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Tupac_Amaru_Shakur2LUMPENPROLETARIAT—On today’s episode of Hard Knock Radio, the late Tupac Shakur is remembered and celebrated in an interview with Money-B (of Digital Underground).  Money-B was a particularly close friend of Tupac‘s, as they were both, not only, part of Digital Underground, but they both grew up with parents, who were members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. [1]  Free speech radio’s Davey D spoke with Money-B about the life and times of Tupac Shakur as well as intersecting narratives surrounding his work in hip hop.  Listen here. [2]

Messina

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hard-knock-radioHARD KNOCK RADIO—[16 JUN 2016]  “Wussup, fam.  You are tuned to Hard Knock here on the Pacifica Network.  Up next on the programme, a tribute to Tupac Amaru Shakur with a conversation featuring Money-B from Digital Underground.  And, later on in the programme, Poor News Network explores the war on the poor.  All this, and more, ahead, but first these news headlines.”

[News Headlines (read by Mark Mericle) omitted by scribe]  (c. 8:40)

DaveyDBfresh

Davey D (image by DaveyD.com)

DAVEY D:  “Davey D, Hard Knock Radio, hangin’ out wit’ you this afternoon.  On the phone line is a long-time friend, no stranger to our airwaves.  We know him, we love him, as the freaky one of Digital Underground.”

MONEY-B:  “What’s happening?”

DAVEY D:  “I’m good, man.  How you been doin’, brotha?”

MONEY-B:  “I mean, good, man, just maintainin’, you know, tryin’ to raise this baby boy.”

DAVEY D:  “I hear you.  You know, Money.  It’s an interesting week.  So much has transpired.  But usually around this time of year many of us reflect on the life and times of your friend, our friend, Tupac Amaru Shakur.”

Money-B-Bay-Area-Rep

Money-B (image by Wikia.com)

MONEY-B:  “Yeah.”

DAVEY D:  “And this year it’s kind of, um—it’s a little bit more somber because we also lost Afeni, his mom.”

MONEY-B:  “Right.”

DAVEY D:  “And I just wanted to get your thoughts that go on in your head.  And I wanted to kind of contextualise this conversation by making note of this:  You and Tupac had a special type of friendship, a special type of kinship because both of you are, what we now know of as, panther cubs.” [3]

MONEY-B:  “Right.”

DAVEY D:  “Afeni, part of the New York [Panther] 21.  Your dad, Ronnie McCall, part of the Philadelphia Branch of the Black Panthers.  So, you all had this special connection, that I think only somebody who was born with parents who were Panthers could really share.”

MONEY-B:  “Right.”

DAVEY D:  “So, I can only imagine.  With ‘Pac gone, and now Afeni, what, emotionally, you might be thinking and feeling.  (c. 10:21)

MONEY-B:  “I mean, you know, it’s really, just heartbreaking.  And more so because my dad, Bobby McCall, Robert McCall, him and Afeni had grown really close.  And, so, he took it really hard ‘cos he, they just spent Thanksgiving together.  And, you know, they would talk and whatnot.

“But it was just really sad because I just, me, personally, I always enjoyed Afeni and her smile and her company.  She made me smile.  And she always said I made her smile ‘cos she knew that I knew ‘Pac in a way, not many people knew him.  And she just loved to hear me tell stories about us.  You know?  And, you know, for me, she just always brought peace and calm to any room, that she was in.  And she, like I said, she always brought a smile to my face, just talkin’ to her.”

DAVEY D:  “Did you become closer to her in the aftermath of ‘Pac dying?  Was that bond kind of strengthened in the aftermath of ‘Pac bein’ gone?”

MONEY-B:  “I believe so.  And, probably, more so, even though a lot of times people will become closer to people, that see you lose someone close to you.  And it’s someone that, you know, knew them in a way that kind of reminds—I don’t wanna say reminds you.  What’s the word I’m lookin’ for, Davey D?  (c. 12:08)

DAVEY D:  “You’re close—their spirit.”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah, yeah.”

DAVEY D:  “Their spirit; there’s a connection.”

MONEY-B:  “Exactly.  There’s a connection.  And she knows that it always came from a good place.  And, so, that connection is like there’s a piece of him in me, that still lives.”

DAVEY D:  “You know what’s funny; I wrote a piece about Afeni—

MONEY-B:  “Mm.”

DAVEY D:  “—you know, when she passed because we did that interview with her almost a year to the day that ‘Pac left us.  And, you know, I had reflected in that piece.  My first recollection of knowing Afeni without meeting her—”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah.”

DAVEY D:  “—was the type of battles ‘Pac would have with the mother jokes with people—”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah.”

