People often forget that freedom and health are the two things we should cherish the most. For former prison convict Mutulu Shakur, however, the meaning, which lies between both words is surely as clear as day. In December 2022 Tupac Shakur’s stepfather was finally released from prison, having served 36 years out of a 60-year sentence for multiple charges – bank robbery, armed bank robbery, bank robbery murder and others. To make things worse, Mutulu developed a dangerous blood cancer over the last few years, meaning his time on earth might just be numbered.
“I am receiving excellent care in two categories — Western oncology and holistic natural therapies. I don’t take this freedom for granted.”
Freedom, however, can certainly help his cause. Upon being released the former Black Panther movement activist shared his joy of just being able to once again be part of the free community and be side by side with his family – 6 children and 3 grandchildren. Mopreme Shakur, one of his sons, noted that being back at home has made his health condition improve as well, as Mutulu has gained 10 pounds in just a few days.
“I’m so happy to be free,” Shakur, Tupac Shakur’s stepfather, told NBC News. “I fought hard every day that I was incarcerated. I have a lot to do, hoping that society gives me another swing at it. But my life is an example of what could happen. I am very hopeful.”
The battle for Shakur to be released wasn’t half easy, however. An activist group had been trying to advocate for his freedom for sometime, but the authorities sited that his previous crimes were far too socially dangerous for him to be freed. In May, 2022, doctors sited that Shakur has less than 6 months of life, admitting that his treatment was no longer affecting the illness. That still wasn’t enough for Mutulu to be set free. Finally, around October it was ajudged that Tupac’s stepfather was no longer in any sort of physical condition to commit any sort of crimes, making his stay in prison pointless.
It is still unclear how much time among the living Mutulu actually has, but he’s not wasting any of it. Mopreme Shakur explains that his father is spending as much time as possible with his relatives, catching up after all these years, whilst also going on a “food tour” around the USA, in order to try out new types of food, which he didn’t have access to over the last three and a half decades. Mutulu admits how proud he is of all of his children and grandchildren, who have managed to become great citizens, without being tainted by his own past.
Along with enjoying time with family, Shakur has spent the last few weeks on a “food tour,” trying different foods he didn’t have access to while in prison, his son said. “Everyone’s bringing him bean pies from every direction!” Mopreme said.
Many activists nowadays feel that Mutulu Shakur was merely being used as a political prisoner, in order to scare off other black revolutionists in the 80s and 90s. Shakur was found incarcerated on accusations of rackeeting, bank robbery, bank robbery murder and armed bank robbery. In 1981 he was allegedly the leader of a group that attacked a armed truck, killing two policemen and a guard in the process. Many, however, think that his work as part of the Black Panther movement was what made authorities describe him as especially dangerous.
Shakur’s story is quite inspirational, seeing as he’s 72 and struck by blood cancer, yet still managed to get his freedom back and spend his final days in the company of his most loved ones. Maybe a peaceful end to a rigorous persona.
“It’s been a great, great day, in 38 years of life, that I have had an opportunity to hug and nestle with my six children and three grandchildren,” he said. “I am so proud of them, that they have survived and are presently in good physical and, more importantly, mental strength in light of what my life has caused them. They’re very productive citizens that have not been tainted by the politics of my issues.”
Tupac Shakur was one of the most iconic and influential rappers of all time. His music has captivated generations and his legacy will live on forever. But what many fans do not know is that Tupac had a secret passion for boxing.
This led him to visit some of Las Vegas’s most famous casinos where he could watch world-class fights. In this article, we will look at how Tupac’s love for boxing influenced his decision to visit casinos during his lifetime. We will also explore how those experiences have affected his life.
Who was Tupac Shakur?
Tupac was born in New York City on the 16th of June, 1971. He was a world-renowned rapper, actor, and social activist. And to this day he is remembered fondly as one of the most successful, albeit controversial, and respected artists of his generation.
He was raised in the Bronx by his mother, Afeni Shakur, who was a member of the Black Panther Party. Tupac’s life was full of struggle and hardship. He experienced racism, poverty, and violence on a daily basis.
And in spite of his criminal past, Tupac became a role model for many young people with his positive messages about standing up to oppression and achieving success. He was also an outspoken critic of the government and its policies toward African Americans.
He released five studio albums between 1991 and 1996, all of which were certified platinum or multi-platinum by the RIAA. Tupac’s music addressed social issues such as police brutality, racism, and poverty.
Tupac’s Love of Boxing
The history of hip-hop and boxing are certainly deeply intertwined, with many rappers featuring lyrics about boxing matches most of us have never even heard of. Of course, a great example of this is Tupac who was well known to enjoy a good boxing match and was close friends with the famous boxer, Mike Tyson.
In fact, it was his very love for boxing that led him to visit casinos, where he would go to watch the sport in question and of course enjoy the games the casino provided. After all, who could help themselves from playing a game if you are in Las Vegas? Especially, if you already are a fan of playing strategy games in brick-and-mortar casinos or competing for high prize tournaments at Ignition.
Iconic Boxing Matches Tupac Attended
There are multiple great matches that Tupac was seen at, however, some are more memorable than others. One example is of course the Riddick Bowe vs Evander Holyfield fight that Tupac attended on the 4th of November 1995 in Caesars Palace. It was one of the most highly anticipated fights of 1995, and the final match between the two.
The fight lived up to the hype, as both men fought tooth and nail for the duration of the match. In the end, it was Bowe who emerged victorious, winning by 8th round technical knockout. Afterward, the rapper went on to perform at Club 662.
Of course, we would be remiss not to mention the last match that Tupac Shakur saw. On the 7th of September 1996, Bruce Seldon took on Mike Tyson in a fight for the WBA Heavyweight title.
