Breakdown FM: ’91 2Pac Intv About Juice, the Police, Oakland & the State of Hip Hop

2Pac scene from Juice

2Pac scene from Juice

One of the most interesting and intense interviews, I’ve ever conducted was with Tupac Shakur back in 1991. He had just hit it big with the movie Juice 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.. because during our interview he had a loaded gun sitting besides him as we spoke…If I recall it was a ’38….

In our interview 2Pac explains his then recent encounter with the Oakland Police Department which resulted in him getting beat up pretty bad.

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 92 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
c 1991

tupac-juiceredDavey 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 things…

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 w/ Digital Underhround

2Pac w/ Digital Underground

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 beats…[laughter]

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 so?

2Pac-hoodie2Pac: 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 the rebel.

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  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 Scene from Juice

2Pac Scene from Juice

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 individual.

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. Evertyhing 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 D: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 that’s 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 over.

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 Juice2Pac: 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 affects 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 psychiatrist, 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 psychology 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 metamorphis 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 now?

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. That’s 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.



2pac ’91 pt1-BDFM-Young Blackmale-

2Pac ’91 pt2-BDFM-Rebel-PoliceBrutality

2Pac ’91pt3-BDFM-Juice & theState o fHipHop

Shock G: Remembering His Friend 2Pac who Died Today Sept 13 1996

Shock G of Digital Underground speaks on his time with 2Pac photo credit: ani yapundzhyan

As we look back on the life and times of Tupac Amaru Shakur we decided to dig in the crates and pull out an old interview we did with Shock G of Digital Underground. Here Shock G says his proudest moment was hearing 2 Pac talk about how his fondest years were spent being a part of the DU camp.

In this interview Shock G talks about the importance of 2Pac in Hip Hop culture and why he and his band mates would drop everything to accommodate 2Pac’s needs.

“There’s a time for comedy and being funny and there’s a time to be serious. When it came to 2Pac his message was too important to play around” , Shock G noted “He got the best we had”.

In this interview Shock G loans some keen insight into who 2Pac really was and how they complimented each other. It’s a fitting tribute for someone who meant so much for so many.

R pt1

Shock G of Digital Underground speaks about the first time him and 2Pac met up. He explains why Pac became a member of the group and who was the person most responsible for putting him on..

Shock G talks about the influence Digital Underground had on 2Pac and the influence Pac had on DU. In particular they focus on the way both had multiple personas i.e. Humpty Hump & Makavelli that they build their albums around.

Here Shock G goes in and talks about the influence of the Black Panthers. What many people don’t realize is that DU started out being a militant, Public Enemy type group that was an off shoot of the Black Panthers. The only reason, why they didn’t continue in that vein was because Public Enemy hit the scene first. Shock talks about the ways the Black Panthers shaped 2Pac as both a freedom fighter and a rapper.

We conclude our interview with Shock G talking about why Digital Underground saved their best tracks and hardest efforts for 2Pac. Shock said Pac’s message was too serious to be playing around and so whenever he needed top shelf material he got it.. We talked about 2Pac and political prisoners and what he would be doing to help out his ‘aunt’ exiled political prisoner Assataa Shakur. Shock also goes in and explains what it means to be a revolutionary.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Shock G of Digital Underground Shares His Inner Most Thoughts on his Friend 2Pac

Shock G of Digital Underground speaks on his time with 2Pac photo credit: ani yapundzhyan

As we look back on the life and times of Tupac Amaru Shakur we decided to dig in the crates and pull out an old interview we did with Shock G of Digital Underground. Here Shock G says his proudest moment was hearing 2 Pac talk about how his fondest years were spent being a part of the DU camp.

In this interview Shock G talks about the importance of 2Pac in Hip Hop culture and why he and his band mates would drop everything to accommodate 2Pac’s needs.

“There’s a time for comedy and being funny and there’s a time to be serious. When it came to 2Pac his message was too important to play around” , Shock G noted “He got the best we had”.

In this interview Shock G loans some keen insight into who 2Pac really was and they complimented each other. It’s a fitting tribute for someone who meant so much for so many.

R pt1

Shock G of Digital Underground speaks about the first time him and 2Pac met up. He explains why Pac became a member of  the group and who was the person most responsible for putting him on..

