Former VIBE staffer and New York Congressional candidate Kevin Powell phoned Tupac Shakur for a candid interview in February 1996. Taken from the iconic interview book The VIBE Q: Raw And Uncut, excerpts are listed below in honor of 2Pac’s death 14 years ago.
VIBE: Why’d you call the album All Eyez on Me?
Tupac Shakur: Everybody lookin’ at me right now. The police lookin’ at me, the females, my enemies, reporters, people that want me to fall, people that want me to make it. My mama. In jail the guards. Everybody looking at me. All eyes on me.
How does that make you feel?
It make me feel good. I like the challenge. I know I gotta get out here and put some good work out. I’m really into this album cause I want it to sell. I’m really trying to break some records with this. Cause no rapper’s ever put out a double album. It’s never been done before.
How many songs did you say are on it?
It’s 28 songs. All brand new songs. None of it was written in jail. All of it happened soon as I got out.
You once said you were gonna go in a different direction. Is there any like introspection on this album? Like you mentioned Marvin Gaye in the last interview…
No. This album is like, hey. I never did an album like this before.
Can you describe it in a phrase?
Relentless. It’s like so uncensored. Aw maaaan. All my albums to me be sad. When I was in jail in New York, niggas was like, Man, come out with an album that’s not like you’re dying. The reason I did an album Me Against the World is so I could do an album like this. This is an upbeat album. It’s about celebrating my life. Celebrating being alive. Then I got this Outlaw Immortalz project. That’s the new Thug Life project.
So Thug Life is not dead?
It’s not dead. It’s Syke and Mopreme and some other homies from Thug Life. The project I’m involved with is called Outlaw Immortalz. That’s what happens when you pass Thug Life.
And you have a single with Faith, I understand.
[laughter] Yeah, sure do.
What’s that called?
“Wonder Why They Call You Bitch?”
What’s the song about?
Exactly what it sound like. Everybody’s wondering why we call females bitches. We don’t call all females bitches. It’s just certain things—and we give examples. Leaving the kids with her mother and she’s just out. She’s just a tramp.
How did you hook up with Biggie’s wife, given all this stuff that’s going on?
We met in the club and bumped it. Me and Faith don’t have no problems.
What about the rumors about you and Faith spending time outside the studio?
You mean the rumor that I fucked her? Heh heh heh
I’d rather turn the tape recorder off if you gonna say that, bro.
[Laughing hysterically] I ain’t gonna answer that shit, man. You know I don’t kiss and tell.
Is there anything you wanna add? Cause this is getting real deep.
I wanna add that, man… I want niggas in New York to not feed into this shit.
What about niggas on the west coast?