In one of the shortest Heavyweight championship fights in history, Seldon was knocked down in the first round. Tyson went on to win the WBA Heavyweight title, while Seldon’s boxing career came to an end.
After the match, close friend Mike Tyson was seen celebrating and hugging Tupac, however, only hours later Tupac was shot in a drive-by shooting. Tupac was then taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, however, he died six days later at the age of 25 in the ICU.
To this day, the full details of his death remain shrouded in mystery and have spawned numerous conspiracy theories.
It is clear that Tupac Shakur’s love for boxing had a tremendous impact on his life. Although it was only one of many facets of Tupac’s life and artistry, it will always remain an integral part of his history.
Tupac Shakur was an inspiration to following artists and was someone who revolutionized our perception of who a rapper should be. He was able to embody a poet, a gangster, and an activist all at once. It was likely this that helped him be someone who was able to garner deep respect from so many people.
And with his help, rap was becoming a respected art form, this is of course mainly due to his lyrics that addressed real-life social issues that plagued many areas of the US. While he was a complicated human who embodied many negative and positive traits, we cannot dispute the fact that the world would not have been the same without him, especially the world of hip-hop and rap.
Music is a powerful force for change and expression, with artists using their work to speak about everything from politics to relationships. But did you know that music has also been used as a tool of oppression? From the early 20th century up until today, racism has prevented many black artists from getting their songs heard by mainstream audiences or even getting played on radio stations, which can make it harder for them to reach fame and fortune. Let’s look at some examples of how different genres have experienced these issues over time.
The early 20th century featured a growing number of black artists, but black and white artists were treated differently.
The early 20th century was a time of change as racial segregation became more common in America. It was also the beginning of what we know today as the “music industry”, with the advent of radio stations and record labels. This combination created an environment in which black artists were treated differently from white musicians – for example, they could not perform on stage with their peers or have their own record labels and therefore struggled to succeed in these industries until recent decades. this is now being written about in many newspapers, magazines, essays on racial profiling and even films are being made!
The Great Migration of Nations is another important event that took place during this period of time. It was a mass migration of African Americans from the South to northern cities, where they hoped to find better opportunities for education and work. This migration led to increased tensions between white Americans and blacks, which ultimately fueled the rise of racism in America.
As you can see, the beginning of the 20th century was a time of change and conflict. This was also the period when African Americans began to make their presence felt in America and that is why it is so important to know about it.
Segregation laws prevented black and white musicians from performing together.
In the early 20th century, segregation laws in the United States prevented black and white musicians from performing together. This prevented many jazz musicians from reaching their full potential as performers because they couldn’t play with their idols or collaborate with other talented artists who were of different races.
Jazz music is an art form that has been around for many years, but it took a long time to become what it is today. The first people who played jazz were African Americans, who created the musical style in the early 20th century. At this time, segregation laws prevented black and white musicians from performing together.
This prevented many jazz musicians from reaching their full potential as performers because they couldn’t play with their idols or collaborate with other talented artists who were of different races.
A social change helped to reverse that segregation.
The civil rights movement, women’s movement, and anti-war protests all helped to bring about a change in attitudes about race and gender. The counterculture movements of the 1960s and 70s also contributed by challenging traditional values and norms related to sexuality. In addition, there was an increase in immigration from non-European countries during this time period which added to this social change as well; immigrants brought with them their own music traditions which were often different from those that had been previously popularized by white artists like Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash.
In addition, some have argued that the economic boom of the 1960s and 70s contributed to a new openness in American society. During these decades, many Americans experienced a short-term increase in their standard of living due to the post-war economic boom.
These economic gains led to a rise in consumerism and an increase in leisure time for many Americans. These factors may have contributed to the growing popularity of rock music, which was often associated with these trends.
The counterculture movement of the 1960s also contributed to the popularity of rock music in America. The counterculture movement was a reaction against traditional values and norms related to sexuality and race. This movement promoted new ideas about what it meant to be an American; one example was the “hippie” lifestyle which emphasized social equality, peace, and love rather than materialism and consumerism.
The popularity of rock music in America also reflected larger changes in American society during this period. The 1960s were a time when many Americans were questioning their beliefs about politics, race relations, gender roles, sexuality, and other aspects of life. These questions led to social movements like the Civil Rights Movement and the women’s rights movement.
It also led to the development of new musical genres like pop rock, folk rock, and psychedelic rock. Some examples include the Beach Boys, The Beatles and Bob Dylan.
The Beach Boys were a popular rock band from California. They released their first album in 1961 and continued to release albums until 1970. In the 1960s, they were one of the most successful groups in America behind The Beatles. Their music was very distinct because it combined different genres such as surf rock, pop rock and R&B into one cohesive sound which is known as “California Sound” today.
The Beatles were also a popular band during this time. They released their first album in 1963, and continued to release albums until 1970. They are considered one of the most successful groups of all time because they sold over 800 million records worldwide.
At the same time, some radio stations were hesitant to play music by black artists.
The problem was that they couldn’t tell the difference between white and black music. This caused them to worry that if they played a song by a black artist, then their audience would think it was awful – even though it might actually be good!
Similarly, some radio stations were hesitant to play music by women artists because they worried about being associated with feminism or being seen as “too liberal.” Some even refused to play songs written or performed by men because those artists might be gay (or alternatively: “flamboyantly heterosexual”). And finally, there were also some who simply didn’t like any kind of music at all!
The result was that many artists found themselves unable to get their songs on the air. They had no way of getting their music heard by the public and, thus, no way of making money.
The solution was simple: if radio stations couldn’t tell the difference between good and bad music, then they should play more of it. If they were worried about being associated with feminism or being seen as “too liberal,” then they should just play music by men (and women) artists who weren’t feminists or liberals. And finally, there were also some who simply didn’t like any kind of music at all! The result was that many artists found themselves unable to get their songs on the air. They had no way of getting their music heard by the public and, thus, no way of making money.