Shock G talks about the influence Digital Underground had on 2Pac and the influence Pac had on DU. In particular they focus on the way both had multiple personas  i.e. Humpty Hump & Makavelli that they build their albums around.

Here Shock G goes in and talks about the influence of the Black Panthers. What many people don’t realize is that DU started out being a militant, Public Enemy type group that was an off shoot of the Black Panthers. The only reason, why they didn’t continue in that vein was because Public Enemy hit the scene first. Shock talks about the ways the Black Panthers shaped 2Pac as both a freedom fighter and a rapper.

We conclude our interview with Shock G talking about why Digital Underground saved their best tracks and hardest efforts for 2Pac. Shock said Pac’s message was too serious to be playing around and so whenever he needed top shelf material he got it.. We talked about 2Pac and political prisoners and what he would be doing to help out his ‘aunt’ exiled political prisoner Assataa Shakur. Shock also goes in and explains what it means to be a revolutionary.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

As we Commemorate the Anniversary of 2Pac’s Death-Who Speaks for the ‘Have Nots’ in 2010?

Every year around this time many of us within Hip Hop take some time out and reflect on the life and times of Tupac Amaru Shakur as commemorate the anniversary of his tragic death Sept 13 1996. With each passing year its interesting to note that as a younger generation grows older, icons like 2Pac don’t seem to mean as much. For example, I’m not sure I heard anyone shout him out during the MTV VMAs..  Not sure if people took time to acknowledge him during the red carpet interviews or if anyone bothered to ask their thoughts.  Did anyone ask ‘What do you think 2Pac would be doing if he was here?’  ‘What do you think 2Pac would say about our current economic situation?’  “What would Pac have said about that preacher wanting to burn Qu’rans or all the hoopla made at Ground Zero about that Mosque/ Community center?  What would he have said about the looming sentencing trial for the cop who killed Oscar Grant or the riots that have taken place in LA after cops shot an immigrant? What would Pac have said about all those homes being destroyed and people killed during the tragic fire in San Bruno which we are now finding was because of negligence by PG&E?  Considering that’s an area where a lot of people of color live, do you think Pac would’ve been screaming on that? Such speculative question gets asked because it’s all but absent from those who are privileged to have access to a mic.

Pac like so much of our history has been made disposable and I’m not quite sure what to make of it. Is it our fault as elders for not bringing him up enough and keeping his and the memory of other past icons alive? Have we grown so that we now see him through a different lens and maybe don’t hold him up as high anymore? Did we put too much on him?

In looking back I think what folks admired so much about 2Pac was that he gave voice to an underclass of people. He gave voice to the those who we call the ‘Have Nots‘. What’s ironic is that in 2010 we have more ‘Have Nots then ever before, but instead of kicking up dust and challenging those in power about the injustice of such conditions, we now have folks looking for answers in corporate lackeys masquerading as rap stars or corporate backed pundits who know of Pac but would never dare embrace his fearlessness and boldness in seeking change. Still others look for the Glenn Beck, the Tea Party Movement and maybe Congressman Ron Paul to give them voice.

When Pac died at age 25 he was just beginning to find his voice and there’s no telling where he would be in 2010. There’s no telling how he would’ve ultimately have used his platforms and popularity and how things would be different as a result..The young Black male who he claimed to have spoken for would be older now and we would hope that he would be speaking and doing things to change the wretched conditions so many find themselves in.. Alas we can only speculate, but we should not underestimate the differences one man or woman can make.

Moving forward we understand that every generation has their heroes and sheros.. I’m from the public Enemy era, the folks who were my interns back in the days came up under Pac.. Many of them have maintained that fiery spirit 13 years later..My question today is who inspires that in today’s generation? Who is speaking truth to power and kicking up dust? Or have we retired that as a viable method to get things done?

As I was watching what appeared to be a very lack luster VMAs last night I kept asking myself where are the fire-works? Who’s the person that’s gonna leave us with something to talk about for years to come? The closet we came was when Drake yelled out Free Lil Wayne. Many were hoping we’d have that moment with Kanye West who came out wearing a red suit that drew comparisons to late comedian Richard Pryor on Sunset Strip. He’s always one to be counted on to say something provocative. His performance was mesmerizing. But we didn’t get much from Kanye other than him rapping about what a jerk he was .. Instead it was singer Taylor Swift who was famously interrupted by Kanye during last years awards, kicking up dust by doing a song where she took aim at him.

