What did you learn from your experience in prison? It was eleven and a half months.
I learned that fear is stronger than love. And no matter how much love I got for my peoples, man, if somebody else making them scared, my people gonna do me in. And I learned that a lot of people support me for just being me. And I have to give back. And a lot of people look up to me to give back. So I have to be able to give back, but I can’t give back if I’m broke. So I have to be about my business and my money now. Before I wanted to talk and explain what I’m doing. I’m not doing that no more. Nobody’s gonna understand me. I just came up with that after reading what people was writing in VIBE. Ain’t no need for me to make people try to understand me. I’m gonna be out here and do my music, do some movies. Try to give back to the hood any way I can. I’ma give out food every Christmas, I’ma give out turkeys every Thanksgiving. I’ma have a Mothers Day program.
I think you’re oversimplifying. Most of the letters from readers support you. A lot of people dissed the people who responded to you in the magazine.
I seen it. I read every VIBE. I had a subscription, man. Every article you did, I read every VIBE that came out. Then I started seeing this shit, I was like, Goddamn. They can just say that? Puffy started talking about “If you a thug you need to be a thug forever.” Stretch is straight snitchin’, talking about I had a pistol, and whap de whoo. That’s just like sending me to jail. But I don’t care about them. It’s because of them that I’m invigorated and I’m rejuvenated to do what I got to do.
You said you were giving up smoking weed.
I’m striving for that. Every day I’m striving for that. Every day. You won’t see me all up on TV getting high. I’m not making it where the kids… I’m not making it like I’m glorifying getting high. That’s a hell of a muthafuckin’ thing, to shake an addiction like that. But shit, I gotta do what I gotta do.
When I talked to you before, you said “It’s gonna get deep.” What did you mean by that?
It’s gonna get deep, man, because… um, what the east is doing. They think it’s… I understand it. I’m from there. It’s really like unifying the east coast. Because it was really like, in a slump. But they’re doing it wrong. Cause they’re using the west coast as a rallying cry. And they making it look like we are the perpetrators of this big east coast / west coast thing. They never had no problems. They could come out here and perform and we clap. We go out there and niggas is booing. That Source Awards, that’s what start it. Not start it, but that Source Awards is what put it to a new level. They was booing. Me personally being from both coasts, but I represent the west coast, I think that’s disrespectful.
What about Suge making that comment about Puffy at the Source Awards. Wasn’t that kinda disrespectful?
No that’s not disrespectful. That’s his opinion and that’s real. All he was doing was saying if they tired of having a manager shake his ass in their video. We don’t do like that on the Row. That’s real.
But can’t that contribute to the whole east / west thing?
Not as much as it does when y’all niggas goin’ on the radio: It ain’t about west coat, it’s all about N.Y. Boo hoo hoo. Fuck the west, we the best. We started it. All them other niggas… I be listening! Suge has got the heart to say it in front of you. All these other muthafuckas been saying it behind our backs.
By getting deep, to you, does that mean violence or death?
I told you what I want. I want it to go on records. Let’s make some money for the hood. The hood is what need us now. Fuck a nigga ego. I don’t care, I could put all that shit aside and we could make records and give money to the hood. Build some community centers with this. We can make it where we have block parties, where Death Row and Bad Boy have rapping contests all over the hood and boom boom boom. We could do whatever.
Why do you think so many young black men around the country identify with you?