In the realm of influential figures in music, Tupac Shakur stands as an immortal icon, etching his name indelibly into the annals of hip-hop and beyond. An enigmatic and multifaceted artist, Tupac’s legacy transcends generations, empowering countless individuals and leaving an indelible mark on our cultural landscape. His words, delivered with unwavering passion and raw honesty, continue to resonate, igniting fires of inspiration within hearts across the globe.
Tupac Shakur’s impact is not confined to his undeniable musical prowess, but rather, it encompasses a wider tapestry of social consciousness, poetic prowess, and a fierce commitment to addressing the deep-rooted struggles of his time. Born into a world of turmoil and shaped by the realities of his environment, he channeled his experiences into his artistry, giving a voice to the voiceless, the marginalized, and the oppressed.
Renowned for his introspective and thought-provoking lyrics, Tupac infused his music with an unwavering authenticity that spoke directly to the human experience. His ability to intertwine themes of social injustice, racial inequality, and the pursuit of personal liberation distinguished him as an artist of unparalleled depth and resonance. His words were not merely melodic prose, but potent messages that shed light on the struggles and triumphs of those often forgotten or overlooked.
Tupac Shakur’s impact extends far beyond his untimely departure from the physical world, as his spirit lives on through the profound influence he left in his wake. Countless artists, poets, and activists continue to draw inspiration from his artistry, seeking to capture even a fraction of the passion and truth he embodied. His music remains a rallying cry, empowering individuals to confront their own adversities, challenge systemic inequities, and strive for personal and societal transformation.
Reflecting on Tupac’s legacy, luminaries from all walks of life have shared their sentiments, recognizing the enduring impact he has had on our cultural fabric. From his fellow artists who have found solace in his lyrics, to scholars who dissect his words with academic rigor, to fans who have been moved to tears by the sheer vulnerability of his storytelling, the reverence for Tupac’s artistry is universal.
One might find solace in the words of celebrated author Maya Angelou, who once stated, “Tupac Shakur was a genius. I loved him like he was my son.” These heartfelt words capture the essence of the impact Tupac has had on countless lives, transcending boundaries of age, race, and background.
As we explore the life and art of Tupac Shakur, we embark on a journey into the heart of inspiration, a place where passion meets purpose and truth intertwines with creativity. Join us as we delve deeper into the extraordinary life and immeasurable influence of a man whose legacy continues to shape the world we live in today.
Big Syke: “Pac was loyal, but everybody is loyal to something different, and for Pac, I would say above all else he was loyal to his black people, period. It was more than just me, it was a bigger picture, always a bigger picture for him than just his immediate circle; it was his whole clique plus anybody else who came around who was trying to ride in the direction he was going. That’s what he was loyal to, and by him being loyal to his people, he couldn’t help but be loyal to me, and Napoleon, and everybody who was around him. Because the way he was moving, in that direction either you moving or you not.”
He was brung up where if he got in trouble, his mama would make him read the newspaper every day, all the way through. Now when I was hanging around with him, he used to be reading that newspaper every morning. I didn’t know that his upbringing was what made him do that, you feel me what I’m saying?* He was brung up with this Panther philosophy around him, but yet and still he grew up in the ghetto with the gangstas and the thugs and the hustlers and the pimps, so that’s who he was.”
(Big Syke Interview With Right On! October 2011 Page 11)
Ice Cube: ”Yeah I had a relationship with Pac. Me and Pac was real cool. Um, you know to me he was a humble dude you know what I’m saying. To the rest of the world he was, you know um Thug Life, ya know what I mean, wildin’ out, which is cool. You know what I mean. That was him too, you know, no doubt, and he was passionate about everything, you know what I’m saying”
(Ice Cube Interview WIth Breakfast Club Power 105.1 – January 2014)
Shock G: “As big of a celebrity as Pac was, deep down he had that same gap foster kids have.* Never feelings loved, like he didn’t fit in, didn’t have a foundation.* He didn’t feel like anybody loved him unless he was 2Pac the character.* Tupac the thug was a celebrity, but Tupac Shakur, just the man, the boy at one point, felt like nobody loved him.”