Some labels actively suppressed black artists’ work.
It’s important to note that some labels were racist, and thus refused to sign black artists. The most famous example of this is Motown Records, which was founded by Berry Gordy Jr. in Detroit in 1959 with the express purpose of recording and promoting African-American artists. However, it wasn’t until 1964 that Motown really took off as an industry force–and even then it wasn’t until 1968 that they had their first crossover hit with Diana Ross’ “Love Child.”
But even after this breakthrough success (which came about because Motown finally decided to play ball with white radio stations), there were still plenty of other labels who wouldn’t touch anything remotely resembling soul or funk music with a ten-foot pole–or even a four-inch one!
And that’s the difference between Motown and Stax. Motown was founded on the principle of recording black music and promoting black artists, while Stax Records was founded by two white men as a way to make money off of black people’s culture (and they did so very well).
When Stax Records first started out, it was primarily a gospel label that focused on promoting the music of Sam Cooke and other black gospel singers. Then in 1959, Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton bought the company and started recording secular music as well (although they still kept their focus on black artists).
The first hit single to come out of Stax Records was “Last Night” by Mar-Keys in 1961. It didn’t make much of an impact on the charts (it only reached #86 on Billboard’s Hot 100), but it did put the label on the map. And after that, Stax continued to release a series of hits from artists like Otis Redding and Booker T & The MG’s.
But Motown Records was founded just three years before Stax Records, in 1959. And when it first started out, it was primarily a gospel label that focused on promoting the music of Sam Cooke and other black gospel singers. Then in 1961 (just two years after Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton bought Stax Records), Berry Gordy Jr. came along with his vision for a new kind of record company–one that would focus on recording black music and promoting black artists.
He was inspired by his uncle, who owned a record company called Vee-Jay Records. The company had some hits during the 1950s and 1960s, but it eventually went bankrupt in 1966.
Racism still affects who gets to be at the top in the music industry
Still, there are some who believe that racism is no longer an issue in the music industry. In fact, several recent studies have found that black artists are more likely to be stereotyped as violent or sexual than their white counterparts. And while this may not seem like much of a problem on its face–after all, what’s wrong with being sexual? It’s important to remember how these stereotypes can affect who gets to be at the top of your industry and how they’re perceived by outsiders.
As we’ve seen throughout history, when people have fewer opportunities for success within a given field (or if they’re perceived as less talented), then it becomes easier for those with power over those fields to maintain their positions and control over what happens within them through various means like hiring practices and promotion decisions.
This happens in the music industry when black artists are stereotyped as violent or sexual and then given fewer opportunities for success and exposure. This is also why it’s important to have more people of color in positions of power within a given field to ensure that these biases don’t affect who gets to be at the top of your industry and how they’re perceived by outsiders.
Music is a powerful medium for expression, but it can also be used as a way to express prejudice and hate. Even though music may not seem like an obvious place for racism or bias, it turns out that there’s actually quite a bit of history behind racist lyrics in popular songs.
Hip Hop has come a long way since its main inception around the 1970s. Mainly credited to starting in New York City by a diverse group of cultures, Hip Hop was known for its rhythmic beats made by DJs and its creative lyrics characterized as rapping.
But since the 1970s, Hip Hop has evolved into many subcultures taking creative turns every which way. Old-school hip hop is a far cry from new-school hip hop, which is still different from rapping, trap, and gangsta rap.
Why is it important to differentiate hip-hop subcultures? Because music, particularly hip hop, has a deep history with those who create the music. Let’s take a deeper look at these subgenres and their impact on today’s hip-hop industry.
The Old School Era
Afrika Bambaataa, a community leader from South Bronx, was the first to coin the term Hip Hop. From the 1970s to 1985, Hip Hop was in its old-school era, where DJs would use turntables to manipulate music and break the loop. This was simultaneously paired with MCs rapping on the spot.
But known as the original founding fathers of Hip Hop is one other than DJ Kool Hrev and Coke La Rock, who banded together in 1973. Six years later, in 1979, “Rappers Delight ” would be recognized as one of the most famous rap songs in the world, even to this day.
The importance of this era was instrumental in giving a voice to the socio economic issues African Americans and other minorities were facing on a daily basis.
The Golden Era
The Golden Era or Gangsta Rap Era would also emerge in the 1980s, with many lyrical references being about gang life and crime on the streets. It also was a time when technology had expanded, making music available across the country, pointing out vast differences in cultural styles.
With so much diversity and access across the country, Hip Hop was taking all sorts of creative directions and ultimately bleeding into the new school era and the divide between the West and East coast.
The New School Era
Once the 1990s came around, it was considered to be more of the new school era for Hip Hop. The difference was in the lyrics. They were harder-hitting, more complex, and at times hard to understand. For instance, within this subgenre of Hip Hop, there was mumble rap, rap metal, and rapcore.
The 1990s also saw one of the biggest rifts in music history carried out from the late 1980s as East Coast versus West Coast rap became a dominant hot topic.
This era eventually paved the way for new artists who were more notably a part of the New School Hip Hop Era. To name a few are Run DMC, L.L. Cool J, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and many more.
At this time, Hip Hop was becoming a movement loved by all cultures and was associated with particular fashions and even lingo. Funny enough, “Fo Shizzle” and “bling” were added to the Oxford Dictionary.
Let’s also not forget one notable thing from this era. R&B was closely related as notes of Jazz were incorporated with powerful female vocalists included on popular tracks. Jennifer Lopez and Aaliyah are two women that come to mind.
Don’t Forget the Trap Era
The Trap Era was also a part of the New School Hip Hop era but had a particular distinction from other genres.
Trap music came from very poor neighborhoods in Atlanta. Trap houses were houses used for the drug trade and, at the same time, were associated with this type of rap subgenre.
