Tupac Shakur at 17
The rap star's first interview took place while he was attending Tam High.
In this month’s issue, writer Zack Ruskin looked into the time hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur spent in Marin County. Shakur lived in Marin City and attended Tamalpais High his Junior and part of his Senior year. You can find the full story here. While his time here was brief, Shakur gave his first interview while attending Tam High — which we had transcribed below.
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Interviewer: Your age and where are you at school?
Speaker 2: Are you rolling, Eddie?
Eddie: I’m rolling. Not at speed yet.
Speaker 2: All right. That’s okay.
Interviewer: Let me start this and that one.
Speaker 2: You dressed right for it.
Interviewer: And he said he’s been a little chilly, so this is good for him. So, somebody will enjoy the heat in here.
Speaker 2: A little body temp.
Eddie: Any time.
Tupac: Okay. My name is Tupac Shakur and I attend Tamalpais High School and I’m 17 years old.
Interviewer: Okay. Do you like being 17?
Tupac: Eh, 17 is such a weird age, it’s such a in the middle age. You’re not 18 yet and you’re older than 16, but I like it. It’s nice. It’s like a learning stage for me.
Interviewer: Do you wish you could be 18 then, when you can get some more rights?
Tupac: Well, 18 will bring lots of responsibilities that I don’t want, but it’ll bring respect that I feel like that’s the only way I can get it. You know, I try to be as mature as I can be and demand it wherever I can get it.
Tupac: But 18 is like, you’re an adult. Like today when I had to sign the release form, I felt so bad ’cause I couldn’t sign it myself. Had to go and get my mother’s and all that, but 18 is, it’s just society’s way of saying that you’re ready.
Tupac: But 17, I think I’m ready now. As ready as I’m gonna be in this world. But, so it’s okay. I guess 17 is all right.
Interviewer: Do you think that you should be given more responsibilities or did you have much more value than the girls place on you because of your age?
Tupac: Well, well, the way that my mother brought me up is no lies, no, you know, total truth. Everything is real in this society, you know, everything. If something’s going on wrong in the house, I know everything.
Tupac: So I was, it was like I was given the responsibility before I wanted it. And so now I can’t really differentiate what great responsibility is because I’ve had it for so long, you know?
Tupac: She taught me how to be ready for it. And so that’s good. And I think it’s good because I know that, and it’s taught me that when you get out there, the responsibility is staggering and I’m ready.
Tupac: I’m going to be a little more ready than someone who’s grown up in Disney World, you know? With Santa Claus is coming. And so, you know, I think I’m growing up good, in all sense of the word, I think I’m growing up and learning about responsibilities, everything.
Interviewer: Well, what do you think is the hardest thing about being a kid or being your age?
Tupac: Hardest thing about being my age is proving to society that I understand what’s going on. Like we, not everybody, but frequently teenagers are stereotyped and being loud, music loving, girl chasing, car wanting, not caring about the world.
Tupac: Coke heads, drinking coke and smoking and being drug addicts. And I mean in some ways we are, I mean, I chase girls and want the car and loud music, but I like to think of myself as really being socially aware and not just socially aware as being trendy, you know, being peace. Not that.
Tupac: I really think that teenagers, they got a lot of responsibilities and a lot of burdens because in fact we’re not, I mean, we’re given a horrible world. We’re given the gift that we’re getting when we got to take over. It’s horrible.
Tupac: They left us, they’re leaving this world in bad shape for us to fix up. I think that we deserve a lot of respect because you know, in the 60s, they changed a lot, and those teenagers were given respect because they changed a lot and they did a lot.
Tupac: We’re given no respect and we have to do a lot. I mean, the world, ain’t no secret, but the world is bad shit. So we have to do a lot. You have to do a lot of good things. So I think we deserve a little bit more respect.
Interviewer: Why do you think it is that adults don’t give you the respect you deserve?
Tupac: Fear. They’re scared. They’re scared of watching us grow up. They’re scared that when we get the power or responsibilities, that we won’t be able to handle it and is scared that, that, well, I don’t think, in this generation, I don’t think that a lot adults put enough into their children.