(XXL October 2002 Page 112)
Mouse Man: ”While Tupac was growing up he wasn’t very popular, he was poor, he would get made fun of a lot because he didn’t have much.” Mouse Man said that growing up with Tupac, he was a little more fortunate than Tupac.* Mouse Man used to give Tupac some new clothes and things to help him get by while they were growing up in junior high school.
(Mouse Man Interview)
Natasha Walker: ”Me and Pac really, really got close you know, especially when he was going through a lot of things, when he lost his car, his home. When i first met Pac he had a car and a home. By the end of the year he had lost everything. He had, he told me he cried to me and told me he had 13 different lawsuits with 8 different lawyers and he didn’t have any money. He was just like living in a motel, no car, just struggling. And this is you know after, well this is right, I guess you could say around um “Poetic Justice” somewhat.
You know and at the time he was struggling. You know, he told me like “I’m famous like a Janet Jackson, but my bank account is like a poor broke guy.” Like he didn’t have anything so that really bothered him you know not to have a nice car or anything and you’re Tupac Shakur. You know you got movies out, he, he, he got all this stuff, Juice, everything. You know a couple little movies out but nothing, not a dime, so you know.”
(Natasha Walker Interview)
Frank Alexander: ”I never saw Pac in a light of where he was worried about something or about his life or anything like that. And it’s really really boggling that he was that way. And he was only that way through his music because he didn’t ever ever lead on. You know verbally or tell me you know like afraid of something like this happening or this and this. He was never anything like that he never had no conversations like that or anything of that nature.
You know so everything came out in his lyrics how he felt in his heart. And what he felt in his soul. And that’s how most artist express themselves anyway is through their lyrics. And what came out through his lyrics, is what happened in his life. You know, as he felt.
He never thought that he would live to be 30. He never thought that someone black would be the one that would kill him. And both things happened and he wasn’t worried or overly concerned about it. he didn’t act like it, he wasn’t walking around like it. He wasn’t wearing bulletproof vest, you know. So what what happened, it happened and only God knew what it was going to be and only Tupac prophesized it through his lyrics.
If you knew Tupac, you knew he was one of the most generous people you’d have the pleasure of meeting. He was the kind of guy who’d give you the shirt off his back. That’s if he liked you, of course. If Tupac liked you, he liked you with passion. If Tupac loved you, he loved you with passion. If he didn’t like you, he disliked you with passion. If he hated you, he hated you with passion. There was no middle ground. If he liked you or loved you, he loved you with everything that he was about. The reverse was equally true. He didn’t compromise his feelings.
(Frank Alexander, ”Got Your Back” Book)
Ryan D: He was real, real, whatever he was passionate, passionate about anything, whatever he was involved in he was passionate about it. He was obviously an artist. He was, back when we were younger, he was the only dude that I knew that would write poems and stuff like that. I just think it was weird. Cause you know I had a rap book, I write raps and he write raps and I’d look at his rap book sometimes, I’d read his raps. He’d have a page of raps a page of poems, a page of raps a poems. I always thought that was weird but you know he was different.
When he came out here, first of all his name was Tupac that was weird of course. He was from New York or Baltimore basically east coast, which is totally opposite than we were out here and so. I always, I saw when I met him. Like I said I was in the rapping and I knew right and then he was the rawest rapper out. And that was in the era of Rakim. I used to tell people, my partner is rawer than Rakim, he could beat Rakim anyway. I could tell people that then and I can tell people that now. Pac was raw back then, he could of did it.
