Shock G Reflect's on Tupac's Legacy; Breaks Down His Classic Records

On what would have been Tupac Shakur's 40th birthday, VIBE revisits producer Shock G's personal and heartfelt memories of his fallen brither-in-spirit and colaborator. From Pac's earliest wild and crazy days as a roadie for Shock's Digital Underground outfit to the stories behind some of Pac's most indelible musical works, it's all here. Happy Birthday, Pac.—Keith Murphy




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This Is An EP Release--Digital Underground (1991)

“Tommy Boy wanted another album right after the tour, but I told them I couldn’t have an album out that fast…We wasn’t Public Enemy…we didn’t have a Bomb Squad in the studio making our beats. We made all our own shit so we had to start on it when got home. Tommy Boy heard me freaking out, so they said, ‘Okay…just put an EP out to hold people over.’ It was their idea to include ‘Same Song’ on the EP as well as a couple of remixes. That’s why the EP didn’t have a concept, which to me was a sin. ‘Same Song’ was originally featured in this Dan Aykroyd movie called Nothing But Trouble.

This was also 2Pac’s introduction to the public. But there’s one misconception that I want to clear up. Pac was never a Digital Underground dancer. He was our roadie. And out of all the roadies we ever had, he was the best. You never lost anything on his watch. The only thing you could say about Pac was how wild he was. It was later that he started performing onstage with us. Pac would probably get us arrested in every other city because he would pop shit at the police quick [laughs].

Sometimes he would get us in unnecessary fights. He would never back down even if he were in the wrong. But if they were fucking with us and we were innocent, which happened most of the time, we would support 2Pac 100 percent. But a lot of times he was just wrong [laughs]. Our first meeting with 2Pac was set up through Antron. He wanted me to be the ears for him and tell him whether or not he should sign Pac. From there, 2Pac became our label mate. He had presence when he rhymed. But Pac began to become restless so Antron called me in a panic and asked if we could take him on tour with us because he had a feeling that he was losing him. He just got offered a position with the Black Liberation Army at this college in Atlanta.

Pac was ready to take that job and say fuck it because the music was taking too long. So, Pac took Money B’s brother place on our tour with Public Enemy and Big Daddy Kane. He did some dancing onstage, but he was mainly our roadie. At first I didn’t want to disrespect him because I knew Pac was a serious MC. I didn’t want to ask him to dance or be our roadie. I thought it was beneath him, but 2Pac calls me back and he’s like, ‘Hell yeah, nigga…I’ll do that!’ He never acted like he was a member of Digital Underground. We all felt like D.U. was a humorist band and Pac’s message was very serious. But we had already been around the world with Pac on tour and he was ripping up the after parties when we passed the mic around. So we asked him to be on ‘Same Song.’ Even my mother saw that there was something special inside Pac. She walked over to me during the ‘Same Song’ video shoot and asked, ‘Gregory, who is that right there?’ She hadn’t even heard of Pac yet. I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s 2Pac.’ And she said, ‘Watch him…he has that quality. I don’t know what he sounds like. But he looks like he’s a star.’

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Bobby Shmurda Returns Home After Serving 6 Years In Prison

After serving 6 years, Bobby Shmurda is finally out. The rapper, born Ackquille Pollard, was granted a conditional release from the New York state prison, Clinton Correctional Facility, on Tuesday morning (Feb. 23) and will serve the remainder of his 7-year sentence on parole. According to reports, Shmurda “will be under community supervision in Kings County until he completes his sentence on February 23, 2026.”

In true celebrity fashion, Shmurda was brought home in a private jet this morning. Earlier this week, Migos' Quavo told Billboard that he would do the honor of picking him up upon Bobby's release. "I'm going to get my guy. I'm personally gonna go pick up Bobby Shmurda. I'm bout to go get him. I'm gonna let him show you how I'm gonna pick him up, yessir. It's gonna be big."

And that he did.

 

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In December 2014, Shmurda was arrested at New York City's Quad Studios and was charged with conspiracy to murder, criminal possession of a weapon, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and reckless endangerment follow a two-year probe by the New York Police Department. In 2016, the former Epic Records signee and his childhood friend Rowdy Rebel accepted a plea deal and were sentenced to 7 years in prison.