Again, along with gangsta rap in the 1990s, this type of music highlighted the poverty culture many Americans wouldn’t understand.
How It’s Transformed Hip-Hop Culture Today?
Aside from the notable Eminem and a few others, Hip Hop is a genre of music and dance that has long been associated with Black culture and the culture of minorities.
Hip Hop gave a voice to a large portion of America that was unheard and unseen. While poverty among these cultures still exists today, the music we have all come to know and love has exposed these issues and given some economic power back to these communities.
We often see rappers such as Kanye West have close ties to their original communities to give back and help with socioeconomic issues.
Big Sean also gives back through his foundation to support his communities in Detroit. Countless other rappers do the same. However, to enjoy this genre, we must seek to understand the roots of its origination.
Hip Hop Today
Hip Hop today has some similarities from its past but is ultimately completely different from its origination. Where it is the most similar is that there is no one style of Hip Hop.
Instead, it is as diverse as it was in its Golden Era when tracks were being sampled. This is all thanks to technology. Gangsta rap, Trap rap, and other styles still exist today. But many more types of Hip Hop have revolutionized since its inception in the 1970s.
Considering Hip Hop to be a melting pot is a beautiful thing which is why music from Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. is still as popular today as Snoop Dog and Jay Z are. And there is room for new rappers like Kodak Black, Dababy, and 21 Savage.
2023 is already here and all fans of the legendary Tupac might be in for a very special surprise in the opening part of the year. The fallen rapper produced tons of exciting songs during his life, yet many of them were never actually released for the public to hear. Every now and then new unreleased mixes come out of the blue, which seems like a possibility again. The information was leaked by none other than the legendary producer and writer Damien Matthias, a.k.a E-Love.
During an episode of the “I Only Touch Greatness” podcast, E-Love spoke about the fact that DJ Battlecat has dozens of unreleased songs of 2Pac, mainly from his early days as a musician. This is no coincidence, seeing as both E-Love and DJ Battlecat were part of Shakur’s entourage at the time, helping him with the beats to a number of record-breaking hits. This was up until the legendary rapper decided on creating the infamous “All Eyez on Me” project.
During the podcast, Matthias recalled how he was getting phone calls on a daily basis from producer Dean Evans (Big D Impossible) when Pac was a relative rap novice. Damien admits that one day he simply decided on having a look at what all the fuss is about and discovered something that would blow his mind. The producer remembers thinking that Shakur was something “special”.
E-Love expects Shakur supporters to have the chance to hear at least 2-3 unreleased tracks, recorded together with the upper-mentioned DJ Battlecat. Matthias admits that Battlecat had done a lot more songs with Pac, claiming he himself only had the chance to record “2-3 tracks”.
Regardless of how many, it’s clear that 2023 is starting with some big news for Tupac lovers. We can only hope that even more unreleased Shakur music is on the way.
It’s been 25 years since the show that changed Rap. A lot of life has happened since then. A lot of death too. It was a moment that defined a genre, that catapulted a genre into a new space. And for some insane reason I was a part of it.
Many stories have come out about that day. This is my story. It’s a story of the day and of my interactions with Tupac. It’s a story of the politics of the time and the build-up to the show. It’s a story of how the show almost never happened. I mean, really, the biggest show in Rap history almost never happened.
Let me explain.
The days leading up to the show
We had been in talks for what must have been months but every time it looked like we were making headway we were shut down again. We wanted it, Suge wanted it. Tupac, Snoop, and all the other artists wanted it. But the politics and fear around this concert were unreal.
Back and forth we went. It was my boss, Andre Farr, CEO of the House of Blues Sports Division, and I who were really pushing for this event. But we could not get approval. No matter which way we turned we got shut down. It didn’t help that Tupac was out on bail and all these different magazines were coming out with stories of the East Coast/West Coast deadly rap beef. The threat of violence was real and many of the higher ups were justifiably scared.
You see, Marion “Suge” Knight and Death Row Records had a reputation. Suge’s giant-like and imposing presence struck a fear at all levels. He and Death Row were part-bully, -thug, -gangster, and -goon, especially when it came to business. A few years before the event I had witnessed a group wearing the Death Row Diamond Chains beat the shit out of someone outside the Comedy Store after a Phat Tuesday’s Show. Chris Tucker was performing. He was getting heckled by someone in the audience. The guys that identified themselves as Death Row beat someone they thought was the heckler. There was an attack on another innocent bystander too. As far as I could tell it was unprovoked. They left, returning shortly after and shooting at the guy as he lay unconscious. Luckily his friend pulled him away just prior to the gun shots. The stories of Death Row’s ruthlessness were no secret; and nobody wanted to find out if they were myth or truth.
The thing was, while the threat of violence was real, so was the use of that threat as a scare tactic. Rap was being stifled because of that fear. Great music was being stifled. Tupac was being stifled. We were being straight hated on.
I should probably clarify. When I say rap, I mean West Coast Gangsta Rap. The kind of rap Tupac was performing. Rap and Hip Hop were nothing new – we were just coming out of the golden age of Hip Hop. But the kind of rap Tupac and others were doing? No way. West Coast Gangsta Rap was Black. It represented the voice and narrative of the inner-city, it told real stories and was a counter to the bubble-gum pop music culture. It was well on its way to becoming the dominate cultural influencer.
It was real and raw. And it was often seen as violent, plagued with irrational behavior, resigned to ratchet clubs and small venues where shit went down almost every night. Aggressive, volatile, charged with energy, many thought this genre of Rap had no place in the House of Blues. The House of Blues was the pinnacle of LA music at the time. You play here and you’re accepted, you’re in.
And this stuff was not in.