He was real passionate, you know. His mom she was on drugs and he didn’t have a lot of stuff. He was real poor too, I mean poor poor. Dirt poor, with one pair of shoes and that kind of poor. That’s when they’d tease him and tease him and stuff. But he was uh- I realized that he was a talented dude and uh. It took him to get with Digital Underground for a lot of people where we lived to recognize that then. But then everybody had jumped on the bandwagon.
But he was always passionate, he was well, well read. You know he had a lot of books at his mom house. We used to go over there you know and have deep talks with his mom and his mom was deep, even though she was on crack at the time. But she was, she had, her brain was not affected she was real smart. We had deep conversations she was real nice.”
(Ryan D Interview)
Khalil Kain (Raheem In Juice): ”He told me all the time that he was gonna be taken out. I’d just tell him to shut the fuck up, stop talking like that. But he knew the power in that. And if he only motivated one person, and that person is me, and he damn sure did, it was worth it to him. And there are hundreds of thousands of young black men, just like me, who are completely inspired by that young man.”
(Khalil Kain Interview)
Ice Cube: ”Yeah I had a relationship with Pac. Me and Pac was real cool. Um, you know to me he was a humble dude you know what I’m saying. To the rest of the world he was, you know um Thug Life, ya know what I mean, wildin’ out, which is cool. You know what I mean. That was him too, you know, no doubt, and he was passionate about everything, you know what I’m saying. But um, Yeah I met Pac when he was with Digital Underground. They was, yanawmean, they was uh, his head was in a different space. And I think, think a lot of stuff that went down with him just, you know hardened him up. yanawmean and uh that’s what happens.
(Ice Cube Interview WIth Breakfast Club Power 105.1 – January 2014)
Napoleon: ”I think Pac was like, he was like many youngsters in America that’s searching and they don’t really know. Like Pac had great intentions he had good intentions and a lot to his best. But i think he didn’t know which route to go. You know? Pac was a loyal individual. You know, Pac was the type of person, he knew right from wrong. He was a very intelligent person, but he was so loyal. For example, if he signed a record deal with Death Row records, he’s gonna be with them until, he’s a loyal individual.
You know, I, I, I could remember some days sittin’ with Pac and he would, he would sound as if he were depressed and he would say he’s tired of this life. You know, and he wish he wasn’t living anymore because of all the lawsuits he, was getting to him, ya know? He was a strong individual as far as adversity because he was able to um, he was in, in opposition, he was able to stand strong in the face of opposition and things like that. He was a very intelligent person.
Nah, just Pac was a funny guy all the time you know? I, I don’t probably think there was a day that go by, we don’t sit around and we don’t joke and clown with each other. You know? We were just always, you know. Just always like to make fun, man and make jokes, you know? That’s how we was, we was different man. We wasn’t the type that would always be in the club. We would just sit in his house, we would sit in the living room and we would all just make jokes with each other, you know?
Thomas Cox: ”I remember once when I was in California with him and we were going to the Soul Train Music Awards. We saw this guy slapping this woman out in the street. Tupac jumped out of the car, chased the guy down the street, and beat him up. If Tupac saw a weaker person being taken advantage of by a stronger person, he just couldn’t let it go.”
(Thomas Cox Interview)
Jamala Lesane: ”He got all the thug stuff from his mom. They were so much alike. Afeni was a thug too. When Afeni was a black woman in the Panthers, she had more guts than any man in the movement. Men were afraid of her. They feared her intelligence, her boldness, and her heart. And that’s what made her a thug. The same with Pac. People didn’t fear him because they thought he’d be the first nigga to shoot-they feared him because of his intelligence and his boldness. Pac got it all from his mother. Afeni is a bad muthafucka.”
(Jamala Lesane Interview)
Donald Hicken: Tupac was a young man who seemed to delight in and savor every aspect of being alive. He was just alive in every moment. That’s the kernel of creativity…being able to be completely perceptive about what’s going on. Having a deep perception of life, moment-to-moment, is really what it takes to be an artist, and Tupac clearly had that. He was also just tremendously fun to be around. The girls went nuts for him. He made out like a bandit. By the time he left here, he was dating the most beautiful girls in the school.