DAVEY D:  “—’cos it was always funny.  ‘Pac would, at the end of a concert would, shout out:  Thank you, everybody.  And Money-B‘s mom will be out there playing bongo drums.  Give her some money.  And, then, you would go and do video and cap on Afeni.  But it was never like just a real mean-spirited type of thing.  It was always humorous.  And what was her reaction to those jokes because they were so public ‘cos you all were doin’ them concerts and videos and all the radio stations and all that.  Millions of people heard those jokes.”

MONEY-B:  “She thought it was funny, you know, because she knew where it came from.  So, there was never an issue of, like:  Oh, I wonder how she’s gonna feel.  You know.  I would, purposely, like, if we were in New York or whatever—at the time, I believe, she was livin’ in New York—I would make sure that I did say something, hoping that she would hear it because she would get a kick out of it.  You know what I mean?”  (c. 13:55)

DAVEY D:  “Right.  You know—”

MONEY-B:  “So—”

DAVEY D:  “What were you gonna say?”

MONEY-B:  “Nah; that’s it.  Go ahead.”

DAVEY D:  “Yeah, ‘cos what was funny was I had found this old interview with Tupac—”

MONEY-B:  “Mm.”

DAVEY D:  “—just after he did the movie Juice, but it hadn’t come out yet.  And we were talkin’ about that.  And I hadn’t heard that interview in, like, 20-some odd years.  And it was, like, right in the middle of the interview, you know, ‘Pac continued that joking thing.  You know.  He was all serious.  He was like:  We’re tryin’ to raise this money for these black youth.  We’re gettin’ ready to send these kids to camp.  And, also, I wanna give a big shout out to Money-B‘s mom for running the Scared Straight programme.  Or something like that.”

MONEY-B:  “[laughs].”

DAVEY D:  “And, then, he just kept it moving.  And, so, that was the nature of those jokes for people who don’t know that you all would always drop it in a public place.  [chuckles]”  (c. 14:48)

MONEY-B:  “Yeah.  We made sure we had to be in a public place. [inaudible]  And, like you said, he would just drop it nonchalantly and be like, oh, yeah, and then keep it moving.”

DAVEY D:  “You know; Tupac is honoured, here, in Oakland.  They have a Tupac day on his birthday.”

MONEY-B:  “Right; I found out.”

DAVEY D:  “And I thought it was pretty interesting, considering he’s being honoured with a mayor, whose policies—and maybe you can share this; I think ‘Pac would be shutting it down, you know, gentrification, shutting down youth jobs, and, more ironically, the police killing of Demouria Hogg, who is the stepson of Leila Steinberg, who was ‘Pac‘s first manager. [4]  How do you think he would be reacting today, knowing that he got on it, but also by somebody, whose policies—at least the ‘Pac I knew probably kicking up dust about?” (c. 15:39)

MONEY-B:  “Well, I don’t think it is—you see the thing is I don’t that—and maybe I’m not—if I’m not answering the question right, then, let me know.  But, you know, it was the work of—but I can’t think of the gentleman’s name.  I just found out about this yesterday, about the guy who fought for it, originally.  He wanted there to be a Tupac Street named after Tupac in Oakland.  And he wasn’t able to do that.  But they agreed to the Tupac Day.”

DAVEY D:  “Okay.”

MONEY-B:  “So—and I don’t think the man—I don’t think he knows—”

DAVEY D:  “Yeah.  It wasn’t her idea.”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah.  It wasn’t her idea.  And she didn’t fight for it.  It was more or less of a team, that was almost like a—”

DAVEY D:  “Compromise.”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah, a compromise.”

DAVEY D:  “Okay.”

MONEY-B:  “So, that being said, you know, I don’t think that we can really giver her credit for anything and say if that was the case.  I mean you got—you have to know, when you ask a question like that, if ‘Pac was around, there wouldn’t be a Tupac Day. [laughs]

DAVEY D:  “[laughs]

MONEY-B:  “You know what I mean?”

DAVEY D:  “Right.

MONEY-B:  “‘Cos he would be alive.”

DAVEY D:  “Right.”

MONEY-B:  “I mean, so, it’s like to answer the question, literally:  How would he react?  There could be no reaction.

“Now, as far as her policies, obviously, ‘Pac would have issue with that.  You know; but the dynamic would be so different because he would be opposing it.  And there would never be any Tupac Day in question.”

DAVEY D:  “Right.”  (c. 17:18)

MONEY-B:  “And he’d be [inaudible]

DAVEY D:  “Yeah, he would be honoured.  You know?”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah.”

DAVEY D:  “Let me ask you this, Money.  The 50th Anniversary of the Black Panthers is happening this year.”

MONEY-B:  “M-hm.”