Tupac: I’m glad my mother did, but I don’t think that a lot of children have grown up lost in the sauce. And I think that they’re scared because they’re realizing it now that, uh oh we didn’t, we didn’t, I didn’t teach him this. I didn’t teach them that.
Tupac: Where do they learn it? Look at unsafe sex and drugs that, you could tell, if you look at the statistics, they staggering, again, you know. And so I think they’re scared ’cause they’re realizing that they goofed, they really messed up.
Tupac: And also they feel teenagers are angry. At least this generation seems a little angry to me, and a little bit more rebellious and uninvolved. So they’re scared because they realizing that you know what’s going to happen when, you know, it leaves people in power.
Tupac: But also just because it’s human nature to be scared to watch a child grow up and you don’t want to give him that yet.
Interviewer: Hmm. Well. What do you see are some of the major differences between being a kid or being an adult?
Tupac: Oh, I was funny, being a kid. Like my little cousin Hero gie, he’s three and everything to him is happy. The only thing that that makes them unhappy is when you turn, when things are over, when you turn something off and when a television goes off. When it’s time to go to bed or when you have to come in the house, everything is over. That’s bad. You know?
Tupac: And when you’re an adult, when something is over that’s like, it’s the opposite. You know, when it’s over it’s good, you know? You just, oh, I’m off work, it’s over, you know, vacation, it’s over. Oh, my God, she’s out of the house. My children in college, it’s over. Oh, my God. And so it’s that difference.
Tupac: But, and children see things so great, if the world can, what happened is that adults complicate things and children don’t. The simple is simple as this. The Sky is blue and adults when they go the sky is blue, why is it blue? Because birds and bees and. Everything wasn’t meant to be analyzed.
Tupac: And that’s where our problems came in I think. And that’s where I think kids are happier. Kids are definitely happier and more relaxed than adults.
Interviewer: Do you think if parents or adults had a happier childhoods they would be better off when they grow up? I mean, like a lot of people say, if you have a troubled childhood you lack self esteem when you grow up.
Tupac: No, actually I think it’s, well, okay. From my mother’s point, well, if you grew up happy, too happy, you know, like in fairy tale land, not fairy tale. I mean if you grew up where you know, every Christmas you got your present and every birthday you got a present and every holiday was a holiday and everything was peachy and your parents took care of everything and you just grew up.
Tupac: I don’t think that prepares you for the world. You know? My mother had a really bad childhood and my father had a bad childhood and I had a bad childhood, but I loved my childhood, even though it was bad. I love it.
Tupac: I feel like it’s taught me so much and I feel like nothing can phase me, you know, nothing in this world, nothing can surprise me. It might set me back, but only momentarily, only to spring back.
Tupac: And I think it’s helped me to learn. It really did help me learn. And since my mother had a bad childhood, she knows the importance of being honest and the importance of facing each situation as it comes and not dealing with fairy tale land.
Tupac: Being realistic about the problem and analyzing it and solving it. See what you can do to solve it. So if you have a happy childhood, you tend to want your child to have a happy childhood. So you tend to want to keep the bad things out. And I don’t think that’s good, because you don’t prepare them for the world.
Interviewer: So, basically you have to be realistic with your kids.
Tupac: Right. Definitely have to be realistic.
Interviewer: You have to let them know that something’s wrong.
Tupac: Tell them. But don’t get the wrong idea. I feel like I’m being gloomy. I don’t, I don’t mean just be like, dammit, it’s bad out there, but I mean when a good thing is coming, they all going to come and everybody knows that good things are gonna come and you’re going to see them for yourself. You’re gonna see that they’re good.
Tupac: But it’s harder to see the bad things and everybody wants to shield the bad things and that’s where it gets complicated and it gets real frightening. That’s when everybody gets surprised and oh, my God, I’m committing suicide. That’s too much, overwhelming, but that’s it, if you know about it, it won’t be so overwhelming. No, so that’s what I think about that.