(Donald Hicken Interview)
Jada Pinkett-Smith: ”Pac was definitely an activist. He put the information in the music. He had the mentality that we as young black people needed to be a community. He was very motivating, very proactive. You have to understand, five people lived in that cat. You had the political activist. The young man that loved to go out and party, get drunk and get high, which oftentimes would bring a cloud of confusion. And he wasn’t always clear, because he was often in an altered state. You had the artist, the fighter, the lover. I mean, come on, there were ten Tupacs in one. He was just a really layered individual. There was nothing simple about him.
(Jada Pinkett-Smith – Tupac Remembered, Page 32, 33)
Ray Luv: For someone so articulate, so fuckin’ intelligent, the muthafucka could fuck up some food. When he’d eat hamburgers, he’d just have hella shit all over his face and all over everything. And the way he cooked, he just tore up the kitchen every time. He was so messy. He was an incredible cook, though—he could make Top Ramen taste like gumbo. He’d put a lot of garlic in it, a lot of onions, some seasoning. That’s some broke shit, to be able to do that. You can tell when a muthafucka has been broke for a while. I never saw no retreat, no fear from the dude, never. Not even fear of death. I think his only fear was not being accepted. If there was any fear, it was of that.
(Ray Luv – Tupac Remembered, Page 4)
Tom Whalley: ”To understand Tupac, you really have to know his mother, and when you get to know Afeni, you realize that they were almost twins. He was just like her in how he saw and reacted to the world. Afeni became politicized at a young age, as a member of the Black Panthers. Her history is the connection to the politics in his music. Music became a way for him to express the wrongs he perceived in life. They were of different generations, but they shared a need to express themselves that came out in very similar ways.”
(Tom Whalley – Tupac Remembered, Pages 51 & 52)
Lori Earl: ”It was never interesting enough for them to report Tupac’s innocence. If you ever followed anything that was happening to him through to the end, you would realize that his actions were always for a reason. If there was violence involved, it was never frivolous. He was never a violent guy but he was fearless when it came to standing up for what he believed in.”
Lori Earl: Tupac Remembered, Page 54)
Shock G: ”He had so many different sides to him. Pac was a cut-up, too. Sometimes we’d be picking out our outfits for the show. And he’d grab the Shock G and Humpty wigs and say, “Yo, let me wear this.” Sometimes he’d bug out and wear the nose when we were just walking down the street or going to the mall. He had a real kid side to him that suffocated later. I think it was 100 percent still in him, but he just couldn’t get to it cause he had so much other stuff in his space to deal with. He had to represent the thug side to get cats to hear what he had to say.
I remember that Pac was trying to get some knowledge about the history of the struggle in America. He learned from Chuck D and he used to fight back from a more political standpoint for a while. Then he started to see the more in-your-face way Ice Cube, Scarface, and Geto Boys were doing it. And then he realized he had more of that in him naturally. He couldn’t be like Chuck D. He didn’t have enough book knowledge, or history, or knowledge of the law to fight racism the way Chuck fought it.
But he knew he could fight it like Ice Cube. And that’s when he decided to let his nuts hang and go the thug route. And that’s when Pac started realizing his strength. He realized that out of the whole Digital camp, he was the one who cats listened to the most. He was the one who lived it the most, the one who had the most absent father, the most food stamps, the most moving around, the most being left to watch TV alone.”
(Shock G – Tupac Remembered, Page 61, 62)
Yo-Yo: He was so political and would talk about how he wouldn’t turn the other cheek. His rap back then was “Brenda’s Got A Baby.” He would say it all day long. And he used to have this other rap talking about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. I always liked him because he was so militant at the time. He was a young soldier and that’s what attracted me to him. He really believed in himself all the way. He was cocky. He would always say, “I’m a skinny, big dick, cocky nigga.”
