Tupac records at the Blue Palms Recording Studio in Burbank, CA.
“They got toys for guns/ Jails for guns/ But no jobs for guns.”
Tupac likes to add effects to his vocals; Chuck D-style reverbs and echoes that give his voice that Godly quality. He instructs his engineer, a Blackman at a Black-owned studio, to isolate the track so he can perfect the pitch.
In exactly 12 hours, Tupac will be required to appear in a Los Angeles municipal court for a case filed agaist him by Allen Hughes, one half of the directorial team that bought us Menace II Society.
“I been sitting on this all day,” he pulls an 8th of LA’s now famous chronic from his back pocket, appraising the red hairs in the Hawaiian sensimilla. His older brother, Mopreme rolls up no less than six blunts in a row. As everyone else gets more mellow, Tupac picks up steam.
“Nigga, pass that!”
Tupac has been dying to get his clown on. Stretch, Tupac’s producer/collaborator and constant road dawg from Queens, is holding the blunt. “Fuck you—she just passed it to me.”
Tupac’s eyes light up, his whole face starts beaming with smile. A challenge. He looks Stretch up and down for a total of five seconds before he gets in that ass.
“This nigga got blue carnations on his drawers.”
“Fuck you, nigga.” Stretch passes him the blunt but it’s too late.
“Blue mothafuckin’ carnations. Can you believe this, dream? Feminine-ass blue carnations. Look at me!” Tupac raises his shirt—THUG LIFE, his now infamous tattoo sprawls across his abdomen, the small of this back reads EXODUS, his pants are sagging and his boxers are navy.
“I got on some masculine-ass plaid mothafuckin’ drawers! We go shopping together Stretch, niggas could see you bend over and think I wear flowers on my ass!”
He grabs his 40; by now Mopreme is doubled over and the engineer is in stitches.
“That did it for me, all niggas from Queens wear flowers on they drawers!”
“Aw nigga, suck my dick.” Stretch is a laid back brother but he’s had enough.
Tupac throws his head back and laughs, a big beautiful infectious laugh, and all is forgiven.
“It’s all good. Wait! Don’t ever let me say that again. Can you believe that?”
All of a sudden Tupac’s changed the subject to Hammer, and I’m still trying to peep Stretch’s boxers while he’s not looking.
“How does he do it? ” he asks me.
I’m too slow, the chronic is kicking my ass.
“Timing. This nigga manages to come out while everybody else is getting arrested and shit.”
Naw, it’s his crib. It’s cuz he threw his crib up in the video, I offer.
“You might be right,” then from nowhere he wheels his swivel chair my direction. ” You know what Thug Life’s new code is: ‘No mothafucking comment’.”
I ain’t ask you no question yet, I spit back a little defensive.
“Naw, I’m talking about them,” he motions outside the back-door, to the studio’s parking lot, where teams of invisible cracker journalists are hiding in the bushes.
“Why are you so angry? Why do you smoke chronic? Why cain’t you stay out of trouble? Why is the earth round?’ Eat a dick!” He leaps to his feet, frustrated with the pesky media. “Niggas ain’t meant to be understood. Thugging. So back up off me!”
I remind Tupac that the latest attack on him has come not from Dan Rathers, but Dionne Warwick who along with the National Political Congress of Black Women objected to his scheduled appearance at the NAACP Image Awards.
“These niggas ain’t want me there and they gave mothafuckin’ Michael Jackson a standing ovation. Ain’t that a bitch! How much money you gots to sling at them sorry ass Negroes to get them on they feet!”
He rolls a little closer and confides, “I’m fucking grown-ass women. That’s my crime—I’m a freak! I let a bitch suck my dick in the middle of a dance floor.”
He’s referring to November 16th of last year. He was at Nell’s, a New York nightclub, dancing with a young hottie when she dropped to her knees and did her thing. Three days later she would accuse him of rape.
“Goddamn them child molesting fake-ass mothafuckas, damn them all to hell!”
“And Dionne Warwick,” I thought he’d never get to homegirl. “Fucking dream reading, psychic bitch! Don’t get me started, I’ll tell the real on they whole family!” He’s on his feet again, throwing up Thug Life.
Stretch and Mopreme aren’t even listening anymore. Pac notices his audience is diminishing and changes the rules. “The first nigga to fall asleep is getting hot-ass quarters on they forehead. You here that Mo? You gots to stay up and trip with the rest of us, nigga.”
An assistant from the studio is going on a food run to the rib shack. ” Y’all better put your order in, cuz when my ribs come I don’t want none of you righteous vegetarians, smegetarians up in my shit.”
In less that 20 minutes Mo is snoozing. Pac pulls a lighter from his pocket.
“Who got a quarter?”He heats the quarter with a devilish grin on his grill.
“This nigga is crazy,” Stretch says, shaking his head. ‘Oww!!! What the fuck!’ Mo comes out of dreamtime swinging. “Get yo’ crazy ass away from me!”Pac gives Stretch a pound, “I got ’em!” You saw the right? I’ll teach you never to fall asleep on one of my sessions!”