To commemorate the twenty-third year of Tupac Shakur’s death, MTV reached deep into its vaults and published a never-before-released interview with the artist.
The rare clip was recorded on October 27, 1995, and marked the legendary rap star’s first official interview after serving nine months in prison for sexual assault charges. The 20-minute video was recorded on the famous Venice Beach Boardwalk in California and the interview was conducted by MTV correspondent Tabitha Soren.
The on-the-fly shoot features Tupac getting a $40 tattoo on his right forearm, trying on a ridiculous pair of sunglasses, buying a piece of art after contemplating purchasing a watch off someone’s hand and signing autographs for fans.
Tupac, who was 24 at the time, dives into the tales of his formative years, how his career got kickstarted and what his plans are moving forward.
Less than a year later, Tupac was murdered in Las Vegas, and although his life has been immortalized through a 2017 biopic since, there are still some revealing anecdotes from the video.
Tupac only worked two jobs in his life
For one month, Tupac worked at a Round Table Pizza making pepperoni pies.
“It was the perfect job because I was hungry and I got to eat all of the toppings off of people’s pizza,” he admitted.
Although not an official job that could land on a resumé, Tupac also admits to selling drugs for a couple of weeks. But he wasn’t good at it, so the dope dealers instead just looked out for him and gave him money so that he could pursue his dreams. He called them “sponsors.”
His other official gig was at a supermarket, but that was another short stint that lasted just two weeks. Instead of asking “paper or plastic?” and wrapping groceries, Tupac was writing raps on company time.
“The dude kept catching me writing raps by the time clock. So I got fired.”
Shortly after, Tupac joined Digital Underground, and one of the most fascinating lives and careers of any artist officially got underway.
Shock G signs Tupac to Digital Underground after one audition
Tupac tapped into his connections and got referred to try out for Digital Underground. He headed to a studio and rapped for Shock G, the group’s lead vocalist, on the spot.
The deal was simple. If they liked his audition, he’d get picked up.
“I just walked in and rapped for him,” he said. “He was like, ‘Ok, good. You’re in. I’ll see you later.’ … Those were some of the best times of my life.”
Shock G is responsible for Tupac’s breakthrough single “I Get Around” and co-producing Tupac’s debut album 2Pacalypse Now.
Tupac met his biological father for the first time in the hospital after being shot
Tupac first met his biological father after he was ambushed and shot five times November 30, 1994, inside the lobby of a recording studio in Manhattan.
The near-death experience was enough reason for the man who gave him life, William “Billy” Garland, to finally arrange a meeting.
“I still don’t know who [my biological father] is, for sure. I’ve never taken any blood tests. The guy [Legs] who I knew as my father, who claimed to be my father, he died. But then recently, after I got shot, this other guy came and was like ‘he’s my father.’”
“I just woke up [after being shot] and he was just standing over me,” Tupac remembered. “I do [believe he’s my father] because he looks like me and his kids look like me.”
Tupac said Garland would later visit him in jail as well, but he never conducted a blood test because it was too “scary.”
“I’m not going to love him any more, or any less, so it’s pointless,” he said.
Since Legs was only around for material support, Tupac said he would’ve had better discipline and confidence in his life if he grew up with a father in his life.
“Money gave me confidence. The screams of the crowd gave me confidence,” he said. “Before that, I was a shell of a man … I think one day I’ll be a very good father. I love kids. I love the innocence. I would do damn near anything for them … I’m a sucker for them. But I wouldn’t have any kids myself. Because I’m scared to bring any black children into this world, just for right now.”
Tupac wanted to pen a book
Tupac was a prolific writer who penned a lot of poetry, kept a diary and wrote reams of raps during an abbreviated run.
He also wanted to write a book.
“I’m going to write a book and tell everything,” said Tupac, keeping one answer short when specifically shedding light on abuse he encountered as a child. “I wouldn’t get any money for telling my pain. I’d rather write a book about it … and be deeper.”
Tupac and Mike Tyson wanted to build community centers across the U.S.
Tupac’s life will forever be linked to Mike Tyson. The artist was shot after the boxer’s bout with Bruce Seldon on September 7, 1996, in Las Vegas, and he died six days later.
The tandem of Tupac and Tyson wanted to use their platform to build community centers in ghetto neighborhoods and lift the spirit of the people with grassroots efforts and events. Their purpose was to fundraise money and build facilities across the United States.
Tyson and Tupac first met at a party hosted by Magic Johnson in Hollywood. After Tyson went to prison in 1992, Tupac starting writing to Tyson and visited him in jail and the two cultivated a relationship after their initial chance encounter.
In separate interviews in previous years, Tyson said, “We were always saying, ‘when we come out of prison and conquer the world. Everyone is going to know our name. We’re going to shock them … He was just a young kid, and he wanted to be great — and then [the shooting] happened.”