Interviewer: How do you keep so positive? You say that you had a, you had a problem childhood, but yet you, you seem like you’ve gotten above that.
Tupac: Is that, you know, like if you’re lost, if you are lost in the wilderness and you have a guide, then it’s not like being lost. It’s like learning new things as you go through. So when you finally get through, you forgot what you were going to, you just want to talk about the path that you just went. And that’s how I feel.
Tupac: I like, like life. My child, I was just totally lost at first because like I got to go to, my mother was a black panther and she was really involved in the movement, you know, just black people bettering themselves and things like that.
Tupac: And my father was a hustler, street hustler, you know, I think he sold drugs and everything and how did they get together is beyond me. But he just saw her as a woman doing something like, you know, but so my mother and father both had bad childhoods and I never knew who my father was.
Tupac: I met him, but he died and it was horrible. But got over that. My mother took, actually, it’s like she actually did take me through life. You know when I would go, when I discovered, the first time rebelled against her because she was in the movement and we never spent time together, because she was always speaking and going to colleges and everything.
Tupac: And then after that was over, it was more time spent with me and we both just like, you’re my mother and she was like, you’re my son and what do we do? Then she was really close with me and really strict almost.
Tupac: But now I can see how it paid off, because I can talk to my mother about drugs, I could talk to my mother about sex, anything. I can ask her anything and bring it up and she’ll go, okay, well, this was DA, DA, DA.
Tupac: And I could say, Ma, I’m really curious about this drug. And she’ll go, I did it and this is what happened. And I don’t think you should.
Interviewer: I mean, do you think other kids can talk to their parents as easily as you can to yours?
Tupac: No, I don’t think so, because I speak to my friends, I speak to them in and they’re baffled. They’re like, they could sit there, like my friends can call my mother by her first name. That’s a small thing. But it’s a big thing to them because they could just come in the house and go, how are you doing Fenian?
Tupac: This is what happened at schools. ‘Cause she speaks to them. She gives teenagers the respect they deserve, unless they show that they’re not worthy of that respect. And they like that.
Tupac: They really do like that and they react well. That’s why I have that philosophy about respect because I’m, my mother can talk. I mean she’s totally brilliant, totally understanding and caring and she’s human.
Tupac: I mean she has mistakes and we have our little tiffs, but I understand them so much. I mean, she’ll be wrong a lot and we’ll, I’ll, we can talk about it. But a lot of kids can’t talk to their parents about drugs because their parents don’t trust them to make the decision. So they make the decision for them.
Tupac: And a lot of kids can’t talk to their parents about sex, because they don’t trust them. They think, oh, he’s talking about sex. He’s out there doing it, so they don’t trust them and that, you know, so plus their parents are just like beet red soon as you bring up the word fornication.
Tupac: But my mother is totally just, it was, I was scared at first, but I just brought it up one day and we spent hours talking about drugs, sex and society and Sixties and 70s and 30s and everything. And we just get along really good.
Interviewer: So you consider her like a good friend?
Tupac: Yeah, a really good friend. But she’s still my mother. I mean that’s still like last night I came home at 2:30 and she went, you can’t come home that late anymore. And I was like, it’s the weekend.
Tupac: We had an argument about that. But also it’s things that, you know, like, I mean there’s, we talk about things, you know, do you think you should be punished? And I explained it to her. I really get to talk to her. So she’s my guide through life.
Tupac: So I really enjoy myself. But it’s just that it’s, everybody doesn’t think like us. So society, I mean poverty is, it’s no joke. Being poor and having this philosophy is worse because no, if money was nothing, if there was no money and everything depended on your moral standards and the way that you behaved and the way that you treated people, we’d be millionaires, we’d be rich.
Tupac: But since it’s not like that, then we’re stone broke which is poor, because our ideals always get in the way. Since we’re not yep, yep people, and we’re always, wait a minute, let me think about that.
Tupac: Then people tend to go, nope, I guess I don’t want you for the job. And I guess you just won’t, you know? And so that, that’s the only thing that I’m bitter about, is growing up poor, because I missed out on a lot of things.