DAVEY D:  “All roads lead to Oakland.  Being a Panther Cub, what does that mean for you?  You know?  With the relationship with your dad and just, you know—there’s like I said.  There’s that unique spirit, that you all have.  What goes through your mind, knowing this is happening this year?”

MONEY-B:  “Um, the fact that it’s the 50th Anniversary—I mean you gotta think, me growin’ up in it—just, you know, obviously, by the time I was elementary [school] age and older, you know, I grew and learned the origins.  Or just imagine:  At five years old, I didn’t know it hadn’t been around 50 years.  You know what I mean?  You just don’t know ‘cos you’re just in it.  It’s a part of your everyday life.

“But being, you know—I’ve grown up in it.  And, being the age, that I am now and looking back, you know, I just feel proud to have been a—you know, in some way connected through my dad.  And I’ve grown up in the school and knowing a lot of the people, that were a huge part of what the Black Panther Party was.  You know I’m proud to be able to say that I come from that.

“And I’ll actually be a part of the activities in October.  It’s October—I believe it’s from the 22nd to, like, the 24th.”

DAVEY D:  “Yeah.  There’s going to be a lot goin’ on.  And we’re gonna have Panther alums and Panthers come on to talk about that, as the dates get clearer.  But it’s good that you’ll be a part of that.”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah.  I’ll definitely be a part of the whole celebration, for sure.  It’s not set in stone exactly what I’m gonna do.  But I’m gonna be a part of it.”

DAVEY D:  “You know one of the interesting things is that people don’t know; with Digital Underground, when you all first started out, one of the visions with Shock was to a Panther-type group.  And he told me the only thing, that kind of stopped it was Public Enemy came out with the same ideas.  Do you remember having conversations around having a real politicised direction in the group overall?”  (c. 19:57)

MONEY-B:  “Yeah. [hesitantly]  I mean, like, you know, Shock told us that story ‘cos you gotta think “Your Life’s A Cartoon” was sort of in that direction.  Right?”

DAVEY D:  “M-hm.”

MONEY-B:  “And, even, earlier, you know, Rackadelic is the Black Panther with the tan beret on.”

DAVEY D:  “Right, with the beret on.”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah.  The character with the beret is a Black Panther with a beret on.  And, so, you know, when you look back at it, it’ll make sense to you that that’s where he was goin’.  But, like you said, Public Enemy came out.  And, back then, bitin’ was not allowed.  You know what I mean?”

DAVEY D:  “Right.”

MONEY-B:  “When somebody came out with an idea, it was like:  Uh, we gotta do somethin’ else.”

DAVEY D:  “So, even though you guys had it on your own, it would’ve been seen as a bite?”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah, exactly.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, ‘cos you know, like—shoot, Davey D, you remember the M.G.M. and Raw Fusion demos, right?” (c. 20:53)

DAVEY D:  “Yes.”

MONEY-B:  “Like we had samples of songs, that, later on, the Jungle Brothers used and this person used.  Once somebody used a sample of a song, even though they never heard it before, and you hadn’t heard theirs, you kinda had to move on.”

DAVEY D:  “Right.”

MONEY-B:  “You know what I mean?”

DAVEY D:  “For folks who don’t know—and I always share this tidbit—some of the first music, that you and DJ Fuze did was house oriented, hip-house, at that time.”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah, we definitely included it.”

DAVEY D:  “Yeah; a lot of people didn’t think you all could go in that direction.  But you, not only did you go in that direction, but you did it quite well.”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah because, you know, like, um, me and Fuze, we listen to everything.  You know what I mean?  So, I listened to Ten City.  And Sleuth was our manager.  He was big on what we would call now deep soul house or whatever.  But the original house music was black music, anyway.  So, you know, we—and, Davey D, you would play it as well.  You know what I mean?  So, I would hear it from you.

“So—”

DAVEY D:  “Well, that’s—”

MONEY-B:  “—we—”

DAVEY D:  “—what caught my attention of you guys—”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah.”

DAVEY D:  “—was the fact that you were hittin’ that house beat.  You know?  ‘Cos I think I traced you down—”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah, ‘cos we had that song that goes:  How hot is hot?  And you used to like it.”

DAVEY D:  “Yeah, and I chased you all down.  That’s how I met you all, chasing you all down to get a copy. [chuckles]

MONEY-B:  “Yeah, so, and the other thing was we were never afraid to step out of the box and try whatever.  You know?  ‘Cos Fuze came up listenin’ to a lot of rock music, that I didn’t grow up listenin’ to.  But if he had an idea: Let’s try it.  Let’s see what’s happenin’.  Or me, myself, was a dancehall reggae fan.  And Fuze, early on, even though Fuze spins dancehall and, you know, African and Caribbean music now, he wasn’t as well-versed in it early on.  But I would have ideas and we would try it.  You know.  It’s just—music is music.  And, even if it was a country/western song, you know, if I could’ve put:  You gotta know when to hold ’em, ‘cos I grew up likin’ that song.”

