Rapper Tupac Shakur would have turned 44 this week if he was still alive, and many still wonder what type of impact he would have had on the world if he was not taken from us before his time.
Tupac’s words and actions caused a lot of controversy during his short life, especially in 1993 when he shot two police officers and was not charged. It was found that the officers were drunk and instigated a violent confrontation.
In memory of Tupac and his legacy, we are sharing an interview that Tupac did in 1992 about state violence, police brutality and how the culture of hip hop is a response to the violence that people endure every day.
In the interview, Tupac said that:
“I wanna see the true picture, because I don’t care if he feels uncomfortable. What about when I felt uncomfortable for 400 years? You know what I’m saying? Now all of a sudden it’s bad to talk about—any time someone pulls a trigger or there’s a gunshot, everybody start running for cover, but everybody’s really doing all the shooting in the streets.
That Iran-Contra, that war, that’s violence to me. That’s real violence. What we’re talking about is fake violence. What we’re rappin’, it happens in the streets, but rapping about it is not the violence. And the movie about it is not the violence. It’s an adventure world that we’re creating. What we’re doing is using our brain to get out of the ghetto any way we can, so we tell these stories and they tend to be violent because our world tends to be filled with violence.”
Tupac went on to discuss the importance of gun rights, and the fight or flight choices that people are faced with in the event of police brutality.
“I would rather tell a young black male to educate his mind, arm yourself and be free, defend yourself, than just sit there and turn the other cheek. So whatever message that sends out that’s the kind of message it is.
When you use your brain it doesn’t always have to come to a violent end, but sometimes it does and that’s all that I’m saying. That that is a choice. They never show you, you know, the cops beating on you—you have a choice. Violence to defend yourself, turn the other cheek or wait for the news cameras to come and talk about it. I’m talking about doing it.”
Tupac was dead only a few years after this interview was made. The world will never know the ultimate impact that Tupac would have played in society had he survived. Would he have led a revolution, become a teacher to the masses, continued making albums or all of the above? Unfortunately, all we can do is guess. At least we have a back catalog of interviews and albums to reference when looking for some inspiration from one of the most talented artists in modern times.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.