On August 24, 1996, Tupac is interviewed by Rob Marriot for what was supposed to be a series of interviews for Tupac’s autobiography. Excerpts from the interview are released as the ‘Bonus CD’ with the Thug Immortal VHS.
Tupac Shakur: Thug Immortal (DVD Cover)
Everybody in this rap world, all they talk about is money. You know what I mean and I’m not saying I’m the richest nigga in the game. Cuz Fresh Prince, All these… There’s lots of niggaz with money but I’m sayin’ its like, It’s not the money that I’m bragging about. These people see me with these jewels, It’s not that! It’s for these little niggas. These kids that have just seen me in cuffs shot up in a wheelchair with my head wrapped up. Yet you see me less than a fuckin’ year later bailin’ through this motha fucka jeweled down like Shakazulu! Bangin’ on niggas! I got this whole shit shook up. Everybody talkin’ bout this Westside shit right? Ice Cube started it. I was in jail when Ice Cube was out, that wasn’t no problem. The day I got outta jail it was a motherfuckin’ problem!!…. to be where the fuck you was from… The day I stepped out. That’ s power!
I want these little niggaz to see that. I didn’t get that power from guns cuz there are no guns in jail. I got that power from books, and from thinking, and by strategizing. That’s what I want little niggaz to see. That,… Just for a year, niggaz think, you know, ‘You’ve been in the game so long’ it took, all that shit didn’t matter cuz the rape just veto’d all that, you get charged with rape, it’ll veto your career. I started from scratch with Death Row, a new company. Not in, I was independent when I was 2pac. “Me Against the World” I just bought my old managers out. I had land then. I re-signed to be a part of this for this to make my old shit bigger. And now I got Makaveli Records, and Makaveli is the first artist on that and then One Nation is the second artist on that, and then I’m signin Greg Nice and Smooth… to the New Old Quest, Ghetto Stars, that’s like an off-shoot of the Outlawz. You know what I mean?
I got New Jersey as part of the west side. You know? Just like war. We put out flags in Jersey, We ain’t taking over Jersey, It’s still East Coast, but it’s just the Westside there, There is now a west side to New Jersey. Because Westside is not part of the map. I’m not no dumb-ass mutha fucka! I don’t bang for the color or the land.. I bang for the principles and for the honor…. I’m bangin for the Westside, this is in my heart. This is how I feel. Westside, California, You know? This is where I’m from. It’s basically like that… But it’s really deep, like Westside, you know what I mean? When I be throwing up the \/\/, It ain’t for California, I mean, I love California, but the W is for just the Eastside, It’s the Westside, and it’s the middle of, middle America and we divide it, That’s why I through this up. We at war right now, \/\/ for War, You understand? And when we all get together, the east coast, and the west coast,, and the middle of America get together, we got power and that’s when I won’t throw it up anymore.
When we all together, They’ll only see me doin like this (makes motion) And that’s when we closer to Armageddon…. And we ain’t there. We all still seperate in tribes… See.. I know what Tribe I’m in… I’m in the Westside, there’s no way, I’m a soldier. I’ll always be true to them. And New York, shouldn’t be trippin, they should be lovin this, cuz they the ones who gave me the power to do this. In addition to… Cuz there’s West coast rappers too that go do that… What made me raw is that I’m west… I got both, I’m the future of Black America, when we manifest the best of the Westside and the best of the Eastside and we bring that together… you know what I mean, when East coast G’z have sex with West coast G’z, these G’z being women, and then have kids, that’s gonna be the new breed.. you know what I mean? When you start breeding this culture with this gang bangin shit… That’s the new breed… (Interviewer: United Ghetto…) Right…right… to get out… but right now we stuck…
I know you talked about an article where it said you were not a recording artist, you were more like, you know, a theatrical type thing.