DAVEY D:  “Right.”

MONEY-B:  “We coulda figured out how to put that in a rap song and, probably, we would’ve tried it.”

DAVEY D:  “Right.  I hear that.”

MONEY-B:  “And not care about being judged.  You know?  Like:  Hip hop just has to be this way.”

DAVEY D:  “—”

MONEY-B:  “And, you know, if you kinda think about it, it worked workin’ with Shock because we were all like-minded in that way.  You know?  We were open to do different things.

“And, kinda like goin’ back to your original question, by the time me and Fuze got with Shock and Shockmaster J and became a part of Digital Underground, which was already under the original Underwater Rhymes with D Shy of, uh—”

DAVEY D:  “‘Life’s a Cartoon‘.”

MONEY-B:  “—uh, ‘Life’s a Cartoon’.  That was out before we met Shock and Jimmy.  You know.  They were promoting that.  And, from that point on, we became part of the group.  And, you know, obviously, the rest is history.

“So, you know, by the time we met Shock, he was past the point of wanting to be militant, Public Enemy.  But, even so, we always kinda kept that vibe and that kinda message in our music, even though we wouldn’t put it right in your face.”

DAVEY D:  “Right.”

MONEY-B:  “We took the comedic route, or the light and easy party route, but would always slide in some messages and some points.”  (c. 24:36)

DAVEY D:  “But your father—”

MONEY-B:  “And kinda—”

DAVEY D:  “—your father used to show up at all the video shoots.  And, you know, I remember when Paris, who definitely took on that Black Panther ethos, your father, who would be there, and he would be, like:  This is how we held our guns.  And he would give that information.”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah.”

DAVEY D:  “So, you all weren’t too removed from the Panthers.  And that was, you know—that vibe was there.  It’d be there, even if it wasn’t always in the music.”

MONEY-B:  “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, of course.  And that was the thing.  Um, just kind of where I came from—you know, ‘cos a lot of times what used to kill me back in the, say, the late ’80s or whatever, when—you remember that old phase when everybody was wearin’ the black African medallions and all that stuff?”

DAVEY D:  “Right, right.” [5]

MONEY-B:  “And I get it because a lot of us, you know, we were raised to, you know—history wasn’t taught in public schools.  So, the only way you really learn about yourself a lot of times for a lot of us was when we get in college; and we start to discover ourselves; and we start to, you know, look for answers and start to, you know—we find out.

“And that’s when, all of a sudden, a sense of pride comes about, like: Oh, we did this.  We come from—you know.  But I was raised knowing that.  That wasn’t new to me.  And, so, I never felt like I had to wear a leather necklace with Africa on it to prove my blackness.”

DAVEY D:  “Right.” (c. 26:10)

MONEY-B:  “I already knew who I was.  I knew my history.  I knew about Marcus Garvey when I was six or seven years old.”

DAVEY D:  “Right.”

MONEY-B:  “You know?  That was taught to me in school.”

DAVEY D:  “Okay.”

MONEY-B:  “You know?  I learned about Malcolm X.”

DAVEY D:  “In the Panther Schools, in the free schools.”

MONEY-B:  “Yeah.  In the Oakland community schools I went to. You know; Alex Haley came to our school, you know, so did Maya Angelou, so did Willie Mays.  You know what I mean?  Huey P. Newton gave me my sixth grade diploma.  He put it in my hand.”

DAVEY D:  “Wow.”

MONEY-B:  “You know?  I have a picture of it.  Yeah.  He was at my graduation.  So, I thought everybody knew this stuff.  You know?  It wasn’t until I went to a public school in junior high and, you know, after elementary school, after the community school, I went to public school from there.  But I had already

[SNIP]  (c. 59:59)

Learn more at HARD KNOCK RADIO.

***

Keep Ya Head Up” (1993) by 2Pac

“You know it’s funny, when it rains it pours.  They got money for wars, but can’t feed the poor…”

How Do You Want It” by 2Pac

How Do You Want It” (video) by 2Pac

Your Life’s A Cartoon” by Digital Underground

Marcus Garvey” by Burning Spear

…you only have yourself to blame…

Old Marcus Garvey” by Burning Spear

No one remembers old Marcus Garvey…

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DAVEY D—[original publication date unknown, sometime after 1991]  One of the most interesting and intense interviews, I’ve ever conducted was with Tupac Shakur.. He had just hit it big with the movie Juice and and everyone wondering was he just acting or putting forth his real life persona in the movie.. Although I had known him for a couple of years it was hard for me to tell.. cause he had a loaded gun on him as we spoke…If I recall it was a 38….Pac explains in this interview his then recent encounter with the Oakland Police Department which resulted in him getting beat.