Tupac: Still growing up poor, you know, I miss out on a lot of things and I can’t always have what I want or even things that I think I need. So I missed a lot of things like that. But I know rich people or people just well off who are lost, who are lot. So I feel like my mother made a lot of decisions in her life.
Tupac: And that’s what we always say. She could’ve chose to go to college and got a degree in something and right now been well off, but she chose to analyze society and fight and do things better. So this is the pay off and she’s always tells me that the pay off, to her, is that me and my sister grew up good and we have good minds and everything and we can, we’re ready for society.
Tupac: But we just didn’t have money and we didn’t have the things like that. So that’s the only bad thing I think is poverty. If I hated anything, it’d be that.
Interviewer: What do you think is one of the most important things your mother taught you?
Tupac: My mother taught me three things. Respect, knowledge, search for knowledge. It’s an eternal, eternal journey. That’s like my hair cut. The line. 360 degrees by knowledge always. And she taught me to not be quiet, to, if there’s something on my mind, speak it.
Tupac: That’s what God, that was the breath. She always taught, but also to listen. And she always, she told me this little joke that God gave you two ears to listen and one mouth to speak, two ears and one mouth. Common sense.
Tupac: One mouth. You should speak, but you should also listen. And that’s where the knowledge comes from, listening. And once you get the knowledge and you can speak and it helps you. So she taught me respect, knowledge and understanding. Mostly, you know, just listen a lot.
Interviewer: Do you think more parents should listen to their kids more?.
Tupac: Definitely. Oh, definitely, definitely, but not being a yep, yep parrot. Like yep, yep people, you know, just not being, oh, yes dear. I understand. Yes, you can go to the party.
Tupac: That doesn’t help. Those produce even worse kids, because it produces ambitious, but unready children, you know, and those are the, those where our martyrs come from, you know.
Tupac: So, I think they should listen, but analyze what they’re saying. Just put them, just don’t push them through the path and don’t hold them from going to the path, but help them through the path. That’s what I think should happen.
Interviewer: Great. Great. Well, how do you think of you’re most like your mom?
Tupac: Oh, I’m most like my mom because I’m arrogant. Totally arrogant. I agree. I have to say, like at work, I can’t hold a job, but I just quit my job, today actually, because I wanted to come and do this and they wouldn’t let me.
Tupac: And I felt like it was important and it was more important than serving pizza. And we had enough people., so I felt like since I’m an actor, they should understand, they should’ve let me do it. But they didn’t.
Tupac: And then I had a cold, so they were making me work in a freezer and I’m really not wanting to be disrespected. And I felt like that was disrespectful, because I asked to go, you know, so I quit and he told me I couldn’t quit.
Tupac: And that even made me hyper. You know, I’m arrogant, so when he told me I couldn’t quit and we had all these customers, I chose that time to jump on the soapbox, grab my leather jacket, light a cigarette in front of him, smoke and leave, in the middle of a rush. So that was natural. That’s arrogance at the top.
Tupac: That’s, I think, I’m most like my mother and she likes it. She’ll see it in me and know it and we clashed a lot, because I’m arrogant and she’s arrogant and you should see us when we get down with the attitude moves.
Tupac: It’s like husband and wife, but it’s brother and sister, but it’s father, mother and it’s really father, mother and son. She’s my father and mother. So yeah, we getting out tips and everything, but that’s good.
Interviewer: That’s a great, great story.
Speaker 2: That’s why my pizza took so long. It was you.
Tupac: It was me, I admit it.
Interviewer: You were saying how much you’re like her, how are you most unlike her?
Tupac: Most unlike my mother? Because, that’s a crazy question. Well, since my mother went through the 60s and everything, she’s more of a, let me think about this first, then do it, because I know about how that happens
Tupac: And I’m more like of, if I get a, if you get me hyped, I’m a dangerous weapon. If I’m hyper, I mean even for, not like violent, like, but if I’m hyper to do for, it might be to run basketball and I have to go to work. I’ll be there late.
