So this album is like a celebration of his life?
We never had an album that dropped around that anniversary or his birthday. We never wanted to play to that kind of thing, but this year it just felt right to put it out on September 13. Like I said the loyal listeners and the diehard Outlawz fans are all anxiously waiting and they're ready to celebrate on September 13.
This year Pac’s name was everywhere in hip-hop with Meek Mill and Ross' "Tupac Back” record. How do feel about it?
It's one of the hottest records out right now. We did own special G-mix for it and put it on our last mixtape Killuminati 2K11. That's all over the streets and all over the internet. That record did a lot for it. You got Pac popping up in everybody's verses, lines. People trying to remake his movies and turn them into videos. Soulja Boy was talking about doing Juice over. Pac is just one of those figures in music, not just rap, but in music period, that’s his legacy, his spirit, just won't die, no matter how hard people try. The more you try to stop it the bigger it grows. I think Meek Millz' "Tupac Back" record helped it, but it was kind of already going in that direction and I think they just picked up on the energy and did it themselves.
Did you have a chance to meet up with Meek?
Nah, nah, we never had a chance to meet up with Meek, but we ran into Ross on Pac's 40th birthday party that we do every year down in Atlanta, hosted by my homeboy Mike Epps and he came to the show and we showed appreciation for him for doing what they do to keep my homebody's name. They helping keep it alive in these streets and Rick Ross sent the love back. It's all love. We appreciate the gesture. If I know Pac like I know him, he would appreciate the fact that his name is still beating out of everybody's car, on the radio every day. I think he would appreciate that.
Even with Soulja Boy, he must've been like five years old when 2pac was popping. What were your initial thoughts when you heard he wanted to remake Juice?
You know what's crazy? I heard Justin Bieber say Tupac was his favorite rapper because his mom used to play Tupac when he was a little boy so it's no surprise to me man because when you make music for the people and you got a message in your music, it's going to impress generations to come. We've already seen it with Bob Marley and how people that love Bob Marley weren't even alive when he was alive and doing his thing When you're a great artist and you write music for the people and there is a message in it, your message is going to endure for decades to come and if these up and coming rappers want to learn anything through Pac–learn that from Pac, don't learn all the bravado, all the shit you've seen on TV, don't take that and emulate that; emulate the fact that this man cared enough about the people. He wanted you to dance half of the time, but for the most part he wanted you to learn something and take something from his music at the end of the day that could enrich your life.
He had so many sides to him I think a lot of the times some of the younger kids get caught up in the Thug Life imagery and not even get into his whole story and everything that he stood for.
Absolutely and that's the mistake being made. I guess Pac's charisma and his in your face attitude kind of blinds people to the fact of what was really going on under the surface and that's unfortunate. I also feel people should dig a little digger and don't just go for what you see on the screen, dig a little deeper into the man and really get to know him and what he was about.
Is there a story that you would want to share with people about Pac that would surprise people?
Pac literally saved lives. He never did it for press or for media. I've seen this man pay people's rent when they were about to get evicted. He'd go to the desolate part of downtown LA and hand out hundred dollar bills. His heart was as big as a house, literally. I don't think people really know that about Pac. I wouldn't even call it charity because he felt like it was his responsibility. He did it because it was because it had to be done. I also don't think people know the comedian side of Pac. Pac was a comedian. He loved to laugh and loved to have a good time. He wasn't just always serious and militant and ready for war.
I heard that behind the scenes, Pac was like a jokester, playing pranks on everybody, trying to get people to laugh all the time.
Absolutely, if the mood was down in the room he would absolutely pick it up. That's one of the things that I miss about him, probably top two or three, is the fact that he loved to laugh. He wanted to make everybody else laugh and have a good time.
I wished more people would have saw his other side.
Unfortunately, he had to get up out of here too soon.
Do you think Pac would still be rapping if he was still here or do you think he would have shifted into doing more charity work or movies?
It's hard to say. We've gotten that question a lot over the years and one thing I never try to do is speculate what Pac would be doing right now because he was an ever evolving person. We're always evolving, but Pac kind of evolved a little bit faster than some of the rest of us. The stuff he did and had to go through at 22, 23, 24, most people don't really have to go through that shit until later on in their life, so it's hard what he would be doing right now or where he would be at. I know one of the things he was talking about before he passed was getting into politics. You could definitely maybe say that would be one of the things that he would be doing at 40, but like I said it's hard to say and I don't like to speculate.
All of us at VIBE are really looking forward to the next Outlawz project and see how hot you guys grow because you guys are really like his students, his soldiers...
Absolutely and we went from soldiers to generals and now we're trying to lead another generation of people. That's what we're here for. We're not just about taking money from the game and taking fame from the game. It's really about giving back at this point in our career because honestly we've gotten everything that we've ever wanted out of the game already; Pac made sure of that, so now it's up to us to give it back.
Is there anywhere where fans can see Outlawz on tour?
We're definitely going to be in a ghetto near you, touching the people. We're not going to be up in VIP away from the people; we're going to be with the people, so look for us after this album drop. We've been doing shows up in Canada all year because they've really been showing a lot of Outlawz love to us. Definitely look for us on the road. We're going to do a promo tour and we'll make sure everybody have the dates.
Is there anything else you want to let the people know?
Follow us on Twitter @TheOutlawz, get the mixtapes Killuminati 2K10 and 2K11 and pick up Perfect Timing September 13.