I had run excerpts from this interview in a newsletter I used to publish back in the early 90s. I had completely forgotten about this interview and had misplaced the tape. A couple of months ago while working on liner notes for Digital Underground‘s Greatest Hits which recently came out on Rhino records, I came across a tape that had an old interview I did with Shock G. I flipped to the b-side and to my surprise I discovered the missing 2Pac interview from 1991.

So today in celebration of his birthday we are sending off the transcript of the entire interview. We are also going to be playing the entire interview on our Hard Knock radio show. If you happen to be located in the San Francisco Bay Area or anywhere throughout Northern and Central california tune into KPFA 94.1 FM… If you happen to be listening to us up in Seattle where we are also heard tune into Radio X. Everyone else peep us out on line at KPFA.org or radio-x.org. We will be putting excerpts of the interview up on the site tomorrow. Enjoy the interview.

Tupac Shakur considers himself the ‘Rebel of the Underground’ [Digital Underground] and for good reason. He stirs things up and does the unexpected. Such a person is bound to generate excitement because they have impact on both the people and situations around them. 2Pac in 1992 promises to have major impact in the world of hip hop. He’s kicking things off with a sensational acting debut in the movie ‘Juice‘ where he stars as the character Roland Bishop. His debut lp ‘2Pacalypse Now‘ is beginning to cause a bit of a stir on retail shelves around the country. And if that’s not enough Tupac is branching out and signing new acts to his production company including his older brother Moecedes who raps in the Toni Tony Tone song ‘Feels Good. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing this out spoken and very animated individual at his apartment where he told his tale.
Davey D
c 1991



Davey D: Give a little bit of background on yourself. What got you into hip hop?

2Pac: I’m from the Bronx, NY. I moved to Baltimore where I spent some high school years and then I came to Oaktown. As for hip hop…all my travels through these cities seemed to be the common denominator.

Davey D: 2Pac… Is that your given name or is that your rap name?

2Pac: That’s my birth name and my rap name.

Davey D: You lived In Marin City for a little while. How was your connection with hip hop able to be maintained while living there? Was there a thriving hip hop scene in Marin City?

2Pac: Not really..You were just given truth to the music. Being in Marin City was like a small town so it taught me to be more straight forward with my style. Instead of of being so metaphorical with the rhyme where i might say something like…
I’m the hysterical, lyrical miracle
I’m the hypothetical, incredible….
I was encouraged to go straight at it and hit it dead on and not waste time trying to cover things…

Davey D:Why was that?

2Pac In Marin City it seemed like things were real country. Everything was straight forward. Poverty was straight forward. There was no way to say I’m poor, but to say ‘I’m po’…we had no money and that’s what influenced my style.

Davey D: How did you hook up with Digital Underground?

2Pac: I caught the ‘D-Flow Shuttle’ while I was in Marin City. It was the way out of here. Shock G was the conductor.

Davey D: What’s the D-Flow Shuttle?

2Pac:The D-Flow Shuttle is from the album ‘Sons of the P‘ It was the way to escape out of the ghetto. It was the way to success. I haven’t gotten off since…

Davey D: Now let’s put all that in laymen’s terms

2Pac: Basically I bumped into this kid named Greg Jacobs aka Shock G and he hooked me up with Digital Underground and from there I hooked up with Money B… and from there Money B hooked me up with his step mamma… and from there me and his step mamma started making beats…[laughter]

Me and his step mamma got a little thing jumping off. We had a cool sound, but Shock asked me if I wanted a group. I said ‘Yeah but I don’t wanna group with Money B’s step momma ’cause she’s gonna try and take all the profits… She wants to go out there and be like the group ‘Hoes with Attitude’, but I was like ‘Naw I wanna be more serious and represent the young black male’.

So Shock says we gotta get rid of Money B’s step mamma. So we went to San Quentin [prison] and ditched her in the ‘Scared Straight’ program…[laughter. After that Shock put me in the studio and it was on..This is a true story so don’t say anything.. It’s a true story. And to Mon’s step mamma I just wanna say ‘I’m sorry, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. I’m sorry but it was Shock’s idea-Bertha.. but don’t worry she can get her half of the profits from the first cut after she finishes doing her jail time. [laughter]

Davey D: What’s the concept behind your album 2Pacalypse Now’?