Tupac: If I’m hyper to do something, I can’t concentrate and my mother can really concentrate. And like in school, as much as I talk about needing education and everything, I goof in school every year. It’s just, I can’t help it. I like popularity and I like being around people and I just like, you know, talk and everything.
Tupac: And my mother is more of a get this done and then do that. So that’s what we’re, we’re not alike, you know? And I trust people more in a more open and since she’s been through those things, she’s more wary of trusting people. But she does trust people. But I’m just totally just like, oh, okay, you’re my friend now. You know? But we’re more alike than we are unlike. That’s really weird.
Interviewer: Well, you say you goof around a lot at school. Do you feel you’re learning enough or you feel like they could be doing a better job of teaching you things?
Tupac: Well, oh, I hope I don’t get in trouble, but school is, I think that we got so caught up in school being a tradition that we stopped using it as a learning tool, which it should be.
Tupac: Like up to this day. I mean school should be, I think there should be a different curriculum in each and every neighborhood, you know? Because I’m going to Tamaulipas high and I’m learning about the basics, but they’re not basic for me.
Tupac: You know, and it’s like they, they’re not, to get us ready for today’s world? They’re not, that’s not helping. It’s just what they took. So it’s what we’re going to take, you know, and that’s why the streets have taught me.
Tupac: But school is really important, reading, writing, arithmetic. But I think after you learn reading, writing and arithmetic, that’s it, but what they tend to do with teacher reading, writing, arithmetic, then teach you reading, writing, arithmetic again.
Tupac: Then again, then again, just making it harder and harder just to keep your busy and that’s where I think they messed up. There should be a class on drugs. There should be a class on sex education. On real sex education class, not just pictures and diaphragms and UN-logical terms and things like that.
Tupac: There should be a drug class. There should be sex education. There should be a class on scams. There should be a class on religious cults. There should be a class on police brutality. There should be a class on apartheid.
Tupac: There should be a class on racism in America. There should be a class on why people are hungry, but there are not. There are classes on gym. Physical education, let’s learn volleyball, because one day we’re going to, you know, it’s, there are classes like Algebra. Where I’ve yet to go to a store and said, um, can I have x y plus 2 and getting my y change back, thank you.
Tupac: You know, I think you could let me out and I’ve lived, I’ve lived alone by myself and the things that, that helped me were the things I learned from my mother and from the streets.
Tupac: And reading has helped me. I mean school has taught me reading, which is, I love reading, writing and arithmetic. That’s it. Like foreign languages. I think they’re important, but I don’t think it should be required, because actually they should be teaching you English and then teaching you how to understand double-talk. Politicians double-talk.
Tupac: Not teaching you how to understand French and Spanish and German. When am I going to Germany? I can’t afford to pay my rent in America. How am I going to Germany? You know, this is the I, this is, this is what I mean by the basics and not the basics for me.
Tupac: And I think that it should be like college. You can go and take the classes that you want. And I think that like elementary school should be that way. Where they give you the classes you should take for the basics. And then junior high school and high school should be the classes that you need, in order to, to choose your path.
Interviewer: So do you feel like the schools are not really listening to the kids’ needs or?
Tupac: Definitely not. Definitely not.
Interviewer: It’s just kind of a place where you go to, but it’s become such a tradition. They’re not concerned if you’re learning, it’s just something you have to do.
Tupac: It’s just the place you go during the day to keep you busy, while they’re at work. While they’re at work, that’s exactly what it is.
Speaker 2: And are you ready to work now and you’re ready to get a regular job?
Tupac: Yeah, I’ve actually been working already. You know, like I’ve been going to school during the day, then I work eight hours at the pizza place, then go home and isn’t it like 40 hours a week, that’s what adults work, Right?
Tupac: And that’s what I’m working 40 hours a week. I’m still not getting the respect that adults get, you know? But I’m not, I don’t want to keep sounding like I’m worried about respect and fame and all that.