As Kanye closed the show I kept wondering if this generation of Have Nots had someone speaking for them on these national stages.

Written by Davey D

Brenda’s Got a Baby


Interview w/ Arsenio Hall

Interview w/ Vibe magazine

Interview w/ Davey D

1992 Speech Atlanta..Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

MC Hammer Turns Out Art & Soul Festival in Downtown Oakland

Nothing beats a classic Hip Hop show.. what I mean by that someone who’s had impact returns to scene after not seeing them for a while  and  wrecks shop. MC Hammer fit the bill this Saturday at the Art & Soul Festival. Thousands came to see Hammer take it to the stage and trust me he did not disappoint. Simply put he killed it.. The best parts was when he did a tribute to 2Pac and the late Luther Vandross. He remade Luther’s song ‘All My Love’ and dedicated to all those who died before their time. The crowd loved it.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

4 Hip Hop Songs of Advice and Reflection for the Young Black male



Digging in the Crates w/ Davey D #1

There are lots of tracks we can look at and I think folks should add to this so we can compile a list.. But here’s three songs that I feel address the plight of the inner city Black male….

The first one comes from Boston rapper Akrobatik who drops gems to the shorties he sees hanging out on the Front Steps (Tough Love)… The beat is dope and the lyrics are incredible… Its a damn shame that major radio stations never picked up this song and that way too many people sleep on one of my favorite artists Akrobatik

2Pac dropped a dope 3 minute song that thoroughly expressed the angst and plight of the young Black inner city male

2Pac dropped a dope 3 minute song that thoroughly expressed the angst and plight of the young Black inner city male

The second one ‘Streetz Are Deathrow’ comes courtesy of the late 2Pac. Its always been my favorite cut from him.  In a about 3 minutes Pac underscores the tormented mindset of a young cat trying to navigate an increasing confusing world..I wish he did a video for this song.. Not sure if I ever heard Pac do this song live..But he captures the moment on this piece

I know i said I would post up 3 songs, but I couldn’t post the 2pac cut without digging in the crates and pulling out Ice Cube. His 1990 song ‘The Product’  sits right alongside this 2pac cut. It’s off the Kill at Will Ep. Cube skillfully takes us from the moment of conception to the tragic ending in a jail cell.. Coming at the tale end of the crack era Cube like Pac captures urgency of a troubled time.. Cube was arguably at his best when he flipped this song..

The last one is a classic from Blastmaster KRS-One.. ‘Loves Gonna Getcha’ .. Like Akrobatik’s cut this song is one that dispenses advice as KRS lays out the all too familiar plight of the neighborhood dope dealer who’s love for material possessions leaves him blind to the realities and dangers of life..Its songs like this that made everyone fall in love with KRS and see him as one of the best Hip Hop has ever produced..

Anyway enjoys these gems and feel free to post up songs that you feel need to be listened to by ‘the young black male’

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Ice Cube's song 'The Product' still holds true for many Black males almost 20 years after he recorded it.

Ice Cube's song 'The Product' still holds true for many Black males almost 20 years after he recorded it.

Ten Known (and Little-Known) Facts About Tupac


Ten Known (and Little-Known) Facts About Tupac

By Eric Arnold in 2009 Music Lists, Music
Tuesday, Jun. 16 2009 @ 9:50A
Tupac will always be with us

Tupac will always be with us

10. Pac was born June 16, 1971 in East Harlem, NYC. He also lived in Baltimore, Marin City, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

9. The name Tupac Amaru is a reference to the last indigenous Inca ruler of Peru, who died in 1572. Amaru’s name was later adopted by Tupac Amaru II , the leader of an 18th-century uprising against Spanish colonialists and by the Tupac Amaru rebels , a Communist anti-government group which formed in 1984. Clearly, the name Tupac Amaru is not one to take lightly and has always been associated with resistance, rebellion, revolution, and rightful rule.

8. Shakur wasn’t Tupac’s birth name, but the last name assumed by his adopted stepfather, Mtulu Shakur, a Black Panther who spent four years on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for helping his sister Joanne Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur, who fled to Cuba rather than face prosecution.

