Friday (Sept. 13) marked the globally mourned death anniversary of one of hip-hop’s greatest, Tupac Shakur. Tributes poured in for the fallen rap titan on the 23rd anniversary of his shooting death, as fans everywhere reminded the world that not a day goes by that the hip-hop icon’s impact doesn’t live on. As any fan of Pac knows, nothing comes close to capturing his essence the way his raw, unfiltered words did, even outside of his lyrics.
In a rare occasion, MTV released a previously never-before-seen interview of the legendary rap giant, which happens to be one of the few final relics left from his short 25 years of life. Though clips of the footage have surfaced online, with renditions of the interview also finding a place in his All Eyez on Me biopic, the 20-minute interview with MTV correspondent Tabitha Soren has now been released in its entirety.
The interview, which took place on October 27, 1995, marked 2Pac’s first official interview after his release from jail following a nine-month stint behind bars after he was locked up on sexual assault charges.
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In the exclusive footage, Tupac delves into various aspects of his life that reared him into the man he was, from witnessing his mother fall into crack addiction, to a transcribed portion of discussion surrounding his rape case, to the pain of growing up without his father.
Here are five takeaways from the extensive interview:
Although the rapper confessed he “still [didn’t] know who [his dad was] for sure,” Tupac opened up about meeting the man thought to be his biological father, William “Billy” Garland, for the first time. He was in the hospital recuperating after he was shot five times the year prior on November 30. Prior to that, Tupac grew up believing his real dad was dead.
“I just woke up and he was just standing over me,” Tupac recounted of their meeting. It wouldn’t be until after ‘Pac’s death that Garland was confirmed to be his father. But ‘Pac recalled being stunned by the remarkably uncanny resemblances between him and Garland, who ‘Pac said looked just “like [him].”
Naturally, the interview verged on Tupac’s alleged rape case that landed him nine months behind bars. In November 1993, a woman accused Tupac and his associates of raping her in a New York City hotel room. In MTV's official copy of the transcript, the 24-year-old shared his side of the story.
“She did some things there at the club and we got together later that night,” he explained. “I saw her again another time with the guys that introduced me to her. Everybody was having a good time. Me and her went in there, she gave me a massage, came out, went to sleep, and woke up. She’s screaming [that] I raped her and the next thing I know I’m going to jail,” he recollected.
Continuing on that, the rapper acknowledged that he felt there was a double standard between how the sexual escapades of white artists are viewed in comparison to Black artists.
“America is scared of a Black man's sexuality,” he continued. “They only see us as groups… and they just can’t imagine us being another way. That’s why it was so easy for people to believe I could do this.”
“This lady named Layla introduced me to Atron Gregory, who was managing Digital Underground. He was like, ‘I'mma send you to Digital Underground. They in the studio. You just rap for Shock G on the spot. If he like you, then I’ll pick you up.’”
He impressed the Digital Underground leader and, as they say, the rest is history.
“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.”
Before he became the revered rap icon he is today, Tupac was a normal youngster trying to hold down a job just like the rest of us. He hopped from one job to another until he found his footing in the rap game.
After dropping out of high school, ‘Pac’s first job was making pizza (which he described as “the perfect job to have” because of all the free food). The California transplant lasted for one month there. He got a second job at a grocery store but was fired after two weeks.
“The dude kept catching me writing raps by the time clock,” the "Me Against the World" artist explained. “So I got fired.”
It’s no hidden secret that Tupac had many unaccomplished aspirations outside of his illustrious music career. Although ‘Pac openly shared his life’s story, there’s still many untold gems that will go undiscovered.
In a particularly raw moment, ‘Pac confessed that there were some things from his childhood that he would like to write a book about one day and “tell everything,” chronicling his childhood and life in the streets before he was discovered.
Soren unsuccessfully fished for what a Tupac memoir might look like, but the rapper played coy with her first. “I’d rather write a book about it and get paid for my pain,” he responded before clarifying that he’d rather write a book than share details in an interview because “it’ll be deeper.”
For your first-time ever, see one of the (no longer) lost Tupac interview tapes below:
(Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)