Like an actor…
This is what I don’t like is that my mother told me this, when Malcolm was alive, writers use to do shit like that. Then when he died, that same nigga will be like he interviewed me, he’ll be writing a book about my life. And I just don’t like that. Support me, if you don’t understand me, don’t write about me. I don’t ask black niggaz to jock me. I’m just sayin be honest. You know you’re doing something I can’t do, and I’m doing something you can’t do. I respect you. Respect me. You know there is no nigga out here like this. I don’t have no insecurity about that. And no delusions. Ain’t no nigga like Tupac putting it down. My weaknesses and my strengths.
But everybody know my strengths definitely outweigh my weaknesses. Long as that, I’m a human being, like everybody else, if I meet somebody perfect then they can train me and they can help me be perfect, but ain’t nobody out there perfect. So, we’ll all just get along with each other. That’s just how I feel. You know what I mean.. I feel it was wrong for him to do that because that’s something… because you know there’s just certain times when you don’t fuck with a nigga… When he’s down you don’t kick a nigga. That’s what I thought… This really taught me about this black people thing. I’m black, I believe in my people… But I believe in my people as it relates to my tribe. I don’t believe in no overall, just imaginary nigga… Black people attack me. Not all black people… It’s not a jealous thing like ‘I don’t like black people no more’ It’s not that. I love black people… I love my people. I am black. I don’t look at it in general.. I’m not racist anymore.. I killed myself of racism. You know what I mean?
Somebody be married, like I’m gonna be there, if it’s a white groom, I’m gonna be like pop! But it’s not for me, It’s like I’m a totally new human being. Before I was like that and I was bitter… I that’s why I was evil to those black sisters and I went to jail… Cuz I felt like I didn’t fuck with them bitchez to be runnin for yall. And yall put me in jail? alright cool. I was wrong when I was thinking that… You know, all black women don’t owe me shit… And I don’t owe them shit.. You know what I mean? But to represent and to be me… You know what i mean?
I posses his sole, his and Puffy’s. Let me tell ya something. They know that I was the truest nigga involved with Biggies success. I was the biggest help, I was true. I would write his rhymes and you know how much he borrowed from me. He knows how I used to stop my shows and let him touch the show. It would blow up in the middle of my whole show. I used to buy him shit and give him shit and never ask for it back. I used to share. I’d share my experience in the game and the lessons and my roles and my knowled ge of the game with him. Ya know what I mean?
He owe me more. He owed me more than to turn his head and act like he didn’t know some niggaz were bout to try and blow my fuckin’ head off. He knew! That’s what I’m talking about. And then he fuckin’ disappea re d, like a mouse. If your gonna be a mouse that’s cool be a mouse but for me to know that 3 weeks ago this happened and then 3 weeks later your albums comin’ out and your talkin’about how your a fuckin’ “Don” in your album. But you don’t know who shot me?! ! In your fuckin’ hometown, these niggaz from your neighborhood! And I gotta find out for myself! I don’t even call myself a “Don” I’m just a “Cappo.”
From the Westside, and here I am on the Eastside in jail and I know who touched me and I know everything t hat happened. Thats power! And he even knows that he was fakin’ it. And I was mad about that. And then I’m outta jail, and I couldn’t believe that everyone was treatin’ Biggie like the biggest fuckin’ star in the world. I couldn’t believe that the people were buying into his player image and I just wanted to bring it back to reality. It’s like can’t nobody never get confused and think I’m like a Mike Tyson and I’m a heavy-weight champion. I’m a little nigga. And thats why its so raw to just watch me battl e the lions cuz I’m just a little skinny nigga, battlin’ niggaz three times my size. Well Biggies not a playa, he’s never been. He never had bitches til he got some fuckin’ money.