7. Tupac studied acting, ballet, jazz, and poetry while a high school student at the Baltimore School for the Arts in 1985, where he met and befriended Jada Pinkett.

6. In 1989, Tupac formed the group Strictly Dope with Santa Rosa rapper Ray Luv.

5. In 1990, Tupac was a roadie and dancer for Digital Underground, eventually becoming a member of the platinum-selling Oakland ensemble before launching a successful solo career.

4. In 1994, Tupac briefly dated Madonna, who reportedly wanted to have his baby.

3. Tupac is the only artist in history to have an album at Number One on the Billboard charts (1995’s Me Against the World) while serving a prison sentence.

2. Tupac’s alter-ego Makaveli is a reference to 16th century Italian political strategist Niccolo Machiavelli , author of “The Prince.” The fact that Machiavelli faked his own death gave rise to numerous theories alleging that Tupac is still alive.

1. Since his death on September 13, 1996, Tupac has been playing dominoes in music heaven along with Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Richie Valens, Notorious B.I.G., and Johnny Ace.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Interview w/ Afeni Shakur One Year After Her son 2Pac has Passed


afeniThis interview took place one week before the one year anniversary of 2Pac’s untimely death.. His mother, Afeni Shakur who has been the subject of so much of 2Pac’s work talked very passionately about her son.. During the interview his Godfather Geronimo Pratt rolled through.. and his sister Set also stopped through….

Davey D: The First thing I want to do is thank you for granting us this interview. We’re up on the anniversary of your son’s un-timely death. There are so many of us that are still in the shock, so many of us who can’t believe it and so many of us within the Hip Hop Generation that are trying to heal from this. And one way we can bring about this healing, is to continue to study and learn about Tupac. I guess the best way to really do that is by talking to you his mom, Afeni Shakur. You’re the person who can provide us with that bridge of information. After all, you’re the woman who raised him, you’re the person who helped shape him, and helped make him into the person whom we’ve come to admire. I guess the first thing I would like you to do is let our listeners know who Afeni Shakur was. You were a member of the Black Panther Party, you were pregnant with Tupac while in jail, as one of the infamous New York 21. Who is Afeni Shakur?

Afeni Shakur: Basically, first let me just say Peace and Respect to all of the listeners, and all of the people who care about my son, who care about his work and who care about his music. And the first thing I would like to do is give encouragement to Brothers & Sisters who are artists or trying to be artists. From the bottom of my heart, I encourage them to work on their art and to not allow anyone or anything to keep their artist spirit down. And that to me is really important. And then having said that, let me say that I was a member of the Black Panther Party. I joined in 1968. When I joined, I wasn’t a student. I did not come off the college campuses like a lot of known Panthers did. I came from the streets of the South Bronx. I had been a member of the Disciples Deads, which would have been the women Disciples in the Bronx..

What the Panther Party did for me, I used to always say it gave me home training. The Party taught me things that were principles to living, and those principles are the principles I think most Panthers have tried to pass on to their children and to anybody else that would listen to them. You know that one of those principles was like don’t steal a penny, needle or a simple piece of thread from the people. It’s just general basic things about how we as individuals treat a race of people, and how we treat each other as a people! And those are the things I think the people recognize in Tupac….

We discovered, that within the BBP, that is you try and live by these principles and you have attached to those principles a willingness and a desire to protect and defend your family and your people.. also if you have a large mouth and your willing to speak openly about those things, that you are going to be the victim of all kinds of attacks. That’s basically what has happened to all of us. Tupac was and remains in my mind a child of the BBP. I think that I always felt that even through this society that they had destroyed the work of the BBP. I always felt that Tupac was living witness to who we are and who we were. I think that his life spoke to every part of our development and the development of the Party, and the development in this country that I don’t think will die.

Davey D: One of the perspectives that people have put forth about Tupac was that he was a gangster.. and that, he was somebody who invited trouble.How do you address that? How should, especially those of us within the Hp Hop Generation perceive 2Pac?