(Yo-Yo – Tupac Remembered, Page 63)
Richie Rich: ”Pac would often put on a bravado for the friends in his life. But in actuality, he wasn’t a real rough guy. He was good in the role of Bishop in Juice, but in life he didn’t project all that. It wasn’t his natural aura. When I say Pac wasn’t a tough guy, I don’t mean that he was soft, I just mean he wasn’t the type of guy you’d be intimidated by. People think that he actually was like Bishop, but if you sat in a room with him, he was just a cool person.
There were times when I think he did kind of become the characters he played. Like in Poetic Justice, when he played Lucky’s character. Lucky smoked cigarettes. I remember I was on the set and I was like, “What you doing with that cigarette? I didn’t know you smoked.” He said, “I don’t smoke. Lucky smokes.” He was sittin’ there studying his lines and pullin’ on a cigarette. After the movie was done shooting, there Pac was, smoking cigarettes. I said, “I thought you didn’t smoke, I thought that was Lucky.” He was like, “Shut up, dude.”
(Richie Rich – Tupac Remembered, Page 65)
Treach: ”Tupac didn’t have fear of what anybody thought. He didn’t think, “Yo, somebody might feel this way if I say this.” He felt that if he told you the truth without watering it down, you’d respect him and get a lot more out of it. Sometimes I’d be like, “Pac, shut up, these police are about to let us go.” He’d say, “Fuck that, they got to understand.”
(Treach – Tupac Remembered, Page 71)
Mary J. Blige: ”Tupac stands out as a warrior. He was always fighting for a cause—to be free on the outside when in reality your freedom is inside. He was just dealing with so much. He was always making us understand that he was in the struggle with us. Through songs like “Keep Your Head Up” and “Brenda’s Got A Baby,” he tells us the truth. He dealt with the truth. He touched on women having babies too young. He touched on a lot of women not being secure with themselves. That is why a lot of women liked him. He was always in the struggle for us. And he was the only man doing that. While everyone else was calling women bitches and hoes, Pac was saying, “Keep Your Head Up.”
(Mary J. Blige – Tupac Remembered, Page 73)
Karen Lee: ”One of the reasons that I loved Tupac so much was that I knew who and what he was inside. People thought he was like Bishop, the out-of-control and violent character he portrayed in Juice. His personality was actually closer to the sensitive and romantic character he portrayed in Poetic Justice. He definitely wasn’t Bishop. He wasn’t a murderer. He had respect for life but a fear for what the future seemed to hold for so many young black men. His mother had raised him with a respect for women and people…especially people in underserved communities.
Pac was chasing life, not living it. He talked about prison and death, sometimes carrying the possibility of both like a twin. I remember on his twenty-first birthday, while filming Poetic Justice, he said that he never thought he would reach twenty-one. He thought he’d be dead by that time.”
(Karen Lee – Tupac Remembered, Page 76)
Russell Simmons: ”When I’d see Tupac in a violent or rough setting, like some places uptown and in Queens, he’d always be so comfortable in it. Then I’d see him in the settings of New York’s social elite. I remember Christy Turlington threw an event for El Salvador, a benefit where everybody dress in black tie. Tupac came in, and was so eloquent. He fit every environment. The same with his records—he could move the whole spectrum. He was a chameleon. He’s always gonna have presence. They’re gonna teach his poetry fifty years from now at UCLA. He’s a great poet and he’s one of the people who defines our time. He’s not going anywhere. There’s not gonna be any lack of Tupac airplay or lack of material just because he’s not here.
There are people who define the times from a cultural standpoint. They tell you which car is hot, which watch we wanna wear today. They offer a great kind of insight into a specific week or year. Tupac did that at times, but he also defined the spirit of something that’s timeless. His songs were timeless. Until you end poverty or until you end suffering, you’re always gonna need a Tupac song to describe what’s really inside you.