That’s a trick that’s not a player. That’s not a poppa. So my point was to pr ove them wrong. I took every thing they glamourized and I personified it. I mean he glamourized Versace, Versace? I didn’t call Versache he called me to come to his show and to wear his close and to “Please wear my shoes!” Please wear my shit you are the I’m age of Versace. Everything he glamourized, I personified. Everything he want to have, I got. Jewels, look, I got more jewels than slick rick. Slick Rick, I love that nigga til fuckin’ death but I’m definatly doin’ it. I personify every image that a niggaz faced. I personified it. Because I looked up to these niggaz. So everything they talkin’ about I really got into it and I perfected it. So I know if he’s pretendin’ and I know it. Cuz the same thing that they love about me, they gotta admire, they forgot , Biggie forgot.
That same shit that made him wanna be trippin’ with me is the same thing thats whoopin’ his ass right now. And thats why when he talks he wanna say I wish I could take that shit back. But he can’t cuz you know he commited himself to lying. So now all he can do is act like he don’t know what the f*ck is going on. Think! People have to Think! If this were happening for real would this be your reaction, unless you was guilty. And all this shit about my homeboys tellin’ me “yo don’t sweat that. ” Oh so you a follower now? So you a follower!! Why didn’t your homeboy tell ya not to make rhymes where your shooting pregnant ladies in the stomach ya know what I mean.
Thats why niggaz is sayin’ Why’d you say that on the end of your records? And talkin’ a bout Your kids don’t grow. And Honestly, I didn’t write none of that. I was just blowin’ up in the studio to keep me from really killing these niggaz. And that’s what came out. I don’t have no mercy in war. They didn’t have no mercy, they tried to shoot m y fuckin’ balls off! What about my kids? And they say, why you talkin’ about them kids with the sickle cell? They tried to make me a parapalegic!! What the f*ck is going on here? Why is that sacred? Ain’t nothing sacred in war. I was in Rikers givin these niggaz love. Mobb Deep. The guard knew em’ I told em’ tell them nigga I love them how shorty’s dope, them niggaz was down man.
When they did that they proved that they was little, just little niggaz that wanna be heard. I used to be a little nigga I know where they at. I know they can’t touch me thats why I destroyed em’ so fast. Soon nobodys gonna believe this shit. I told these niggaz in the begining that I was gonna take them out this rap game and sure enough I will. Already people cant look at Biggie and not laugh. I took every bit of their power. All I wanted to do was to take them to where I was. When they didn’t want to support me. And anybody that tried to help them… I will destroy. And thats what I’m doin’ everyone that tried to side with them, or t ried to unify with them, I’m gonna destroy. I swear TO GOD!! Can’t nobody touch me right now. And next month all of this will be over, but this month, I’m taking every moving target out. Because this is a very personal thing for me and I feel like people should have gave me my resp ect. Ya’ll know I was not like this before. I did not attack people. I was not on no East Coast West Coast. I was the major brigde between the east coast and the west coast. Niggaz can’t even call me even when they want, so thi s is very serious. It’s like if america sent an ambassador to Iran and he was murdered Iran got problems and Iran should know that. Thats what I feel about New York. They should know that. Seperate yourself from the convicted. And they already knew it. I got niggaz in jail, I got Niggaz, out there, but its like the media it’s pumpin this east coast west coast and some of these niggaz whos careers are through ya know what I mean, like De La Soul has come out and talked that Renisannce shit and try to clean u p hip-hop. I’m all for positivity, I’m all for change.
But I’m not for niggaz masqueradin’ and if its all over and your shit ain’t poppin don’t come in here and start criticizin’ as your comeback. Thats wrong, You know how hard it is. you know how hard it was when you didn’t have no m oney and no record deal. Why you gonna try and destroy another niggaz career. Don’t do that. Represent by example. And if you truly are living a better lifestyle then you’ll get 5 niggaz trailin’. I’m not sayin that my lifestyle is the best I’m sayin that this is the lifestyle that is the most lived by the most motherfuckaz out there. Or a variation of it. No matter where you are. I’m not no gangster on some killin nigga shit. I’m on some survival shit. If your a girl and you go t 3 kids and you tryin to go to school and work and make it, thats Tupac. I came from a crack mamma, I’m a high school dropout… Look at me now. Everytime they throw an obstacle in front of me I face it, let everybody know how it feels when I’m going thro ugh it and then hurdle it and let everybody see it. Everytime it comes in front of me I do an interview tell everything thats happend, do it and overcome it.