Afeni Shakur: First of all, the difference in people’s temperment and my temperment, our temperment is such that is just like you were asking me about a song ‘Wade in the Water, God Gonna Trouble the Waters’. We want the waters troubled. We are trouble makers, it’s what we are here for. We don’t make apologies for it. Why would we? We are revolutionaries, the children of Revolutionaries…. I believe that this is true, basically of young people in any Generation. And that’s just true naturally. For us, we’re trouble makers, because why wouldn’t we be trouble makers in a society that has no respect for us. That has no respect about what I began talking you about. The fact that it is a miracle that we sit here. I don’t think that we are suppose to be anything but trouble makers. Tupac use to comment on people who critized him for cursing, as a matter of fact he said this is just about verbatum, ‘As I walked into this hall, I passed a young child who was hungry. There is not a bigger curse than a young child hungry’. If we are not concerned about the incest, the rape, about our children dying at the rate that they are dying, I cannot imagine why we would be making all this noise about a word, any word.’..

Davey D: Do you think his music influenced people to move in a direction of violence? That was one thing, I remember the police in Houston wanted to sue him and say that he caused an officer to be shot….

Afeni Shakur: They did sue him in Houston and as a matter of fact, that campaign was started by C. Delores Tucker who has now sued Tupac’s estate, namely Tupac’s music. Has sued him for interfering with her and her husband’s sexual life. Now, don’t you think that’s proposterous? Of course it is. And I think it’s okay for us to say that it is.. and it’s just as proposterous to think that music could influence you to do anything else. If that were possible, will someone, please, make a song that will influence us to not kill each other. Please, I beg any person to do that. That should be simple under that mentality. But obviously, that’s an irrational concept, and that’s what I mean about us thinking. Don’t allow people to think for you. Let’s use ration. It’s okay for us to do it. I’ll tell you something else, for people who feel so bad about Tupac’s leaving this planet, we should remember that each of us come here with a beginning date and an ending date. Tupac’s beginning was June 16, 1971 and his end was September 13th, 1996. In the 25 years that God gave him on this earth, he shone like a star, and he did all that he was suppose to do, he said all that he needed to say. You need not weep for Tupac, but weep for yourself, because we are left here with these contradictions that we still must face.

Davey D: The whole rivarly between Tupac and Biggie and to see both of them at the height of their careers, as far as a lot of people are concerned gone. Have you ever talked to Biggie’s mom? You know you guys are looked at in a way where it’s like well, wow if we can’t get next to them, we have to get next to their mothers. What words do you pass on about that? And what are your thoughts on that?

Afeni Shakur: Let me say that my son was killed on 9/13/96 and Nov. 10th, Yafa Ufala, one of the Outlaws and a member of my son’s group, and a member of our family was murdered… and on Jan. 12th a daughter of another member of the BPP was murdered in her bed with her baby playing in her bed while the killer, her husband, watched all day long. What I have known from the beginning is that I am not alone. And I am not alone does not mean that the only two people that got killed were Biggie and Tupac. I am so sorry, but every child’s death is painful.

To me, it’s painful, because it’s this process that we have to stop. We are right back to the same thing which is about ration and reason..and about winning. And as I said, Tupac had 25 years and he did 25 years worth of wonderful work. What the next person needs to know in whatever years they are alloted to them, is what have they done? And I’m sure that Biggie’s mother must feel the same about her son. It’s no use in people trying to swage their on guilt for their own deficiency by debating or spending that much time on Tupac and Biggie.

Davey D: What do you mean by swage?

Afeni Shakur: I mean that we all have to speak about our own issues. When we talk about rivarlries, with East/West Coast, I don’t have any idea what that is. But let me say this, my son was shot on two separate occassions; the 1st was five times, twice in the head and at that time we though he could have died. So a year later he was shot again and he did die, but there wasn’t a rivarly. My son was injured by gunshots and my son reacted through his msuic to what had happened to him and as I say, Tupac spoke eloquently about how he felt about all of that East/West Coast stuff. I would not try and change one period of a sentence that Tupac spoke about that, because Tupac was an honorable young man, He did not lie and whatever Tupac said happened, happened in that way. And I think that people have to deal with their responsibilities for whatever they have done or not done. That’s a part of life also. Tupac dealt with his responsibilities, I think other people have to do the same.

Davey D: You talk about Tupac being honorable and speaking truth. How did you feel when he said things about you in records?