Tupac: I’m just saying that, I mean ancient civilizations have survived without going to schools like this. I mean, they’ve learned from their past. It’s, it’s, we’re not being taught to deal with the world as it is. We’re being taught to deal with this fairy land, which we’re not even living in anymore. It is. It’s, it’s sad cause I’m telling you, and it should not be me telling you. It should be common knowledge.
Tupac: Aren’t they wondering why death rates are going up and suicide is going up and drug abuse? Aren’t they wondering, don’t they understand that more people look, I mean, more kids are being handed crack, than they’re being handed diplomas.
Tupac: I mean it shouldn’t set, I mean like, okay, in school we’re learning to analyze anything. Well, I learned it, now they should re-learn it. I think adults should go through school again.
Tupac: You know, I think that, I think that rich people should live like poor people and poor people should live like rich people and they should change every week and we’ll have the best rounded people. We’ll be able to deal with people.
Tupac: I mean, and I mean everywhere. Look, it’s called civilizations. Look how we grew, you know, and I think we need to learn from our mistakes and stop just going through the motions, which we’re doing now. It’s like we’re waiting for some big button to be pushed. Something like that.
Speaker 2: Can you tell me about that, Tupac? I mean, what can you do when you grow up right?
Speaker 2: That you can make a difference?
Tupac: [Well 00:23:57] , as it is, and it’s honestly, honestly I feel this way, but society is like amazing. I mean it’s like, you know those little things they have for the mice, where they go through around the circle, that little blocks for it and everything.
Tupac: Well, society is like that. They’ll let you go as far as you want, but as soon as you start asking too many questions and you’re ready to change, boom, that block will come. And for me and hI hope this doesn’t start anything.
Tupac: But for me, since I’m living in in a slum-ish area and I’m black, minds will come through being a statistic. You know, I’ll get caught up in all of this and one day I’ll be with my friends and they’ll go, let’s go out party.
Tupac: We don’t have a car. Let’s steal a car, get it. You know, let’s just borrow a car. We’ll steal a car and I’ll go to jail for 16 years and come out and be bitter. Knowing all of it, saying all of this, but be bitter. You know?
Tupac: And it should be, I mean, like the past elections, watching Jesse Jackson run and watching Du kakis run, those two people, Jesse Jackson and Du kakis. Two people who I thought were going to, there it is, I said, all right finally we’re going to get a better America.
Tupac: But what happened? Bush won. I couldn’t believe it because every time I asked people who would you have voted for? And they were like, it’s Du kakis.
Tupac: But how did Bush win? I keep wondering and then that just makes me rebel more against society, because it’s supposed to represent the people. I don’t want Bush and government.
Tupac: I spent eight years, of my 17 years on this earth, under Republicans under Ronald Reagan. Under an ex-actor who lies to the people, who steals money and who’s done nothing at all for me.
Tupac: And I don’t think Bush is a bad person or a bad president ’cause for the upper class, he’s a perfect president and that’s how society is built. The upper class run it, while we talk about it.
Tupac: I mean the middle class and lower class, we talk about it and before the working class, which is, we’re going through the motions, we’re the worker bees and they get to live like royalty.
Speaker 2: You think, when you talk about classes, do you think children or kids are sometimes considered a lower class?
Tupac: Yeah I think so. But there are, even in, even with children, there are classes, like even at Tam, there’s the lower Marin City class, there’s the low white class, the lower white class.
Tupac: There’s the middle class white class and the middle class black class and there’s the middle class. I mean, is the upper class white and upper class black.
Tupac: And it’s, that’s a shame that it has be cut in so many pieces. ‘Cause what it all boils down to this one piece of money that I can like, how can, this is a big question and no one’s ever answered and this is staggering.
Tupac: How can Reagan live in a White House which has a lot of rooms and there be homelessness and he’s talking about helping homelessness. This is what I mean about practicality. All right, if there’s someone homeless in Washington, DC? If there’s homelessness and he has the White House, which has a thousand rooms, why can’t he take some of them people up the street and put them in his White House?
Tupac: ‘Cause he doesn’t want to get dirty. The White House would be a little tainted. And when his rich people from Jamaica and everything comes to see them, they’ll be, oh these people, you know, and that’s dumb.