“Thug Life is Dead”
Talk to me a little bit about the process of like jail, You know what I mean?
What first made me humble not cuz niggaz was scared. People took that Vibe interview so wrong. I was not in no danger… It wasn’t like niggaz was screaming ‘I’m gonna kill you’ I was walking around in fuckin $200 sweatsuits in Riker’s Island You know I mean? Livin! Eatin Good, Livin good, Niggaz was givin me love. Niggaz sending me shit. Latin Kings givin me shit. Everybody givin me shit. Like you represent. We got love for you. It was love! It was out of that love, that I was like Thug Life is dead. I was like, when I’m in jail, this is goin to jail with me. Nobody has the power. Nobody is like me… to be able to represent this while I’m locked down.
I thought I was going away for years. I couldn’t let nobody represent that. And I was seeing how many soldiers I have by coming to jail. I was like oh no I gotta stop it.. I gotta re-think it… Cuz I didn’t plan Thug Life, I just said it. It was how I felt. I said it and I believed it. Now I gotta take my life see what I live and what i represent, and I gotta dictate what this is… and then let niggaz be a part of it… So that’s why I kicked it and murdered and choked it and all them niggaz that was rapping with me, I murdered and choked their careers as far as being with me. Cuz if it was a Thug Life, you know? Shit would have happened differently…
I wouldn’t have gotten shot like that. So this Thug Life got destroyed. I came back out with my shit and even then I still had niggaz on my team that shouldn’t have been on my team. I should have started all new with family. Now everybody on my team is family. So while you was in jail, what was the turnover… where is it turned from being like… Just from niggaz talking to me… Niggaz is jail.. Like they were so surprised that I could be in jail. Like not knowing.. Like everybody goes to jail.. The same thing that makes you want to buy my shit is the same shit that made me in jail.. You understand? Like niggaz is like ‘you got a chance.. woo-woo-woo’ But I was like… I understand what they’re saying. They was like… They in the dope game and they taking every chance to make it. I’m in the rap game and I wasn’t taking the chances that I need to be here.. I’m just acting like I could come back tomorrow. And that’s what I thought.. You know?
Because I was raw and talent in my heart. I never said I was the best rapper, the best nothing… I think I’m the realest nigga out there. I do think that. I think I own that. If I can patent being real.. I think I own that. Cuz I think being real is just being true… I’m the nigga that will wear khakis when everyone else is wearing suits. I’ll be bald-headed when everybody wearing braids. I’ll wear braids when they all bald-headed… You know what I mean? It’s like man, it’s like, being real. I don’t have any insecurities… I do, but I take my insecurities and show everybody. You know? Like my mom and my life and me being little… It makes me harder… You know what I mean? Whatever happens happens. This nigga Biggie is three times bigger than me and everybody actin like I’m bullyin’ him… This nigga is three times bigger than me and I’m challenging him to a fight…
I never trust the TV to get my point across. And I feel like, yo, I feel like, we need our confidence and our self-esteem. And that’s what I got now, my confidence and my self-esteem. People like act like I’m conceited or whatever, but I, fuck it, I feel like I shine. And I don’t give a fuck how much white people, the media, niggaz, black people, playa haterz, police, whoever try to darken my shine, I’m gonna always shine through. They can lie about my words, they always gonna reign true. You know what I mean? Cuz it’s my essence It’s in my essence, and that’s what’s gonna always come through and I feel like that’s true about me.
