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October 8, 2012 10:45 AM   Subscribe

On October 19, 1995 Chuck Phillips interviewed Tupac Shakur at Can Am Studios Tarzana, California for an article published in the LA Times. The recordings were previously unreleased. Tupac talks about how the United States is full of gangs (the FBI/ATF/Democrats/Republicans), disparate media treatment of artists, how Tony Danza wrote him in prison, how Shakespeare's stories are the same things rappers talk about in their music, and the worth of black people's lives.
posted by cashman (20 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
In no way do I wish to excuse his personal failings, specifically the frequent misogyny and violence against women, but I very often feel badly cheated by the universe when I remember that we'll never get to know what kind of person Tupac would have become.
posted by elizardbits at 10:49 AM on October 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Who can forget this excerpt from Hamlet:
I don't give a fuck
They done push me to the limit I'm all in
I might blow up any minute, did it again
Now I'm in the back of the paddy wagon
While this cops bragging about the nigga he's jackin

posted by Outlawyr at 11:27 AM on October 8, 2012


Alas Poor Yorick,
I blew him to hell,
BAM, glock in the chest,
no more infinite jest
posted by Senator at 12:10 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here's a post from 2009 with a Tony Danza interview about the Tupac stuff. The video linked is still up, I'm watching it now and it's .... weird. But definitely interesting.
posted by mannequito at 12:16 PM on October 8, 2012


Holy Shit - Tony Danza's freestyling now. Interview just got way better.
posted by mannequito at 12:18 PM on October 8, 2012


Mock all you like, but I've recently been exposed to a great deal of popular fiction that is directly aimed at the young urban African American market and I can agree 100% with Tupac that Shakespeare and the stories told by rappers are not far from each other.

In these stories, someone is wronged, vengence is exacted and a price is paid by all. Much like Shakespeare's tragedies, almost all the characters end up dead or in prison and impulsive actions are paid for with extreme consequences. Rap songs follow a similar pattern. Really, there aren't very many new stories in this world and the only reason Shakespeare has lasted as long as he has is the primal appeal of the basic story.
posted by teleri025 at 1:10 PM on October 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think the writing style might have given Shakespeare a leg up as well. Just sayin'

Really, comparing the two strikes me as absurd. Many movies of the week and after school specials cover the same plot points and themes. So what. It doesn't mean the after school special is just like Shakespeare, or merits comparison.
posted by Outlawyr at 2:04 PM on October 8, 2012


I found this single post [reddit] a fairly enlightening read — as far as my knowledge of Tupac Shakur is concerned.

As elizardbits said upthread: I very often feel badly cheated by the universe when I remember that we'll never get to know what kind of person Tupac would have become.
posted by flippant at 3:06 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I is not your Shakespherian scholar, nor a Rap scholar, but I have seen enough similarities in the free flowing use of the flexible English language with an emphasis on rhythm, and linguistic timbre tricks, describing dark tragic themes, at least enough for me to think that Shakespeare and Rap do have some kinda odd resonance going down..
posted by ovvl at 3:06 PM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Uhh... Shakespeare was the movie of the week of his age. Theatre was popular entertainment of the masses. Shakespeare was not highbrow when it was written.
posted by danny the boy at 3:47 PM on October 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also, you're aware of how Tupac attended performing arts schools all his life, studied acting, music and poetry, and performed in Shakespearean plays. Yes?
posted by danny the boy at 3:50 PM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


upac talks about how the United States is full of gangs (the FBI/ATF/Democrats/Republicans),

Anyone who thinks that should move to a street-gang infested part of Chicago or L.A. and live there permanently.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:30 PM on October 8, 2012


Wow. I just read the wikipedia article on Tupac.

I'm having such a hard time reconciling a guy who went to an arts school, played the Mouse King in the nutcracker, and really seems to get shakespeare way more than i do as also being a guy who thought it was a good idea to shoot at some peope during an altercation (the florida off duty cop incident).

People are insanely complex.

Ive never really listened to his stuff intentionally but I think im gonna check out some of it and actually listen.

i like his synopsis of macbeth tho. Gonna have to share that with my theatre friends.
posted by sio42 at 7:18 PM on October 8, 2012


Many movies of the week and after school specials cover the same plot points and themes. So what. It doesn't mean the after school special is just like Shakespeare, or merits comparison.

This argument is a model of dismissive speciousness. I salute you.
posted by elizardbits at 9:53 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyone who thinks that should move to a street-gang infested part of Chicago or L.A. and live there permanently.

Umm. Are you saying that Tupac didn't understand gang life?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:42 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The recordings were previously unreleased.

Previously unreleased 2Pac recordings?
I'm not sure I believe that.
posted by Mezentian at 3:43 AM on October 9, 2012


This argument is a model of dismissive speciousness. I salute you.

I would salute you back if I knew what the heck you were saying.
posted by Outlawyr at 7:45 AM on October 9, 2012


Previously unreleased 2Pac recordings?
I'm not sure I believe that.


I can't be the only one who's troubled by the fact that Tupac has apparently done a lot more than many of us here in the past 16 years, even with our seeming advantage of actually having been alive.
posted by psoas at 1:23 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I very often feel badly cheated by the universe when I remember that we'll never get to know what kind of person Tupac would have become.

I have a harder time swallowing this sort of statement about people who met their ends through a chain of events they helped set up than someone who got taken out by a bad bit of luck. Shot up and a prison term later, not like anyone without a self-destructive streak would have not perhaps looked to amend their ways. He didn't and that same energy that pushed him towards bad associations and short sighted behavior no doubt fueled his music. In terms of longevity his death at his career apex may have been one of the best things going. He'll be 25 forever now and like all musicians who Pinchot young we'll never have to see the creative slide that overcomes nearly everyone.

Without having been shot down I expect he and Biggie would be about as currently relevant as any other bigassed pop star who had their seven and out, maybe less as rap seems to eat its own with an accelerated pace. Project, see nearly any other genre changing mega rapper since the style began. The most long relevant rappers all ended up doing something else. You've pretty much got Dre, Cube and Ice T who pushed It past a decade.

I think for Pac, martyr fantasies aside, early dead is what he was going to become.

West west, y'all.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 9:12 AM on October 10, 2012


The most long relevant rappers all ended up doing something else. You've pretty much got Dre, Cube and Ice T who pushed It past a decade.

Dr Dre is known more for his production (and line of headphones I guess) than his rapping. Same for Ice Cube as an actor. Not sure why you included Ice T there.

There's a few others you seem to have overlooked. Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Master P, Eminem, 50 Cent, Kanye West, Chuck D, RZA, Beastie Boys....
posted by mannequito at 3:26 PM on October 10, 2012


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