Tupac Amaru Shakur im Interview
Courtesy of Davey D (formerly of KMEL):
On The Line With....2PAC SHAKUR
The Lost Interview...1991
by Davey D
One of the most interesting and intense interviews, I've ever
conducted was with Tupac Shakur.. He had just filmed the movie Juice
and and everyone wondering was he just acting or putting forth his
real life persona in the movie.. Although I had known him for a
couple of years it was hard for me to tell.. cause he had a loaded
gun on him as we spoke...If I recall it was a 38....Pac explains in
this interview his then recent encounter with the Oakland Police
Department which resulted in him getting beat.
I had run excerpts from this interview in a newsletter I used to
publish back in the early 90s. I had completely forgotten about this
interview and had misplaced the tape. A couple of months ago while
working on liner notes for Digital Underground's Greatest Hits which
recently came out on Rhino records, I came across a tape that had an
old interview I did with Shock G. I flipped to the b-side and to my
surprise I discovered the missing 2Pac interview from 1991.
Tupac Shakur considers himself the 'Rebel of the Underground' [Digital
Underground] and for good reason. He stirs things up and does the
unexpected. Such a person is bound to generate excitement because
they have impact on both the people and situations around them. 2Pac
in 1992 promises to have major impact in the world of hip hop. He's
kicking things off with a sensational acting debut in the movie
'Juice' where he stars as the character Roland Bishop. His debut lp
'2Pacalypse Now' is beginning to cause a bit of a stir on retail
shelves around the country. And if that's not enough Tupac is
branching out and signing new acts to his production company including
his older brother Moecedes who raps in the Toni Tony Tone song 'Feels
Good. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing this out spoken and
very animated individual at his apartment where he told his tale.
Davey D: Give a little bit of background on yourself. What got you
into hip hop?
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 denominator.
Davey D: 2Pac... Is that your given name or is that your rap name?
2Pac: That's my birth name and my rap name.
Davey D: 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?
2Pac: Not 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
forward with my style. Instead of of being so metaphorical with the
rhyme where i might say something like... I'm the hysterical, lyrical
miracle I'm the hypothetical, incredible.... I was encouraged to go
straight at it and hit it dead on and not waste time trying to cover
Davey D:Why was that?
2Pac 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 po'...we had no money and
that's what influenced my style.
Davey D: How did you hook up with Digital Underground?
2Pac: I caught the 'D-Flow Shuttle' while I was in Marin City. It was
the way out of here. Shock G was the conductor.
Davey D: What's the D-Flow Shuttle?
2Pac:The D-Flow Shuttle is from the album 'Sons of the P' It was the
way to escape out of the ghetto. It was the way to success. I
haven't gotten off since...
Davey D: Now let's put all that in laymen's terms
2Pac: Basically I bumped into this kid named Greg Jacobs aka Shock G
and he hooked me up with Digital Underground and from there I hooked
up with Money B... and from there Money B hooked me up with his step
mamma... and from there me and his step mamma started making
Me and his step mamma got a little thing jumping off. We had a cool
sound, but Shock asked me if I wanted a group. I said 'Yeah but I
don't wanna group with Money B's step momma 'cause she's gonna try and
take all the profits... She wants to go out there and be like the
group 'Hoes with Attitude', but I was like 'Naw I wanna be more
serious and represent the young black male'.
So Shock says we gotta get rid of Money B's step mamma. So we went to
San Quentin [prison] and ditched her in the 'Scared Straight'
program...[laughter. After that Shock put me in the studio and it was
on..This is a true story so don't say anything.. It's a true story.
And to Mon's step mamma I just wanna say 'I'm sorry, but a man's gotta
do what a man's gotta do. I'm sorry but it was Shock's idea-Bertha..
but don't worry she can get her half of the profits from the first cut
after she finishes doing her jail time. [laughter]
Davey D: What's the concept behind your album 2Pacalypse Now'?
2Pac: The 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 gun shots 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.
Davey D: What are those problems?
2Pac: Police brutality, poverty, unemployment, insufficient education,
disunity and violence, black on black crime, teenage pregnancy, crack
addiction. Do you want me to go on?
Davey D: How do you address these problems? Are you pointing them out
or are you offering solutions?
