Street Heat representatives met up with Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas during November 1995. Pac and tha Dogg Pound performed after the Holyfield-Bowe fight at Club 662. Everybody was there…including Iron Mike Tyson, Rappin‘ 4-Tay, Tha Alkaholiks, Pepa, and the posse down with Pac and tha Dogg Pound. On the day of the show we caught up with Pac and kicked it for awhile.
We were in the back of the club in owner Suge Knight’s office. Suge, you may know, is the owner of Death Row Records. Suge and Death Row now handle Pac’s career and Pac spent the month of November in the studio runnin‘ through the final touches of his double album.
So, Pac, a lot of people want to know, since Death Row Records put up your bail money, is that why you left Interscope?
Tupac: It didn’t have nothing to do with the money,
It had nothing to do with the bail. I was already, um, I hollered at Suge before the bail situation when I was still an inmate in the correctional facility and I was looking at like serving three years, I called Suge and said, ‚yo, I want to be with the Row. I want you to manage me because I’m in jail–and no one is handling my business while I’m in jail, nobody’s putting it down like I want to put it down.‘ I knew he’s a man that would put things down. I trust him, his word, you know, um. I really couldn’t trust nobody in bizniz no more, so I chose him, you know?
Wasn’t it during the time that Interscope was rumored to be leaving Warners and all that?
Tupac: Yeah, that was another factor,
Because I was like, ‚Dang, they don’t care about us.‘ I mean, it’s not Interscope’s fault, but they really don’t owe us anything and at any minute we could be you know, alone without a contract after you put all your heart on the line, your music on the line, you went out there and gave all your talent up and all of a sudden, it’s not good enough any more and they’ll kick you off. So I was like, by going to Death Row, it’s like two superpowers joining up. You know, it would be similar to the US and England teamin‘ up against anybody, you know what I mean? So I felt it was like joining two super powers. And if rap music was going to have to fight for its right to be uncensored, then this was the team for me to get on, to wage that battle.
Did jail change your perspective on the world?
Tupac: Yeah…Doing eleven months of maximum security penitentiary time for a crime you didn’t commit would definitely make you a little bitter,
But I’m trying not to be bitter. I’m trying to let that be my ambition. Now I’m very ambitious. This year will mark a new ground for Tupac where I’m relentless. There’s no boundaries. I’m not looking at no stop signs. I’m going full speed ahead. I’m planning on touching everything with my name on it, and there’s a lot of stuff with my name on it, so I’m out there. So I got with the Row, that’s move number one, I wrote a movie, that’s move number two. Did the double album — that’s never been done before — that’s move number three. Got the divorce, that’s move number four. And now it’s just about standing by my grind, stay up on my music, stay out of trouble.
Tupac has often said that the media have misrepresented him. What is the real Tupac Shakur like?
Tupac: He’s a human being with all sides,
Multi-faceted, ups and downs. Goods and bads. Mistakes. Everything, you know. All they want to show is one side, which is distorted. That’s a distorted view. So what I said was true. If they would show the good things and the bad things, I would have no complaints, and it would even make them look better. When you just show me doing all this bad stuff, then people gonna just start thinking like ‚wait a minute, this dude can’t be doing all this bad stuff.‘ I mean, come on. They don’t show nothing else. So it’s really helpin‘ me, cause it’s making it look one-sided and untrue. But the thing that bothers me is that it’s just not across the board. They do this to rappers or young black males — inner city people. You know, they do that to us but they don’t do that for everybody else. But that bothers me, but I’m not gonna harp on everything that’s unfair, ‚cause life is unfair. Nobody said it’s gonna be easy or fair. I’m not even gonna trip off it. I’m just gonna push forward. When I stop, I stop. When the wheels fall off, the wheels fall off. But until then I’m gonna put the foot to the metal.
Tupac has already starred in a number of movies including „Above the Rim“ and „Poetic Justice.“ So we asked what his future acting projects are.
Tupac: I just wrote a movie called „Live To Tell.“ We talking about doing a movie now, me and Snoop, that Pooh is working on, and everything else is before me. I haven’t even started looking into that, but it’s going down.
Tupac talked about his upcoming double album, the first by a hip-hop star.
Tupac: The last album was one side of Tupac,
And it’s the other side, you know what I mean? I did what I had to do with „Me Against the World“ as far as lettin‘ people know that rappers think and we feel and we care. I did that. Now it’s time for me to just get into the music. This album is more like about unrestricted. I’m not trying to tell a message. I’m just getting a lot of frustrations out from being in jail for eleven months. And just speaking my mind, talking about things that I see and just groovin‘, having fun. They like more upbeat tracks than this. My last album was kinda sad and down. This one is like way high. There’s only two slow songs on there.
Street Heat gives props George Pryce and Greg Howard of Death Row Records for getting us with Tupac.