Like now people like ‘That’s blasphemy, or he’s acting like he’s allegiance, he’s like the muslins, or he’s a five percenter.’ It’s nothing like that. It’s only to get out, I feel like our future is our confidence and self-esteem. All this rape and gang-bangin and killing and thirty niggaz fuckin one girl. They all come from a low self-esteem and no confidence. Soon as we get our confidence, Cuz I don’t think like that, like let me fuck thirty bitches. I don’t even want to be in the room when other niggaz is fuckin a bitch now. I don’t think like that anymore and not cuz of jail. Because of my confidence and self-esteem. My self-respect. But in the ghetto, that’s the type of shit that we’re taught. Just like when you’re in the army, you are taught to kill so you kill. You know what I mean?
You’re taught that, by older niggaz, we taught that, that the only thing you’re good for is your sexuality. Now I use that to make money, but I enforce my strength, my mind strength. That’s what’s more important to me now, that niggaz see that this is not no accident. I plotted every single step from this to this. You know what I mean? Everything is plotted. And that’s why the next shit’s called Killuminati, because that’s really what the Illuminati is on. That’s why I put the ‘k’ to it. Like niggaz is telling me about this illuminati shit while I’m in jail right? That’s another way to keep your self-esteem down. That’s another way to keep you un-confident. And that’s why I’m putting the ‘k’ to it, cuz I’m killin’ that illuminati shit. If these mutha fuckaz wanted to kill you, why the fuck they gonna tell Farikan (sp)? Why they gonna tell the Nation of Islam. Why they gonna tell this nigga in jail about the plan? How did he know? How’d it leak to him? Who told him? Who told him the pope? Who? Cuz they like ‘The pope, and the money’ Cmon man get the fuck outta here! You’re so thinking about the money, you’re not getting the mutha fuckin money.
Get the money, nigga I don’t give a fuck who’s face is on there as long as when my face put that money out, they accept it. And they do believe me, I’ve tried it. I tried to see if it was like a white thing. Everywhere I go with money, they let me, everywhere I go with none they don’t let you in. Trust me. That’s all it is, it’s all about money. When you got money you got power. If we unify, I guarantee you if people keep supportin me, just buying my records, just going to my concerts, just supportin me, I’m gonna keep givin money. Like Makaveli, every time it go platinum, I’m putting money up for communites, and it ain’t even gonna be out there. And that’s real, every time it go platinum, somebody gonna get a big check. That’s real. Not for nothing but I really do love mutha fuckaz for giving me this power. It’s within me, but it’s like being elected. You know what I mean? I feel like an elected official.
Like the position you got, you went through certain amount of channels….
I went through all the channels, I paid my dues. I brought my agenda, You know? And people voted for me.
“God Willin’ I’m Alive”
You know what I thought when I was in jail? What fucked me up… What turned me like this? Is I was like no politicians is even gettin’ at us. I was representin’ like five million fuckin sales and no politicians was even checkin’ for it. They weren’t even sending us nothing, trying to make us… They not even thinking of… In a business, you know, if you wanna fuck with someone, you know, you try to… They not even lookin at us like that. That means we’re a threat. By the next election, I promise, by the next election, I promise, I will be sittin across from all the candidates… I bet you! You know how I be making… I promise you! I’m not even gonna be… I’m gonna be so far ahead of where I am now in four years, God willin’ I’m alive, It’s on. I guarantee you!
We WILL have our own political party and it won’t be just for black people, it’ll be for Mexicans. It’s gonna be for Mexicans, It’s gonna be for black people, It’s gonna be for Armenians, I don’t give a fuck, All you lost-tribe mutha fuckaz, right now, we need to have our own political party because we all have the same mutha fuckin problem! We built this nation and we get none of the benefits.
“Some Kind of Sunshine”
I already have famous records, hits, I’m in this shit for the honor and the respect… That’s why this shit feels so good… (Interviewer: Valor) Yeah… It’s for the valor, it’s to be a family… It’s to be… known as something… to get this dark cloud off of us as a race, I wanna… just, some kind of sunshine, some kind of exceptional deep. So we can all stop sucking Malcolm X and Michael Jordan dick. You know what I mean? Like we don’t ever have to be shit cuz we got Jordan and Malcolm X. I’m not with that.