Afeni Shakur: He told the truth. I live with truth. I have no secrets. Neither did Tupac, neither does my daughter. We don’t live behind secrets, we don’t live lies, we are who we are, and we are pretty happy to be who we are. We are proud of who we are and we stand tall and defend who we are.

Davey D: Was it painful to hear him talk about you having a drug addiction? Was it something that you had to discuss or did you know that he would put some things that happened in his life in music for the public to look at and hear and formulate their own opinion?

Afeni Shakur: Let me first say that any of those songs that Tupac wrote was primarily the way he felt about something. You have a right to express your feelings. I do not have to agree with them. I needed him to say how he felt, specifically about the pain that I had caused him. That’s how we heal ,and so you now for me it was Tupac explaining something that happened to his family, his reaction to it and his feelings about it. I think they were honest and I respect him for that. Absolutely and completely.

Davey D: Tupac has done a lot of thing in his career. What do you think he should have done differently in terms of the decisions he made? What sort of path do you think he should have continued on? Do you think he deviated, or went down the wrong corner in any of the things that he did?

Afeni Shakur: I think that Tupac made perfect decisions for himself. I would like to encourage young people to make decisions for themselves. You make decisions that you stand by and you take responsibility for them. Really, this is life, you try to make a difference in peoples lives, because you stand firm for something. So really, for me, Tupac was perfection.

Davey D: What do you think the mis-perceptions that you as his mom would like to clear up about him?

Afeni Shakur: The misconceptions are that Tupac was a rapper, the Tupac wasn’t political and that Tupac was a gangster. But primarily I really think that time will take care of that. I have faith in Tupac’s legend. I really believe in the divinity of legends. I believe that God choose Tupac and I believe that no human being can destroy his image, his legend, his life, his music or his work. So in reality I don’t care what people say, because I truly believe that God sent him here. He sent him with a mission. He fulfilled his mission and he went back where he came from.

Davey D: What is it about Tupac that so many people admired, and still admires about him?

Afeni Shakur: His truth in the face of anything. And I think that you know that’s why people don’t want to believe that he is dead. Because they believe that Tupac could face anything, and come out on the other side. Let me say, so can you.

Davey D: It’s been a year and there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding his death in terms of who owns the estate, recording rights and situations involving the record company Death Row. What is happening with that? Can you give us an understanding on where things stand and where you hope to have things going?

Afeni Shakur: As it relates to Death Row, we have reached an agreement, a settlement of some sort and I’m sure that’s probably resolved.

Davey D: There has been an iron hand placed upon people who might have had affiliations with Tupac in terms of them releasing his earlier music. I guess that’s good, because they have always had to come through and some how deal with you one way or the other before materials are released. Where does that stand now? Will we start to see hear some of his earlier recordings? Some of the things he left with Death Row, will they start to come out or are there other plans for releases of his music materials, movies, etc.?

Afeni Shakur: Well, some of Tupac’s extended and biological family have started Amoru Records, which is a record company that Tupac would have started had he still been here. We are going to first release his earlier material so that people have a more comprehensive understanding of what his journey was. We have the end of his journey, it would probably be okay to have the beginning also, so that’s what we are attempting to do with his first release. And after that, we would like to do a tribute album and an audio book of his poetry.

We also are committed, within the next 2 or 3 years to developing and releasing up to 8 new artists. So prayfully we will be able to do that what we want to do is so business in a principle and ethically manner. And prayfully we will be able to do that outside of that, we are trying to negotiate a documentary about Tupac’s life. Possibly and probably a feature film with HBO with a producer by the name of Marvin Worth… What we wanted is for people not to steal Tupac’s material.

It had really less to do with control than it had to do with stealing.. And the problem I have with stuff is that, I always say if Tupac were here would you do it? And to answer the question, you wouldn’t do it if he were here.. First of all I have no respect for you because you are a coward.. And I know if Tupac was here he would call you one of those names that he knew oh so well.. And that’s pretty much the way I feel about the Vibe Pictorial Book.. I found out about it when it was reviewed in Essence Magazine.. I had been speaking to Quincy Jones all year and he never mentioned it.. I have no respect for that kind of behavior.. People can buy what they want, but just don’t expect me to say it’s cool, because I am not.. and further more I ain’t mad at nobody..

Davey D:What individuals do you see today that embody the revolutionary spirit that has often been associated with 2Pac? Who has that mindset?