Tupac: He wants to build houses and everything. Let them stay in the White House. All his rooms are not being used. Then he’ll have people from the streets to help him make, what his ideas.
Tupac: I mean these people that are homeless have done things, they haven’t been homeless forever. They’ve done things in society, they’ve done things, they’ve had jobs before and they’ve done things, they’ve worked hard.
Tupac: There should be an automatic, they get a house somewhere and live comfortably, they have things they can do, you know? And I think that’s wrong. I think that’s really bad.
Interviewer: You’re, very interesting stuff, but you’re also entertaining at the same time.
Speaker 2: Yes. It’s like you’re in the right field, I think.
Interviewer: Yeah. It’s very insightful, but it’s also like we’re getting a kick out of what watching.
Speaker 2: Give me a, you were like last year you were in New York?
Speaker 2: Where?
Tupac: No, last year I was in Baltimore, year before that, I was in, I spent three years in Baltimore, my high school years going to the school of Performing Arts. Then, before that, I was in New York. That’s what I grew up. That was my total growing part.
Tupac: We moved out in New York because all of these, because of my mother’s choices, you know, and she couldn’t keep it. She couldn’t keep her job because of her choices, because it was too much. [crosstalk 00:28:34]
Tupac: Yeah, no, it was, she was calm then. I mean it was totally calm, but it was like they figured out who she was and she couldn’t keep a job. That should be illegal.
Tupac: So she lost her job. And of course, we were like stranded in New York.
Speaker 2: Could you direct your answers?
Tupac: And yeah, so we’re stranded in New York, so we moved to Baltimore, which was total ignorance town to me because, okay.
Tupac: It was just like, I mean, in Baltimore. It’s just ignorant. I don’t even, it gets me upset to talk about it. Baltimore has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy, the highest rate of AIDS within the black community.
Tupac: The highest rate of teens killing teens and highest rate of teenage suicide and the highest rate of blacks killing blacks in Baltimore, Maryland. And this is where we chose to live.
Tupac: So as soon as I got there, being the person I am, I said, no, no, I’m changing this. So I started a stop the killing campaign and safe sex campaign and AIDS prevention campaign and everything.
Tupac: And then I came back and I felt like I did a lot of good. I did good things and everything, came back. The second week I was in California, I got a call and two of my friends was shot dead in the head. Two of the friends that were working with me. Shot dead, in the head.
Tupac: And it’s just like, why try? Because this is what happens. But I still try, you know, and I came to California to escape that, escape that violence that I escaped New York for.
Tupac: Then I went to Baltimore, escaped Baltimore, came to California, come to Marin city. And there’s skinheads violence, there’s racial violence, which I deplore. I can’t stand racism in any form, shape, or color. I can’t stand it.
Tupac: So what I did was I talked to people and everything and what happened was Tam is really integrated. So there was a party and it just happened that it was a white girl’s party and everybody goes, it doesn’t matter. And there’s racism, but it’s not like that.
Tupac: You know, we understand each other and we’re children, we are able to talk to each other about it. So everybody went to this party and I was working and I was going to go to the party right after I got off work, me and my friends.
Tupac: So we got off work, on our way to the party, we’re laughing and joking, just going through and we see our friend Jonas who’s white and he’s telling us there was a fight at the party and I was like, what happened?
Tupac: He said, the skinheads came and called the black people N****a and made them to sit there, to leave. And of course, it was fight. I was like, oh my God. So we was sitting there, me and my, they went home, we were sitting there talking and everything.
Tupac: It made my business like this couldn’t happen in the 60s you know, let’s figure out what to do with it. He just said, I know we’ll start the black panthers again. So we started the black panthers, but we’re doing it more to fit out our views, you know, less violent and more silent, you know, more knowledge to help, you know?
Tupac: Well, we really want to do is get the pride back in the black community because I feel like if you can’t respect yourself, then you can’t respect your race and you can’t respect another’s race, then you can’t respect, you know, it just has to do with respect like my mother taught me.