I remember a board meeting. I was 22 but looked 16, fairly new to the LA scene and juggling a million and one responsibilities alongside people who didn’t think I should be there. Just a kid from the Bay who loved all kinds of rap music, the kind of kid whose knowledge of Bay Area rap was deep. Real deep.
In this board meeting we were sitting there, arguing our case. We weren’t stupid. We knew the risk, but we also knew that so much of what kept rap in the background was fear. Rappers didn’t usually look like most of the people that sat in that board room, didn’t have the same color skin. So it didn’t matter that we had taken every precaution. It didn’t matter we were hiring something like one hundred extra security for the event.
It was in that meeting that storms collided. There was a palpable fear in the staff of the House of Blues. And to make matters worse, a few days earlier a few staff members had been involved in a fatal car crash following a beach party.
Anxiety was high and we were told that many of the front of house staff felt nervous and uncomfortable. They weren’t going to work the event. Many flat out refused to work the event.
Well that was it. The final straw. I hung my head low. It was a wrap.
Until it wasn’t.
Isaac Tigrett stood up. Founder of the House of Blues and lover of music, Isaac didn’t buy the scare tactic. He took a stand.
If people didn’t want to work, they didn’t have to. We would find other people. We would make it work. I remember he reminded his employees of their motto: help ever, hurt never. We would make it work. This show was happening. It needed to happen.
And just like that we were back on and everything got real.
Enter Roy Tesfay. Roy was quarterbacking the plays for Death Row. His official title was probably something like Suge’s Executive Assistant but he did everything. He was the direct line to the label and couldn’t have been much older than me. There was a comradery between us, even though we were working for different camps. We both performed similar functions within our camps. We both had bosses that expected to get what they wanted, how they wanted, when they wanted.
Roy was smart. I mean whip smart. At Death Row there were gains and rewards for getting it right but there were consequences for getting it wrong, getting anything wrong. I remember in conversations listening to him as he thought out loud. It was as if he needed to stay two or three steps ahead, always ready, always aware.
“All I remember was you saying is we have to get this done,” said Roy in a conversation 25 years in the making. I hadn’t spoken with him since the show. Over the years I often thought about him and was surprised whenever I didn’t see him in one of the many documentaries and articles around Death Row. By now I’d have assumed he’d be one of the top music executives in the industry. He was never one for the limelight. Like me, he didn’t seek notoriety. Instead choosing to fade away and as far as I’m aware only appeared in a recent FX docuseries Hip Hop Uncovered.
But during that time Roy and I felt like co-conspirators. We both worked 24 hours a day in an industry that never slept. We were constantly picking up what people were throwing at us. We were in a head on collision at the intersections of the Streets and the Suites. And we both knew we couldn’t fuck up. Consequences were dire if we fucked up.
This meant coordinating with Queenie at the label’s studio, fielding numerous requests from Poppa George, the head of the label’s PR, and working out production logistics with Kevin Swain who would film and later release the famed Tupac Live from the House of Blues video.
Everything that was once on hold or being juggled had now been activated. Deal memo’s, radio promotions coordinated with 92.3 The Beat, artist riders, contracts that needed to be drafted and reviewed–redlined and negotiated. Every phoneline lite up. My ass glued to a desk, two phones are my ears. Snickers and BBQ chips for lunch.
I don’t remember the exact sequence of events after that board meeting but I remember my boss ended up going on holiday. And that was when I got the call.
It was Roy telling me Death Row Records wanted to do the show now.
I called my boss immediately. This was 1996 and fax was still a very real part of daily life. We couldn’t Zoom or WhatsApp.
He couldn’t return, at least not until shortly before the show, after all the details had been sorted.
So my boss was away. This one was on me. Guess who just got promoted to Producer?
It’s difficult to sum up just how important this show was. This was a turning point for West Coast Gangsta Rap, it was a hand reaching down and dragging it up to a world stage, lifting it high and announcing to the world that it was here. It wasn’t garbage. It wasn’t ratchet. And goddammit if it didn’t deserve your attention.
Because of all the delays we didn’t have much time to get everything ready. It was crazy and frantic and to be honest, kind of a blur. The decision was made to omit Tupac’s name from the promotion all together. The announcement would read Tha Dogg Pound performing and Snoop as the host. This was just one of many ways to mitigate any potential problems. The official word was that neither Pac nor Snoop would be performing. It was classic bait-and-switch. Everybody knew they would both be there in the building and would probably hit the stage, and if they did it would amount to one of the dopest shows almost unseen. But officially, they weren’t performing.
Then the day came. Sunset Boulevard was shut down from La Cienega to Kings Road. The West Hollywood Sheriffs were staging nearby. The Fire Marshall had his tally counter clicking every soul that entered, ready to find any excuse to cancel the show. We had agreed to start the show at 3pm to ensure we were finished by the sunset curfew. Part of the many negotiations and compromises included ending the show before dark. Guests leaving while it was still daylight added a layer of perceived safety.
Let’s just say the tension was high.
All the staff were briefed about the threats to that night. They needed to be smart. If there was going to be shit, it better not be us that start it.
Ok, maybe the tension was a little higher than high.
And finally, the entire balcony was secured and reserved for VIP’s and Death Row invited guests. If there was to be a problem, Suge would probably be the target. He was perched high up, looking down and partying, enjoying what he had created.
Tupac and me
It was the third and last time I would work with Tupac. The first was the summer of 92, in Richmond. Pac was 21 and I was producing and promoting a concert featuring 2nd to None, Gold Money, and Tupac. He did an in-store meet & greet to promote his album 2Pacalypse Now.