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 happen
Davey D: You refer to yourself as the 'Rebel of the Underground' Why
2Pac: Cause, as 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'm the lunatic that everyone refers
to. 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.I would've never done a song like that-That's why I'm
Davey D: Can talk about your recent encounter with police brutality at
the hands of the Oakland PD?
2Pac:We're letting the law do its job. It's making its way through
the court system.. We filed a claim...
Davey D:Recount the incident for those who don't know..
2Pac:For 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. Yes.. you heard right-I was
arrested for resisting arrest.
Davey D:Where is all this now?
2Pac: We're in the midst of having a ten million dollar law suit
against the Oakland Police Department. 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 Brutality Center' and
other little odd things like that..
Davey D:In the video for the song 'Trapped' do you think that would've
had the police want to treat you aggressively? After all, the video
is very telling especially in the un-edited version where you have a
cop get shot.
2Pac: Well the ironic thing is the cops I came across in that incident
didn't know about that video. The second thing is that everything I
said in that video happened to me. The video happened before the
incident. In the video I show how the cops sweat me and ask for my ID
and how I can't go anywhere...
Davey D:Let's talk about the movie 'Juice'. How did you get involved?
Where's it at? and what's it about?
2Pac: MMM what led me? Well, we have the Freaky Deaky Money B and
Sleuth [road manager for DU]. Money B had an audition for the movie
Sleuth [road manager] suggested I also come along so I went. Money B
read the script and said to me' this sounds like you- a rebel. he was
talking about this character named Bishop. I went in cold turkey,
read, God was with me...
Davey D:Have you ever had acting experience before?
2Pac: Actually I went to the school of Performing arts in Baltimore
and that's where I got my acting skills.
Davey D:Ok so you weren't a novice when you went up there... So
what's the movie about?
2Pac:The movie is about 4 kids and their coming of age.
Davey D:Is it a Hip Hop movie?
2Pac:No, 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
Davey D:What's the 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...
Davey D:Can you explain what you mean by this?
2Pac:In the movie my character's, father was a prison whore and that
was something that drove him through the whole movie...
Davey D: This was something that wasn't shown in the movie?
2Pac: Yes, they deleted this from the film. Anyway this just wrecked
his [Bishop's] 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.
Davey Do you intend on continuing making movies?
2Pac: It depends on whether or not there are any good parts. I want
to challenge myself.
Davey D:What is your philosophy on hip hop? I've heard you say you
don't to see it diluted?
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. I would walk
around and hear something and start saying 'That's not Hip Hop'. If
someone started singing, I would walk around and say 'That's not Hip
Hop'. Well, now I've changed my mind. That could be Hip Hop.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.
Davey D:I guess my question would be, how do you determine what's soul
and what isn't?
2Pac: Well you can tell. The difference between a hit like 'Make You
Dance' [C&C Music Factory] and 'My Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me' [Geto
Boys]. You have to ask yourself, 'Which song moves you'.
Davey D: Well actually both. Both songs move me
2Pac: Really? well... ok there you go
Davey D:So they both would be Hip Hop, right?
2Pac:I guess so, at least in your opinion. 'The Make You Dance' song
didn't move me. But the Geto Boys song did move me
Davey D:Well for the record Bambaataa says both of them are Hip Hop.
I asked him what he thought about groups like C&C Music Factory. He
said they were part of the Hip Hop family...But that's his philosophy
on things. So what's your plans for the next year or so?
2Pac: To strengthen the Underground Railroad. I have a crew called
the Underground Railroad and a program called the Underground
Railroad...I wanna build all this up, so that by next year you will
know the name Underground Railroad...
Davey D:So what's the concept behind The Underground Railroad?
2Pac: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
can love others and do the same thing we did for them to others.
Davey D: How many people in the Underground Railroad? Is it a group
that intends to keep constantly evolving? Also where are the people
who are a part of Underground Railroad coming from?
2Pac: Right now we're twenty strong. The group is going to be one
that constantly evolves. The people that are in the UR are coming
from all over, Baltimore, Marin City, Oakland, New York, Richmond-all
Davey D: What do you think of the Bay Area rap scene compared to other
parts of the country?