2Pac: The concept is the young Black male. Everybody’s been talkin’ about it but now it’s not important. It’s like we just skipped over it.. It’s no longer a fad to be down for the young Black male. Everybody wants to go past. Like the gangster stuff, it just got exploited. This was just like back in the days with the movies. Everybody did their little gun shots and their hand grenades and blew up stuff and moved on. Now everybody’s doing rap songs with the singing in it.. I’m still down for the young Black male. I’m gonna stay until things get better. So it’s all about addressing the problems that we face in everyday society.

Davey D: What are those problems?

2Pac: Police brutality, poverty, unemployment, insufficient education, disunity and violence, black on black crime, teenage pregnancy, crack addiction. Do you want me to go on?

Davey D: How do you address these problems? Are you pointing them out or are you offering solutions?

2Pac: I do both. In some situations I show us having the power and in some situations I show how it’s more apt to happen with the police or power structure having the ultimate power. I show both ways. I show how it really happens and I show how I wish it would happen

Davey D: You refer to yourself as the ‘Rebel of the Underground’ Why so?

2Pac: Cause, as if Digital Underground wasn’t diverse enough with enough crazy things in it, I’m even that crazier. I’m the rebel totally going against the grain…I’m the lunatic that everyone refers to. I always want to do the extreme. I want to get as many people looking as possible. For example I would’ve never done the song ‘Kiss U Back’ that way.I would’ve never done a song like that-That’s why I’m the rebel.

Davey D: Can talk about your recent encounter with police brutality at the hands of the Oakland PD?

2Pac:We’re letting the law do its job. It’s making its way through the court system.. We filed a claim…

Davey D:Recount the incident for those who don’t know..

2Pac:For everyone who doesn’t know, I, an innocent young black male was walking down the streets of Oakland minding my own business and the police department saw fit for me to be trained or snapped back into my place. So they asked for my I-D and sweated me about my name because my name is ‘Tupac’. My final words to them was ‘f— y’all’ . Next thing I know I was in a choke hold passing out with cuffs on headed for jail for resisting arrest. Yes.. you heard right-I was arrested for resisting arrest.

Davey D:Where is all this now?

2Pac: We’re in the midst of having a ten million dollar law suit against the Oakland Police Department. If I win and get the money, then the Oakland Police department is going to buy a boys home, me a house, my family a house and a ‘Stop Police Brutality Center’ and other little odd things like that..

Davey D:In the video for the song ‘Trapped‘ do you think that would’ve had the police want to treat you aggressively? After all, the video is very telling especially in the un-edited version where you have a cop get shot.

2Pac: Well the ironic thing is the cops I came across in that incident didn’t know about that video. The second thing is that everything I said in that video happened to me. The video happened before the incident. In the video I show how the cops sweat me and ask for my ID and how I can’t go anywhere…

Davey D:Let’s talk about the movie ‘Juice’. How did you get involved? Where’s it at? and what’s it about?

2Pac: MMM what led me? Well, we have the Freaky Deaky Money B and Sleuth [raod manager for DU]. Money B had an audition for the movie Sleuth [road manager] suggested I also come along so I went. Money B read the script and said to me’ this sounds like you- a rebel. he was talking about this character named Bishop. I went in cold turkey, read, God was with me…

Davey D:Have you ever had acting experience before?

2Pac: Actually I went to the school of Performing arts in Baltimore and that’s where I got my acting skills.

Davey D:Ok so you weren’t a novice when you went up there… So what’s the movie about?

2Pac:The movie is about 4 kids and their coming of age.

Davey D:Is it a Hip Hop movie?

2Pac:No, it’s not a hip hop movie. It’s a real good movie that happens to have hip hop in it. If it was made in the 60s it would’ve depicted whatever was ‘down’ in the 60s…My character is Roland Bishop, a psychotic, insecure very violent, very short tempered individual.

Davey D:What’s the message you hope is gotten out of the movie?

2Pac: You never know what’s going on in somebody’s mind. There are a lot of things that add up. There’s a lot of pressure on someone growing up. You have to watch it if it goes unchecked. This movie was an example of what can happen…

Davey D:Can you explain what you mean by this?

2Pac:In the movie my character’s, father was a prison whore and that was something that drove him through the whole movie…

Davey D: This was something that wasn’t shown in the movie?

2Pac: Yes, they deleted this from the film. Anyway this just wrecked his [Bishop’s] mind. You can see through everybody else’s personality, Bishop just wanted to get respect. He wanted the respect that his father didn’t get. Everthing he did, he did just to get a rep. So from those problems never being dealt with led to him ending four people’s lives.

Davey D:Do you intend on continuing making movies?

2Pac: It depends on whether or not there are any good parts. I want to challenge myself.

Davey D:What is your philosophy on hip hop? I’ve heard you say you don’t to see it diluted?