To be honest, I didn’t think much of him at the time. He was cool, professional, centred in the moment. It was confusing in a special kind of way. To me, he was another rapper on the line up, he was work that needed to be done in order to get paid. The cadence in his speak and his frequent usage of ‘Yo’ made me think of real life YO MTV Raps. He had a different type of swag about him, a different flare. I was clueless about his roadie and dancing role with Digital Underground. I knew nothing about the rapper who called himself ‘Mc New York’ or his Bronx by way of Baltimore upbringing or him attending a performing arts high school. And it was long before the celebrated ‘THUG LIFE’ tatted across his chest would be deciphered as The Hate You Give.
Our paths would cross again four years later outside the Mondrian Hotel on Sunset and everything was different. He was in full Death Row persona. Out on bail, fresh out of jail-California dreamin’. The entourage around him was rough and thugged out, ready to deal with any shit.
I was almost that shit. I wanted to holla at him but was hesitant. It didn’t feel like a good time for even a fan to approach him and his crew. But I was young and I knew him so I approached anyway. We made eye contact and as if a switch flicked on he went full Bay Area Tupac.
‘My folk from the Bay. Richmond. What up, Lil Farr? You’re Pee Wee and Roniece family, right? Farr Entertainment. Y’all did the show at the Richmond Auditorium.’
He wasn’t whispering. He made sure everyone knew I was cool. It was as though a memory of his former life came screaming into his mind. A time before LA. Before the fame.
‘Y’all got the House of Blues, right? Heard y’all sign a partnership deal with them.’
There it is, Pac the artist, Tupac the businessman. He was complete and genuine Bay Luv, with part Hollywood thrown in. Tupac was good.
The show PT2
The last time I saw him was that night. The 4th of July 1996. I remember him levitating, almost bouncing as he exited the car and approached the backstage entrance. He was focused. He knew what was at stake, what this concert meant. If this show went well it would lead to more shows, to tours. Rappers didn’t do tours like we see today, at least not rappers like Tupac.
And it’s not like Tupac didn’t want to tour. Because of all the shit associated with rap music they just couldn’t book him. Snoop wasn’t on TV with Martha Stewart back then. The issue was venues and promoters not being able to obtain insurance.
Anyway, we nodded to each other and he disappeared into the venue. When I checked in on him later in his dressing room, squeezing past the bulked-up bouncer at his door, the room was Hennessy, dank, and video models in full excess. His life was one long music video. It was like a scene, but in real life from It’s all about you.
Then Snoop and Tha Dogg Pound rolled up in a deep pack. I don’t remember who all was there. Snoop. Daz. Kurupt. Definitely. I remember being surrounded. At 22 I still had a few lessons to learn. Mainly, don’t let them know you have the backstage passes on you.
The Doggs smelled weakness.
‘Cuz, I’m so and so.’
‘Yo homie, I need a pass.’
Shit. I was completely surrounded. The smell of weed choked my throat. My blood was electric. Fear and panic began to rise. My mind replayed that moment outside the Comedy Store.
Then Snoop pushed through. ‘Naw Cuz, you got them passes out like dog food.’ He looked at Tha Dogg Pound. ‘Fall back,’ he said. ‘cause this Lil N***a don’t know what he’s doing. Cuz, go find someone from the label.’
I don’t know what was stronger. My hurt pride, or my relief. What I do know is I had to charge it to the game and move forward.
Then Suge arrived. A blood red Chevy Impala puffing on what must have been a 10inch Cuban. Security stronger than a presidential motorcade. They jogged next to the Pirus red baron of the west coast rap empire as he disappeared into the venue.
To tell you the truth, I think Suge is the reason no shit went down that day. Nobody fucks with Suge Knight. It was clear that a directive had come down from him that there were to be no problems with the show.
So there they all were and suddenly it was all ready. Sound checks were done. The audience was in. The stage was literally smoking. Absent and certainly not welcome was Dr. Dre. The haze from the Chronic had already made an imprint on that night.
The summer of 1996
That was a weird summer. LA was lit and Sunset Boulevard was my playground. I had just produced a European tour with R&B girls group Jade. I had worked in record promotions with radio stations across the country. I was planning events for House of Blues Olympic Summer Games. They had purchased an old church in Centennial park to host events during the 1996 summer games. I booked an up-and-coming rapper from Brooklyn named Jay-Z to perform. I worked with the team that coordinated the USA Men’s Basketball Dream Team-led Return to the Park event. The House of Blues was launching a touring division and the first tour was the Smokin’ Grooves Tour.
I was all over the states and the world. This was just another LA show. Don’t get me wrong, it was a big show.
(A really big show. Tupac, Suge, Snoop, Daz, Kurupt, Tha Dogg Pound, DJ Pooh, Nate Dogg, Chris Tucker, KC & JoJo, Dru Down, LT Hutton, Tyron Turner, The Outlawz, Jewell, Danny Boy, Da Eastsidaz, Celebrity photographer Jay Lash)
The biggest of my career at the time. But I was looking onward to bigger and greater things. This was just the start.
So I sat back and watched as Tupac brought down the house in what was to be his last live concert. Those first few bars of Ambitionz az a Ridah with the sample of famed ring announcer Michael Buffers’s ‘let’s get ready to rumble.’ I began to relax.
Little did I know just what that night would mean. Sometimes in life you set big goals. Then later they become small victories. I feel humbled. In some small way, this was my contribution to the culture. Most of the 1000 or so people there didn’t know me and never would. For all intents and purposes I was invisible. One of the many behind the scenes who ensured that this concert went off without a hitch… more or less.
Two months later
Saturday, September 7, 1996. It’s my birthday. I’m now 23 and have just finished up a meeting in Oakland, heading to the airport where I’m booked on a Southwest flight to Las Vegas. Mike Tyson is fighting. I’m about to have full access to the fight, about to hear the original ‘let’s get ready to rumble’.
Missed the flight and going missed the fight. Waiting. That’s when we heard the news. Tupac shot in a drive-by. I didn’t know what to think, how to process. My mind went back to the show. I was with him only two months ago. I heard So many tears play in my mind. I saw Pac walking across the stage.
