" [laughing], "Just show up!" So thats how he was to me.
What was it like working with
Earnest is older, he was used to working in a team situation you know, him and Spike, older, he wasn'teven in the same peer group as me but he was good, that's what they had in common. John is younger, in my peer group, listens to my music you know, its like we have a lot to draw from, a lot of things to talk about. I never felt like, "Does he know I can act?" cuz he coulda came at me like, "Hey, you can act." So it was comfortable.
Have you ever thought of acting up until then?
Umm, I've thought of it reallyseriously because at the time I was having the thoughts it was funny for black people to be thinking about making a serious career in the motion picture business, unless they wanted to be butler, or unless they wanted to do a driver of Miss Daisy Too, or another slave picture, or another new jack. But now its happening you know, what can I say...
You're talking about John Singleton's help, like being your best buddy; how far back to you go with him?
Not far back, I'm just saying that the atmosphere that he gave me and the way he treated me, it was a friendly atmosphere. He just walked up to me and said, "Hey man." I was at a convention, a music thing, and he walked up and said, "Hey man I listen to your music." And I'm like, "Yea.." I go outside, see him, hes in his car listening to my music; I'm like, "Ohhh Shat, wassuuup..." You know, it just made me be like, "Ok, a man of his word." Cause everybody does that you know, "Oh I like your song, what's your name?"
You mentioned earlier in the interview about how you wanted Lucky to be potrayed more positivley, did you draw from anybody in your personal experience to build out Lucky's character?
Umm, actually yes. I didn't have any father figures though to draw from so I had to draw from like, my friends. And I'd hang out with the homies and see how they act with their fathers cause I'm really lost. I'm nota father, never had a father, never saw a person with a father you know, I didn't even know what to... "What is a father?" Beside throwing bat, I don't know what to do. Besides doing something like that, like what I saw on Boyz N The Hood. So I'm like, "Man, I gotta do this whole fall in love with my daughter thing, not only I gotta fall in love with Janet but I gotta fall in love with my daughter too so I gotta figure this out. But while we doing this, I got like 30 God Children, seriously, I'm not lying [laughing].
You mentioned the atmosphere working with John Singleton and it being like him bringing you to a job and saying manager or whatever, but the pen??? soundly comes from some real life experiences of having some other jobs that weren't exactly acting or a music in a part of things, do you recall some kinda strange jobs you had to take to make ends meat so that you could do your music?
Oh, let me tell ya! I was a roadie, that was how I started. I was with Digital Underground, I started as a roadie, this is unpresidented. I started as A roadie with Digital Underground. Lemme explain what a roadie is; he carries the bags to the hotel, when its raining he's the first outta the bus, when they stop in town he gets out, gets everybody's stuff off the bus, smelly socks and all, carries them to their rooms while these guys just walk around with no luagage, you carrying everything, checkin it, you setting the equipment up, no groupy seen, none of that, and that was me, I did that, and I was applied at that as I am at anything else I've done and that's why I think it grew to be something more, cuz I was a roadie. I said, "Yea I'll do the roadie thing, instead of paying me just let me get on stage, let me dance, let me do something, let people see me." And Tommy Boy's like, "Who's that? They guy in the back, under the truck, behind the wing.." You know what I'm sayin, and they couldn't deny me, "That's Tupac." And they was like, "Well put him up front!" And it was just good.