2Pac: Well when I said that, it made me think. It brought me to myself. Now I have a different philosophy. Hip Hop when it started it was supposed to be this new thing that had no boundaries and was so different to everyday music. Now it seems like I was starting to get caught up in the mode of what made hip hop come about. I would walk around and hear something and start saying ‘That’s not Hip Hop’. If someone started singing, I would walk around and say ‘That’s not Hip Hop’. Well, now I’ve changed my mind. That could be Hip Hop.As long as the music has the true to the heart soul it can be hip hop. As long it has soul to it, hip hop can live on.

Davey D:I guess my question would be, how do you determine what’s soul and what isn’t?

2Pac: Well you can tell. The difference between a hit like ‘Make You Dance’ [C&C Music Factory] and ‘My Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me’ [Geto Boys]. You have to ask yourself, ‘Which song moves you’.

Davey D: Well actually both. Both songs move me

2Pac: Really? well… ok there you go

Davey D:So they both would be Hip Hop, right?

2Pac:I guess so, at least in your opinion. ‘The Make You Dance’ song didn’t move me. But the Geto Boys song did move me

Davey D:Well for the record Bambaataa says both of them are Hip Hop. I asked him what he thought about groups like C&C Music Factory. He said they were part of the Hip Hop family…But that’s his philosophy on things. So what’s your plans for the next year or so?

2Pac: To strengthen the Underground Railroad. I have a crew called the Underground Railroad and a program called the Underground Railroad…I wanna build all this up, so that by next year you will know the name Underground Railroad

Davey D:So what’s the concept behind The Underground Railroad?

2Pac:The concept behind this is the same concept behind Harriet Tubman, to get my brothers who might be into drug dealing or whatever it is thats illegal or who are disenfranchised by today’s society-I want to get them back into by turning them onto music. It could be R&B, hip hop or pop, as long as I can get them involved. While I’m doing that, I’m teaching them to find a love for themselves so they can love others and do the same thing we did for them to others.

Davey D: How many people in the Underground Railroad? Is it a group that intends to keep constantly evolving? Also where are the people who are a part of Underground Railroad coming from?

2Pac: Right now we’re twenty strong. The group is going to be one that constantly evolves. The people that are in the UR are coming from all over, Baltimore, Marin City, Oakland, New York, Richmond-all over.

Davey D: What do you think of the Bay Area rap scene compared to other parts of the country?

2Pac: Right now the Bay Area is how the Bronx was in 1981. Everybody is hot. They caught the bug. Everybody is trying to be creative and make their own claim. New York just got to a point where you could no longer out due the next guy. So now you have this place where there isn’t that many people to out due. Here you can do something and if it’s good enough people will remember you. So that’s what’s happening. here in the Bay Area, it’s like a renaissance.

Davey D: In New York the renaissance era got stopped for a number of reasons in my opinion. What do you think will prevent that from happening in the Bay Area?

2Pac: Well at the risk of sounding biased, I say Digital Underground. They are like any other group. I’ll give that to Shock G. He made it so that everything Digital Underground does it helps the Bay Area music scene. It grows and goes to New York and hits people from all over the country. That helps the Bay Area. Our scene is starting to rub off on people. We want everyone to know about Oakland. When other groups come down, like Organized Konfusion or Live Squad and they kick it with Digital Underground, they get to see another side of the Bay Area music scene.It’s a different side then if they kicked it with that guy… I don’t wanna say his name, but you know who he is he dropped the ‘MC’ from his name [MC Hammer].

Davey D: So you think Digital Underground will be more strength to the Bay Area rap scene because they help bring national attention. What do you think other groups will have to do?

2Pac: What we have to do is not concentrate so much on one group. We have to focus more on the area. It’s not about just building up Too Short, Digital Underground and Tony Toni Tone and say; ‘That’s it. They’re the only groups that can come from the Bay Area’. We have to let the new groups come out. Nobody wants to give the new acts a chance. Everybody wants to only talk about Too Short and Digital Underground…We have to start talking about these other groups that are trying to come in that are coming up from the bottom.

Davey D: When you say ‘come up’ what do you mean by that?

2Pac: It’s like this. Instead of letting them do interviews where nobody ever reads them, let a good newspaper interview them. Instead of putting them on the radio when nobody is ever going to hear them or where nobody is going to hear them, have them where people can hear them and get at them where they had a better chance, just like if they were Mariah Carey.

Davey D: Do you find the Bay Area sound is being respected? Do you find that people are starting to accept it around the country?

2Pac: I feel that the Bay Area sound hasn’t even finished coming out. It’s starting to get respected more and more everyday.

Davey D: Your brother Moecedes is a rapper for the group Tony Toni Tone. What’s the story with him? Are you guys gonna team up?