Tupac: So what we want, what we’re doing is starting the black panthers again, in Marin City. You just getting first teaching pride and then teaching education and then we’ll see where it goes from there.
Tupac: And also as a defense mechanism for the skinheads because that’s wrong. And I hate to feel helpless. And so skinheads hate black people. And I’m going to beat it. I want to, I have this vision of just us growing and them decreasing, because that’s how knowledge works. It’s contagious, you know?
Tupac: And so if there was war and peace, peace wins out. So I wanted to be, I want to, I just want to form it and let it work. And I know the skinheads are going to go like this. So, and I want to take, you know, I just want to learn from my mistakes and I’m talking to a lot of the ex members of the panthers, from the 60s and they’re helping me.
Tupac: Because they’re less violent, they’re, you know, they’ve learned so, and they did a lot of good things in the past and we can do a lot of good things. So since my mother was an ex panther and talking to the Geronimo Pratt and a lot of x-men of that offenses and everything.
Tupac: So we’re going to do a lot of good. I feel like we’re gonna do a real lot of good.
Interviewer: is there anything you feel like you wanted to say that you didn’t have time?
Tupac: I don’t know. I know soon as I walk out, I’ll go, oh, God, I should’ve said that. But just to end the importance of growing up. And I mean, just growing up in America.
Tupac: I loved my childhood, but I hated growing up poor and it made me very bitter. You know, it’s like all right now I’ve got a job. I had to quit. Now I had a job and just today I got paid and I have money in my pocket that I worked for.
Tupac: And that’s the greatest feeling, you know, that I worked, well, I’m just getting a job and I’m working at everything and that feels good, but I’m still poor. You know, my family’s still poor. I’m still living in a poor neighborhood. You know, I still see people poor. I still see things that.
Tupac: Like society. This is supposed to be a melting pot, but no one’s learning from the other’s mistake. And that’s where the tragedy comes. Because if we were all open and everything, we would learn from like, in Marin City, I’ve seen already, deaths.
Tupac: I mean this lady slashed the man’s throat because he spit on her kids. And I’ve seen teenagers fighting last night over girls. I’ve seen guys speak to women with this much respect.
Tupac: And I deplore that. My mother is just totally, I grew up, my mother raised me, so I have this much respect for women and, and we, I fight often because of that.
Tupac: And it gives me a lot of friends. I mean, I get a lot of friends but, also I get a lot of friends cause I have respect for women, ultra respect for women.
Tupac: But then like I, I was, liking this girl at Tam and I’m extra nice, you know, extra gentlemen. I’m extra just oh, you’re beautiful and you deserve the best.
Tupac: And she told me I was too nice. I couldn’t believe it. It wouldn’t work ’cause I was too nice. That was the ultimate stab in the back. I went through a week of just going, forget it, I’m just going to be like them because they seem to get the girls and they’re, they call girls the B word, you know? And they smack, they’re beating.
Tupac: They’re getting girls and I’m going peace. And I think you’re beautiful and you’re going to be, well, I like him because he’s masculine. I’m masculine. I mean! With the guys, I’m trying. And yesterday he was cursing and I was like, don’t curse. And he got mad at me ’cause I told him not to curse.
Tupac: But my plan is that if I keep telling girls not to let them call you these names, I keep telling them, if I keep saying it, it’s going to catch on, because the girls won’t allow them to be their boyfriend and if they’re going to speak to them like that.
Tupac: And they’re going to want me. In order to not get them to go with me they’re going to have to change, and that’s how it changed. So I’ll be the scapegoat. No problem. As long as it changes.
Interviewer: [inaudible 00:35:36]
Tupac: I think it’s gonna work. I think it’ll work out and everything,
Interviewer: All right.
Tupac: But I always wanted to make a book out of my life, like a fairy tale.
Interviewer: If it’s fascinating enough.
Tupac: Raised by the Black Panthers and strung out.
Speaker 2: I think we can stop tape.
Speaker 2: Stop tape, Eddie.
Interviewer: All right.
Transcript by Rev.com