So much death and violence.
Six days later Tupac Shakur died from multiple gunshots in a Las Vegas hospital. He never got to see the fruits of his labor, never got to see what his last show did for Rap history.
Never got to headline a tour.
I’m struggling with the words to end this story. I want to show my gratitude for what happened, for getting to be a part of that show. It was more than iconic. It was a gateway to West Coast Gangsta Rap as an acceptable and quality form of music.
But more than all that, there was an eery prophetic nature to it all. Before Pac released Ambitionz he released So many tears (even though Tears was the second song he performed that night). The reality of an early death was on his mind from the start. It was on all our minds.
Most of us who worked on that show were under 30 years old. We were told we wouldn’t live past 25. I was told I wouldn’t live past 25. That’s what made Tupac’s music so impactful. You hear it in the lyrics. So many tears still plays through my head and I still feel it in my heart. Damn.
That was 25 years ago. I’m 47 now. Double my age that day. But telling this story, I’m 22 again. In that room, electricity filling the air, the crowd buzzing and excited. Sound checks done. Everything is set.
Then Tupac enters the room.
2Pac Different Angle Of The House Of Blues Concert In 1996!
“High ‘til I die, locked until they smoke me, the s**t don’t stop until my casket drop.”
A little bit about Tupac’s background
Tupac’s best weed-related lyrics
How did Tupac and Snoop Dogg become friends?
What weed was Tupac smoking?
How much weed did Tupac smoke?
Are you enjoying a blunt with buds grown from high yield cannabis seeds while jamming to “Wanted Dead or Alive?” This five-minute read is right up your alley. Learn more about the relationship between Tupac and Snoop Dogg and Makaveli’s personal smoking habits.
Tupac Amaru Shakur is among the most influential rappers. One of the many things he hoped to change was how the world saw cannabis. As his famous quote goes, “Stop killing each other, man. Let’s just smoke a blunt.”
A little bit about Tupac’s background
2Pac was brought up by parents who were members of the Black Panther Party. Their influence inspired him to seek the truth and share it in his music.
Tupac had been smoking weed for most of his life and believed it was a peaceful herb. He was familiar with weed and alcohol, as he said that getting high and drinking was a typical thing he saw growing up.
Tupac’s best weed-related lyrics
Below are some of the rapper’s best lyrics about the herb.
This gem is taken from the hit track “Ratha Be Ya Nigga N-I-G-G-A” The chorus is a real lady killer where Pac talks about wanting to be the thug in a special female’s life:
“I’d rather be ya N-I-G-G-A So we can get drunk and smoke weed all day. It don’t matter if you lonely baby.”
Here’s another banger from the jam “High ‘Til I Die.” Nothing is more gangster than this line; it speaks of Pac’s dedication to the herb. It also delivers a secret message that makes fans think he knew what was coming:
“High ‘til I die, locked until they smoke me, the s**t don’t stop until my casket drop.”
How did Tupac and Snoop Dogg become friends?
Tupac and Snoop Dogg became friends when they both went to the wrap party for the hit movie Poetic Justice. Pac starred in it alongside talented actresses Janet Jackson and Regina King. The two superstar rappers came into contact, and a freestyle rap battle erupted.
Their entourages weren’t getting along until they went outside for a smoke session. At first, there was tension between the two groups until Snoop passed Pac a joint.
One of their greatest friendship milestones was when Pac came to Snoop’s rescue on an episode of Saturday Night Live.
Since it was Pac who gave Snoop Dogg his first blunt, the pair became tight smoking pals. Snoop needed some green, and it wasn’t easy to come by in New York at that time.
He called Pac, who said he’d be on his way. Pac came to Snoop’s rescue with a bag of weed (oh, and he also had Hollywood hottie, Madonna, on his arm).
Snoop isn’t the only celebrity Pac wanted to puff with. He also tried to light one up with former pro boxer Mike Tyson. At the time, Tyson couldn’t risk being spotted with a blunt, but now he says never taking the opportunity to smoke with Pac is his biggest regret.
What weed was Tupac smoking?
Nobody can say for sure what Tupac was smoking, but indicas were very popular at the time. This weed type was mentioned in many rap songs of the 90s.
In the hit track “Gin And Juice,” Snoop says, “Rollin’ down the street, smokin’ indo, sippin’ on gin and juice.” Popular strains of the time included OG Kush, Buddha, and Sour Diesel.
There’s a cultivar known as Tupac OG with the following attributes:
Indica-dominant hybrid with potent THC levels
Relaxing and euphoric effects that may help users calm down after a rough day
A sweet, earthy smell with the classic dank aroma reminiscent of old-school strains
How much weed did Tupac smoke?
Rappers couldn’t speak about their favorite cultivars or daily consumption amounts at the time. It wasn’t as easy to purchase marijuana seeds in Florida or any other state. If you look at Pac’s blunts, it’s clear he smoked a significant amount of weed.
Most blunts have approximately 1.5–2 grams of bud. A few of those a day would equal an amount many would run from.
Is it true that The Outlawz smoked Tupac’s ashes?
In “Black Jesus,” Tupac said, “Last wishes, n*****s smoke my ashes.” And that they did. After Pac lost his life in a 1996 Las Vegas shooting, his group The Outlawz took his lyrics to heart.
They sprinkled some of his ashes onto a blunt and smoked it up. Pac loved many things, including chicken wings, bandanas, and orange soda. The crew also put a few of these items into the ocean with some of his remains.
However, the gang didn’t just smoke his ashes because of the lyrics. In one of their puff sessions, Tupac mentioned that he would want them to do it. He said that, in a way, they’d always be a part of each other.
This early business card shows Tupac’s work with the Bay Area rap group Digital Underground (“The Humpty Dance”) and a new incarnation of the Black Panthers. Anyone who wanted to get ahold of “the lyrical lunatic” back then could just hit his pager.