2Pac: He’s in the Underground Railroad. He’s also about to come out with another guy named Dana.

Davey D: Who produced your album and are you into producing

2Pac: I co-produced it with the members of the Underground Railroad which is Shock G, Money B, Raw Fusion, Pee Wee, Jay-Z from Richmond, Stretch from the Live Squad. It’s really like a life thing-this Underground Railroad. It effects everything we do.

Davey D:Is there anything else we should know about Tupac?

2Pac: Yeah, the group Nothing Gold is coming. My kids are coming out with a serious message…NG is a group coming out that I produce.. All the stuff I say in my rhymes I say because of how I grew up. So to handle that, instead of going to a pyschiatrist, I got a kids group that deals with the problems a younger generation is going through. They put them into rhymes so it’s like a pyschology session set to music. It’ll make you come to grips with what you actually do..

Davey D: What do you mean by that? Are they preaching?

2Pac: No they’re just telling you straight up like Ice Cube or Scarface. They’re being blunt and it comes out of akid’s mouth. If you’re a black man, you’re going to really trip out cause they really call you out and have you deal with them…NG will make us have responsibility again. Kids are telling you to have responsibility…

Davey D: What do you think of the current trends in Hip Hop like the gangsta rap, Afrocentric Rap, raggamuffin and the fusion of the singing and rap? Some people call it ‘pop rap’.

2Pac: I think all the real shit is gonna stay. It’s gonna go through some changes. It’s going through a metaphorphis so it will blow up sometimes and get real nasty and gritty, then the leeches will fall off and Hip Hop will be fit and healthy. Hip Hop has to go through all of that, but no one can make judgments until it’s over.

Davey D: What do you think the biggest enemies to Hip Hop are right now?

2Pac: Egotistical rappers. They don’t wanna open up their brain. Its foul when people are walking around saying things like; ‘Oakland is the only place where the real rappers come out. New York is the only place where the real rappers come out. They booty out there or they booty over there…’ All of that just needs to die or Hip Hop is gonna have problems. Its gonna be so immature. Thats just conflict in words. We can’t be immature we gotta grow.

Davey D: Cool I think we got enough out of you 2Pac.

2Pac: yes I think you got enough

Davey D: Peace.

Learn more at DAVEY D’S HIP HOP CORNER.

***

One Time Gaffled ‘Em Up” (1990) by Compton’s Most Wanted

***

[1]  Your author actually went to school with Money B’s brother, Cullen, at the College of San Mateo (CSM) and used to pick up him from his San Mateo apartment to cruise up the hill to CSM to attend Dr. Roach’s psychology course.  Cullen would bring cassette tapes of experimental demos to play in the car, which Tupac would be working on, some with distorted vocals, which was very interesting and quite unique.  Your author also called in to Elemental Roots, a former KPFA Friday night show, and mentioned this during a show with Money B.  On the air, Money B said he would tell his brother hello for me.

[2]  Terrestrial radio transmission, 94.1 FM (KPFA, Berkeley, CA) with online simulcast and digital archiving:  Hard Knock Radio, this episode hosted by Anita Johnson and Davey D, Thursday, 16 JUN 2016, 16:00 PDT, one hour broadcast.

[3]  Cf. Red diaper babies, similarly, are the offspring of parents who were members of the United States Communist Party (CPUSA) or were close to the party or sympathetic to its aims.

[4]  For more on the police killing of Demouria Hogg, see:

  • “Demouria Hogg’s Shooter Named” by Scott J. Morris, East Bay Express27 APR 2016.

[5]  Indeed, your author was in junior high school during the late 1980s and does recall how incredibly popular those leather medallions in the shape of the African continent were.  They were usually coloured in red, black, and green.  This was part of what is now known as the Golden Age of hip hop, during which sociopolitical consciousness was highly valued and permeated the most popular, and even underground, hip hop music.  Some of your author’s favorite recording artists from that time were KRS-ONE, Public Enemy, Jungle Brothers, Paris, X-Clan, Gangstarr, Compton’s Most Wanted, N.W.A., and others.  Notably, even the more gang-styled artists included socially conscious perspectives, which challenged racism and police abuses, such as “One Time Gaffled ‘Em Up” by Compton’s Most Wanted and “Fuck Tha Police” by N.W.A..

***

[Image entitled “Promotional photograph of Tupac Shakur” by Source, used per Fair Use.]

[Davey D image by DaveyD.com, included for purposes of identifying the speaker.]

[Money-B “Bay Area Representative” image by Wikia.com, used per Creative Commons licensure, CC-BY-SA.]

[17 JUN 2016]

[Last modified  14:50 PDT  20 JUN 2016]

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