Afeni Shakur: Well, I really think Sista Souljah has that type of spirit. I think Geronimo Pratt also has it..and so does Mumia Adul Jamal.. The fact is ..that I’m not whaling off the names of young brothers and sisters a mile a minute…It’s not like Tupac was the most excellent person.. I just ask for people to be honorable, honest and honest to themselves about themselves and to be courageous about truth. When I can see more of that, I’ll just feel a little better, but whether I do or don’t I’m not mad at nobody…

Davey D: Is this a lost generation? Are we a lost generation?

Afeni Shakur: Absolutely not!.. Thank You Treach for your song.. Thank You Scarface for your song.. Thanks for the respect Bones Thugs N Harmony.. Thanks for the respect and at least musically understanding what my son was about and saying.. They’ve done that.. I thank them from the bottom of my heart…

Davey D:So tell us about the foundation…

Afeni Shakur: I just wanted to tell people that outside of music, Tupac was about the business of helping families and helping people.. We would like to continue that… We started the Tupac Amuru Foundation. We will be giving you notice about how people can get in touch with the foundation, whether they are interested in either obtaining or giving assistance.. We are really excited about that.. One of the first things we want to do with the foundation, is to build an Art Institute in the name of Tupac over in Marin City where that little boy was killed. We would like to leave something there that is an institution that goes on everyday and provides help for somebody in that community.. Tupac wanted to build Ghetto Heavens and Thug Heavens all over the country.. So that’s the stuff we are going to do…

Davey D: Any idea who might have taken his life? Do you think the government had some connection with it?.. They talk about the rappers being the revolutionaries of the 80s and you see the same type of forces that divided the Black Panther Party at work with today’s rap artists..?

Afeni Shakur: Yes I do.. But I just don’t want to simplify things by saying that it was the government.. because that’s another reason why I would like people to study The Art of War by Son Zu, and The Prince by Machavelli, so that they would have a better way of looking at things.. I don’t think it’s just the government.. I don’t think our enemies are just in the gov’t.. I believe it was in someone’s interest to play this card out like this.. The other side of that is that whoever the person was that pulled the trigger and whoever participated in it and knows about it; those people will have to deal with that from here to eternity.. Not only will they have to live with it, but so will their children and their children’s children.. I would not want to stand before God and say that I’m the one who took Tupac’s life.. So what I have to say is more power to them..

2pac’s sister Set rolls through and some questions are directed at her…

Davey D: What was it like growing up with 2Pac? What type of person was he? Was he the same type of person we got to know through film, records and video?

Set: If you listen hard and look..well yeah.. You grew up with him the same way I did.. It’s just that I grew up with him longer..But everyone else grew up with him the same way I did.. Everything from Souljah’s Story to Brenda’s Got A Baby to Against All Odds. Everything he told may not have been his own, it may have been the way God wanted him to do it…You know they way of written law and stone that is truth, but the truth is your life… If it wasn’t his truth, it was your truth, my truth the girl down the street truth, it was true to him…If he didn’t go through it, I went through it. He felt what other people felt whether it was him or not….

Davey D: Did you grow up with him all your life?

Set: I am not too sure of the years.. but when my mother started to use drugs.. I started puberty and Pac started to become a star.. He was working on his career.. And it wasn’t even a year before he went on the Japan tour with Digital.. It was the only year of my childhood that we were apart.. Besides then he got his own apartment and became an independent man

Davey D: Is there an expectation or pressure on you to try and continue to be an embodiment of 2Pac?

Set: I really feel like if anybody put that pressure on me, it’s me. Religious people say, you’ve been touched by Jesus and proof is your life will never be the same again.. and you have changed another person’s life. I feel like I’ve been touched by a Saint.. I have a son to raise and Pac was the man in my life as well as my sons.. Well, now I have to make myself learn how to deal alone…

Davey D: Any last words that you like us to know or any last things you would like us to keep in our hearts and minds about your son?

Afeni Shakur: Remember the words of my son.. Remember to Keep Your Head up.. Remember Against All Odds.. Nobody Can Judge You.. that’s God’s job.. Remember, the things 2Pac said..I just really ask people to really study his music and to listen to his music with an open heart and soothed mind.. Thank you very much.. Peace