Music transcription is the activity of translating music from one format to another. In most cases, music transcription is done for reasons, such as to preserve a piece of music in a more durable format, to facilitate performance by musicians who are not comfortable with the original format, or to allow the music to be played on a different type of instrument.
Transcription can also be used to create an arrangement of a piece of music for a different number of performers or to adapt it for a different purpose (such as creating a “lead sheet” that only includes the melody and chord changes).
There are a number of challenges involved in transcription, particularly when it comes to accurately capturing the nuances of the performance. This can be difficult even for experienced musicians, and it gets even more challenging due to the fact that there is often no “correct” way to transcribe a piece of music – it is up to the transcriber to make decisions about how to best represent the original. As such, transcription is both an art and a science, and it requires both musical ability and knowledge.
While there are many software programs that purport to make transcription easier, there is no substitute for experience and skill. In most cases, transcription is still best done by human transcribers – though in some cases, such as with very simple melodies or basic rhythms, machine transcription can be effective. For anything more complex, however, human transcribers are still needed to capture all the nuances of the original performance.
Who can Work in the Field of Music Transcription and what are the Requirements?
To get a clearer picture of this issue, we thought that it would be wise to ask the services that mostly post transcription-related job ads on Jooble what their specific requirements are for hiring a music transcriber. Now, to work in the field of music transcription, you will need to have a good understanding of music theory and be able to read sheet music.
You will also need to be able to play an instrument, preferably one that you are comfortable sight-reading. Experience in transcribing music is also helpful, as it will give you a better understanding of the challenges involved and how to overcome them.
Generally, the more experience you have transcribing music, the better you will be at it. There are no formal education requirements for becoming a music transcriber, though having a music or music theory degree can be helpful. In most cases, your experience and skill will be more important than your formal education.
The Benefits of Working in the Field of Music Transcription
There are several benefits to working in the field of music transcription. First and foremost, it can be a very rewarding job, both creatively and financially.
Transcribing music can also be a great way to improve your own musical skills. As you work on transcribing music, you will develop a better understanding of how it is put together and how the different parts work together.
This can be a valuable learning experience, even for experienced musicians. In addition, working in the field of music transcription can give you a great deal of flexibility in terms of your schedule and where you work.
Many transcribers work remotely, allowing them to work from home or anywhere else they have an internet connection. This can be a great option for musicians who want to be able to travel or take on other projects without having to worry about maintaining a traditional 9-to-5 job.
How to Get Started in the Field of Music Transcription
There are a few things you can do to get started in the field of music transcription and get jobs. First, it is important that you know how to read sheet music.
If you do not already know how to read sheet music, there are plenty of resources available online and in libraries to help you learn. Second, it is helpful to have some experience playing an instrument.
This does not necessarily mean that you need to be a virtuoso, but being able to play an instrument will help you understand the music you are transcribing. Finally, it is also a good idea to be familiar with music software programs such as Finale or Sibelius.
These programs will allow you to create high-quality transcriptions that can be easily shared with clients. With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to getting started in the field of music transcription.
Working in the field of music transcription can be both challenging and rewarding. One of the biggest challenges is dealing with the different tempos that can be found in music.
You will need to be able to adjust your transcribing speed accordingly, which can be difficult at first. Another challenge is dealing with pieces of music that have a lot of notes. This can be overwhelming, but it is important to take your time and transcribe the music accurately.
There are also many opportunities that come with working in this field. One of the most exciting things about transcribing music is that you can work with a wide variety of clients.
You can work with individual musicians, bands, record labels, music publishers, and more. You can also work on a freelance basis, which gives you a great deal of flexibility in terms of the projects you take on and the hours you work.
If you are passionate about music and are looking for a challenging and rewarding career, working in the field of music transcription may be the perfect option for you. With a little bit of experience and knowledge, you can start transcribing music and working with clients to create high-quality transcriptions.
Tupac may have left the living world more than 25 years ago, but even to this day, unreleased songs from his prime years continue to reach his faithful fans. This begs the question where do all these raw records come from? Many even believed in conspiracy theories that the great rapper didn’t die, but rather continued his work away from the spotlight. Of course, none of that is actually true.
Most of Pac’s unreleased music stems from the so-called Pacific Archived server. This server featured not only bits and pieces of Shakur’s songwriting but also contained beats and unreleased songs from many other artists, who were part of Death Row Records during Pac’s prime years.
The story has it that upon Shakur’s death, a Canadian label company, called WideAwake, wanted to buy the exclusive rights for Pac’s unreleased tracks, in order to put them together into a posthumous album. The brand could choose 13 songs, which would afterward be put through further mixdowns. Naturally, things didn’t really go very smoothly. You wouldn’t expect them to though – this is the art of Tupac that we’re talking about.
A disagreement erupted between John Payne, and Lara Lavi – the CEO of WideAwake at the time, as well as an unnamed ex-employee of Death Row Records. It all got a bit messy as Lavi was fired, whilst the former employee decided to steal every musical record that Death Row had in its archives at the time. Later on, that same employee would sell these tracks to a multitude of people, making the assembly of all Tupac songs a mission-impossible act.
As it turned out, almost all of the digitally transferred songs from the archive were available solely in 128kbps mp3 form. The low quality meant that many music collectors preferred the higher quality mixes, which didn’t originate directly from the archive. Of course, others preferred the pure versions, since they were genuinely recorded when Pac was alive.
All of this meant that an entire plethora of songs ended up being uploaded online from various sources, rendering the idea of a posthumous album pretty much pointless. There was no way of making a profit from something, which was already available all over the internet for free. Nevertheless, we could only ever envisage just how many more unreleased Pac tracks are still out there, somewhere.
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