2Pac: Right now the Bay Area is how the Bronx was in 1981. Everybody
is hot. They caught the bug. Everybody is trying to be creative and
make their own claim. New York just got to a point where you could no
longer out due the next guy. So now you have this place where there
isn't that many people to out due. Here you can do something and if
it's good enough people will remember you. So that's what's
happening. here in the Bay Area, it's like a renaissance.
Davey D: In New York the renaissance era got stopped for a number of
reasons in my opinion. What do you think will prevent that from
happening in the Bay Area?
2Pac: Well at the risk of sounding biased, I say Digital Underground.
They are like any other group. I'll give that to Shock G. He made it
so that everything Digital Underground does it helps the Bay Area
music scene. It grows and goes to New York and hits people from all
over the country. That helps the Bay Area. Our scene is starting to
rub off on people. We want everyone to know about Oakland. When
other groups come down, like Organized Konfusion or Live Squad and
they kick it with Digital Underground, they get to see another side of
the Bay Area music scene.It's a different side then if they kicked it
with that guy... I don't wanna say his name, but you know who he is
he dropped the 'MC' from his name [MC Hammer].
Davey D: So you think Digital Underground will be more strength to the
Bay Area rap scene because they help bring national attention. What
do you think other groups will have to do?
2Pac: What we have to do is not concentrate so much on one group. We
have to focus more on the area. It's not about just building up Too
Short, Digital Underground and Tony Toni Tone and say; 'That's it.
They're the only groups that can come from the Bay Area'. We have to
let the new groups come out. Nobody wants to give the new acts a
chance. Everybody wants to only talk about Too Short and Digital
Underground...We have to start talking about these other groups that
are trying to come in that are coming up from the bottom.
Davey D: When you say 'come up' what do you mean by that?
2Pac: It's like this. Instead of letting them do interviews where
nobody ever reads them, let a good newspaper interview them. Instead
of putting them on the radio when nobody is ever going to hear them or
where nobody is going to hear them, have them where people can hear
them and get at them where they had a better chance, just like if they
were Mariah Carey.
Davey D: Do you find the Bay Area sound is being respected? Do you
find that people are starting to accept it around the country?
2Pac: I feel that the Bay Area sound hasn't even finished coming out.
It's starting to get respected more and more everyday.
Davey D: Your brother Moecedes is a rapper for the group Tony Toni
Tone. What's the story with him? Are you guys gonna team up?
2Pac: He's in the Underground Railroad. He's also about to come out
with another guy named Dana.
Davey D: Who produced your album and are you into producing
2Pac: I co-produced it with the members of the Underground Railroad
which is Shock G, Money B, Raw Fusion, Pee Wee, Jay-Z from Richmond,
Stretch from the Live Squad. It's really like a life thing-this
Underground Railroad. It effects everything we do.
Davey D:Is there 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 it's like a pyschology session set to
music. It'll make you come to grips with what you actually do..
Davey D: What do you mean by that? Are they preaching?
2Pac: No they're just telling you straight up like Ice Cube or
Scarface. They're being blunt and it comes out of akid's mouth. 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
responsibility again. Kids are telling you to have responsibility...
Davey D: What do you think of the current trends in Hip Hop like the
gangsta rap, Afrocentric Rap, raggamuffin and the fusion of the
singing and rap? Some people call it 'pop rap'.
2Pac: I think all the real shit is gonna stay. It's gonna go through
some changes. It's going through a metaphorphis so it will blow up
sometimes and get real nasty and gritty, then the leeches will fall
off and Hip Hop will be fit and healthy. Hip Hop has to go through
all of that, but no one can make judgments until it's over.
Davey D: What do you think the biggest enemies to Hip Hop are right
2Pac: Egotistical rappers. They don't wanna open up their brain. Its
foul when people are walking around saying things like; 'Oakland is
the only place where the real rappers come out. New York is the only
place where the real rappers come out. They booty out there or they
booty over there...' All of that just needs to die or Hip Hop is
gonna have problems. Its gonna be so immature. Thats just conflict
in words. We can't be immature we gotta grow.
Davey D: Cool I think we got enough out of you 2Pac.
2Pac: Yes I think you got enough
Davey D: Peace.