Tupac is exactly like kids who don’t have his worldwide platform, who lose their lives to violence or to drugs. He is a child who exemplifies what happens when we don’t pay attention to giving people opportunities, education, and a sense belonging in society. Tupac is an example of the kids we have to protect”
(Russell Simmons – Tupac Remembered, Page 81, 82)
Pee Wee: ”2Pac was very good at freestyling. And yeah, he was one of the tops and he could do it very well. But i know for a fact, 2Pac was a writer and that’s what impressed me about him way back then. It was like, him and the Deal Funky Homosapean were the 2 guys i knew that were constantly writing, kept notebooks full of raps and added to them all day every day. So, he freestyled a lot of stuff but, Pac has always been a writer man.
Man real fun, loud, wild dude, very smart, ghetto, man, regular guy, not a criminal, not a thug at all. Much more of a militant, than a thug, the way the, you know, media kinda portrayed him out to be. He wasn’t a gang banger, he was a cool dude, real fun like to laugh.
He was really into his art, he was into acting and writing, into poetry, very serious dude, man and you know, fun at the same time. Liked to joke around give you a hard time so you give him a hard time back. Just a real fun dude man. He did not act shy around me man. He was just like a regular, just a regular dude man. You know, like your homie down the street. He was really just, this regular dude. Not this arrogant dude, you know people say, “Man, well he turned out to this.” Or “Was he like that?” No he was, Pac was a cool dude man.”
He said, “He who writes for the billboard charts and something something something and not from the heart shall fade away” Yep you might blow up, but if you got no substance, no good quality about what you talking about because you mean it, then you’ll just fade away. But if you talk true things, they’ll stick around, they’ll mean something. And i guess in hindsight, that was the reason for, you know a lot of people would say, “Man, 2Pac it’s like he could tell the future.” And it wasn’t really, I never took like he could tell the future. I took it like, he knows what he’s talking about things that are logical you know, kinda like saying, “Man, ok yeah if you jump up you gotta come down.”
”So he would say things about real issues, that were very logical and the things would end up happening. Well it’s because it made sense not because he can predicted the future. He told the truth, the truth doesn’t change.”
(Pee Wee Of Digital Underground)
Jasmine Guy: ”While he stayed at my place, he read all of my books. He was an avid reader, but it’s almost like he didn’t want people to know that. He wanted a certain image. Sometimes, I’d feel like I knew a whole different person. I’d read a Vibe article and think, “That doesn’t sound like him.” But that was just Pac. He could relate to a lot of different kinds of people.”
I think one thing it’s important to know about Pac was that he was able to have long-term relationships and friendships with women. And that he still means so much to his friends. If he were just screwing around with these women, people wouldn’t remember that. That’s not stuff you cry about after someone is gone. You’re sad that you can’t talk to him anymore. You think to yourself, “What about that movie? What about the book he was gonna write? What about his future, his dreams, his center? What about the charity benefit he was gonna do?”
(Jasmine Guy – Tupac Remembered, Page 8)
Big Syke: ”He was also known for some political-type shit. This nigga was running around makin’ a movement. Changing shit. So that’s what I think he gave the blacks, especially the youth. You know words are powerful. And the more of them you know, the better you gonna be.”
(Big Syke – Tupac Remembered, Page 93)
Gobi: ”He was a big praiser, but he also had a very, very short fuse and like things to be done yesterday. l If they weren’t he would lose his cool.He wanted his own production company, his own people, his own movies, and his own music. He wanted autonomy. But it felt like the powers around him didn’t want that. So there was this tug of war going on.
One of our last conversations I had with him, he said, “You know, in six months or a year from now, people aren’t going to recognize me, ‘cause I’m gonna act like such an adult.” He said, “I’m gonna be so mature and, in fact, you know what? I’m going to put all this bullshit aside. And one day I might even go for politics. I might even run for mayor of Los Angeles ‘cause these politicians are the biggest corrupt gangsters in the business.”