“They kind of did it dirty at the end of the day,” Bobby explained in a phone interview with VIBE back in 2016. “They had offered me five (years) but then they said if I take the seven, then I’ll be taking it so that they could give Rowdy seven because they were going to offer him 12. I didn’t want my bro to do 12 years because at the end of the day, we didn’t really do nothing, but they playing dirty. So I’m going to take one for the bro.”

Now that Bobby is out, he'll be spending time with family and friends and getting his head back into creating new music. Watch his FaceTime call with his mother, Leslie, down below.

Welcome back, Bobby.

Bobby Shmurda on facetime with his mom after being released from prison pic.twitter.com/YvdaBzo1Y4

— Bobby Shmurda Updates (@bodboybobby) February 23, 2021

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Fred The Godson attends the Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Launch at The Griffin on March 31, 2014 in New York City.
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Fat Joe, Jim Jones and Bronx Community Celebrate Fred The Godson's Street Naming On His Birthday

Today (Feb. 22), the great MC, Fred The Godson, was honored posthumously with a street naming by his Bronx community and hip-hop industry comrades. Among the dozens of those that showed love to the rapper that passed away in April 2020 due to COVID-19 were BX native Fat Joe and Harlem repper Jim Jones. The street's South Bronx location of Leggett avenue and Kelly street will now also be called Fredrick "Fred The Godson" Thomas Way.

While snow fell heavily, the crowd of supporters and the organizers stood strong and watched as the sign was unveiled to cheers of joy. The Fred The Godson Foundation worked hard to make this day happen on what would have been Fred's 36th birthday. "Shortly after Fred’s passing, the Fred The Godson Foundation was created to carry on his legacy for his children and family, and the commitment to his dreams for the Bronx," says the foundation's mission statement. "The mission is to inspire, empower and nourish individuals, children and families in underserved communities, starting with Fred’s birthplace. The foundation will foster community unity through the common pursuit of wellness, prosperity, and opportunity."

 

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Known for having one of the most celebrated flows that included a barrage of double entendres and metaphors that were rarely matched, Fred was a respected MC with enormous skills that were able to get him featured on the famed 2011 XXL 'Freshman' class magazine cover along with Meek Mill, Mac Miller (RIP) and Kendrick Lamar. Jim Jones had some heartfelt words for the one named 'Gordo' at the ceremony, "Fred inspired me to do this music, a lot all over again. There was a time I really didn't want to do no music...and Fred would say, 'Nah, you gotta get in that booth Capo.'"

 

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The Thomas family announced thank you's and love to Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr. of District 17 in the South Bronx, Bronx Borough President Ruban Diaz, NYPD's 41st Precinct, and the Bronx community for helping make the Frederick “Fred the Godson” Thomas Way street co-naming possible.

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Much respect to the legacy of the husband and father, Fred The Godson.

 

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Jay-Z attends 2020 Roc Nation THE BRUNCH on January 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
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Jay-Z Sells Half Stake Of 'Ace Of Spades' To Moët Hennessy In New Partnership

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“I’m proud to welcome the Arnault family into ours through this partnership that began with Alexandre Arnault and continued with his father Bernard Arnault and Philippe Schaus, at my home in Los Angeles," said Carter in a press release. "It is a partnership that has felt familiar the entire time. We are confident that the sheer power of the Moët Hennessy global distribution framework, its unparalleled portfolio strength and its long-established track record of excellence in developing luxury brands will give Armand de Brignac the commercial power it needs to grow and flourish even further.”

Moët Hennessy's president and CEO, Philippe Schaus shared how his company has been a long-admirer of Armand de Brignac's success in the champagne and wine categories.

“Often referred to as 'Ace of Spades,' Armand de Brignac breaks barriers and reflects contemporary luxury, while preserving the traditions of the Champagne terroirs. Today, we are incredibly proud to be partnering with them and believe that the combination of our Champagne experience and international network coupled with Shawn 'JAY-Z' Carter’s vision, the strength of the Armand de Brignac brand and quality of its range of prestige cuvées will allow us to take the business to new heights across the world.”

Watch Jay-Z's sitdown interview with CNBC's Squawk Box (which aired shortly after the published announcement) where he talks about how the deal came to fruition and his growth since entering the wine and spirits space after boycotting the champagne line, Cristal back in 2006.

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