I got to see him as he was transforming. I always say like, ya know, uh maybe it’s a bad example but it was almost like he was a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, right before my eyes. Because you know, he was, he was changing his ways. I think even though for, for a good portion of time for a good portion of years, his thug image and thug life was so prominent and relevant and uh a means for him to express himself and be accepted. But i think he was ready to shift into the next phase of Tupac. And i think the net phase of Tupac was more, the entraponuer, the actor, the politician, the business man, there was so much he was planning on doing.
Research about the Panther 21 Trial, research Afeni and her Black Panther involvement of what she actually did. Because the fruit never falls far from the tree. Where do you think Tupac got “2Pac”? Everything that Tupac is, where do you think it came from? It came from Afeni Shakur. Didn’t come from his father, he didn’t even know he had a father until the age of 23. He didn’t even know the name Billy Garland until he was 23. So for 23 years, I, I wouldn’t even say that. For 25 years, his major role model and influence in life, where he gets all of his genius. Where he gets all of his power and strength. That all comes from Afeni.
(Gobi – Tupac Remembered, Page 94)
Iris Crews: ”Tupac was a prolific reader. During the trial he’d buy newspapers and read them in between court sessions. He’d read the Daily News and the Post, which surprised me because the Post is such a racist paper. Sometimes he’d read the Times. And he used to sit in court and and write on his legal pad. One day he wrote down some poetry of Robert Frost’s. I looked at what he was writing and said, ‘Give me that,” because I was so surprised. He would always be reading in the hallways when we were in court between sessions.”
There were always children from his family around, and he would tell me, “See these kids here, they rely on me.” So that was the responsibility that this young man felt from the age of nineteen, twenty, twenty-one years old, not just for his sister, but all the kids from his extended family.”
(Iris Crews – Tupac Remembered, Page 90)
Kevin Powell: ”He was so articulate, so intelligent. He was obviously a very handsome cat. He had an allegiance to his fans, but he also had this allegiance to the streets. He appealed to a lot of different people. Tupac had Two personalities. One was really about the people. He was serious and socially conscious. And then the other part was not able to turn that corner. That was the last time he and I talked.”
(Kevin Powell – Tupac Remembered, Page 99, 100)
Preston Holmes: ”I was talking to one of the other actors from Juice the week that Tupac was in the hospital in Vegas, and he said he and another main character in Juice felt that after the movie came out, Tupac had decided to in some ways have Bishop become his public face, because of the way people responded to that character in the movie. I don’t know how true that is, but it wouldn’t surprise me because everything that Tupac did was calculated. And I think he was an actor enough to be anything he wanted to be, or felt it was necessary to be. For instance, when he was at Death Row years later, I thought he was out-Death-Row-ing the Death Row people. He became the face of Death Row. Wherever he went, people fed off his energy and passion, and that’s why he was always out front.
By the time we did Gridlock’d, he was also somebody who had been through a lot of negative stuff. He had been shot in New York. He had been in jail. He had signed with Death Row. By the time we finished Gridlock’d, I’m convinced that he had made a change. I think it was a change he had started thinking about while he was incarcerated. I think Death Row and that whole experience…I think he saw that necessary means to an end. And I’m pretty sure that by the time he was shot in Las Vegas, he had already started to implement the plan to extricate himself from Death Row. He did and said things that made me know he was headed in a new direction.”
Preston Holmes – Tupac Remembered, Pages 103 & 104)
Lisa Lopes: ”Tupac stood for the truth. Being real. He was a tragic hero and a legend in his own right. He represented both sides of the coin. He was from one exstreme to the next. There was almost no in-between. He is probably one of the most honest, the most truthful, realest entities that I have ever encountered. He would call it how he saw it. He wouldn’t hold back. But he had a very big heart. A very, very big heart. It was to the tenth power.”
Lisa Lopes – Tupac Remembered (Page 100)
Snoop Dogg: ”We talked like we were two presidents. Like Clinton and Malcolm X. Like on boss shit. Like we’re the leaders and our soldiers are our soldiers. And if we have a problem with each other we stay within the structure of being organized and being military-minded. He was strategic about all his moves, being in the studio, how we need to conduct ourselves. How we need to act. Everything. So a lot of the things that happened were very well planned out.
Tupac would always be on my side during my court case. He’d show up in court with a suit on, representing. It was that genuine love. He was the type of individual where if he loves you, he loves the shit out of you—but if he hates you, he hates the fuck out of you. There was no in-between. He was a cool dude with a sweet personality, not on nothing soft, but on some real man shit as far being sentimental enough to understand certain things in life. Like the whole thing when he convinced me to stay with my wife and my son—he didn’t have no kids or no particular woman but he still understood that meant more than anything to me, more than any record we made, any chicks we may have got at, videos we did, or trips we took.”
(Snoop Dogg – Tupac Remembered, Page 112)
Step Johnson: ”I have never seen anybody else who knew where his or her life was going. Who knew what life meant. I will go to my grave saying that this kid had a premonition…that he knew. He was so dedicated to his music, Pac could stay in the studio 24/7 for six months and never think about coming out. He knew things that the average person didn’t know. There is a thin line between insanity and genius, and he walked that line very closely. Because at any minute he was a genius like you wouldn’t believe. And at any minute he could be totally, totally nuts. So you really had to know him.
I knew him before Death Row and during Death Row. I saw the changes in his life. He was always the same person but walking that thin line. You don’t threaten him. You don’t challenge him. You don’t sell him a wolf ticket ‘cause he will buy it. I don’t care who you are, how big you are, I don’t care if you’re the police. If you come at him and challenge him, 6’5”, 300 pounds, or 5’2”, 85 pounds, if you challenge him, he’s gonna take the challenge. That’s just the way he was.
He had a lot of love in his heart. He loved his people.”
(Step Johnson – Tupac Remembered, Pages 114 & 115)
QD3: ”At the end of his life, I think he’d found who he wanted to be and he was working toward it. Basically, he wanted to be more mature person who could execute on all the great ideas he had. I think he was almost there, but I also got a really manic feeling from him. Like real manic in the studio. I’d give him a ballad and he would yell at the top of his lungs on it. But that’s part of what made him great.
Pac was a first mind type of person, by that I mean he listened to what ever came to his mind first and went with it so just being around him and seeing him write so quick or make important decisions in a heartbeat was always impressive nonstop…He was just trying to be as real with people as possible without bullshit and if they couldn’t take it he didn’t care, you gotta respect that.”
(QD3 – Tupac Remembered, Page 117)
Leila Steinberg: ”Pac’s voice was—and still is—international. He was part of a movement, separate from the artist, he was really consciously a political voice. We had serious plans. He understood that he was a political vehicle and a political voice because of his birthright. He believed his art was his tool.”
(Leila Steinberg – Tupac Remembered, Page 124)
Kastro: ”I never knew Tupac was a rapper until he came back to New York from Baltimore to visit us. He was into L.L. Cool J back then. He’d come with his friend Mouse, his beat-box man. He and his man would be beat-boxin’, they’d be rockin’ it. He liked Eric B and Rakim, but it was L.L. that he was really trying to be like a little.”
(Kastro – Tupac Remembered, Page 149)
Young Noble: ”Tupac was the most genuine dude I’ve known in my life. The most genuine, the most giving, and the hardest working. He was a young dude and he had a lot of responsibilities. I always think about how young he was when I knew him. He was only twenty-five, and he had so much on his shoulders. Sometimes I think, “Damn, I wish we were the dudes we are now back then.” He used to be damn-near a father figure to us. We were young and dumb. Pac was the general. All of us were soldiers, but he was the general.”
(Young Noble – Tupac Remembered, Page 156)