Accept no substitutes; I bring truth to the youth.; Killing ain't fair, but somebody's got to do it.
My adversaries crumble when we rumble; it's a catastrophe.
It's not going to stop until we stop it. And it's not just white men that's doing this to Brenda. It's not just white men that's keeping us trapped. It's black.
The same crime element that white people are scared of, black people are scared of. The same crime element that white people fear, black people fear. So we defend our self from the same crime element that they are scared of... While they are waiting for legislation to pass and everything, we're next door to the killer, we're next door to him you know. Because we're up in the projects... All them killers that they letting out, they're right there in that building. Just because we're black we get along with the killers or something? We get along with rapists because we're black and from the same hood? What is that? We need protection too.
Currency means nothing if you still ain't free; money breeds jealousy.
My aim is to spread more smiles than tears; utilize lessons learned from my childhood years.
Take the game from me; I hope for better days.
I'm not on this all-white or all-black shit. I'm on this all-real or all fake shit with people, whatever color you are.
Every 'brother' ain't a brother. They will do you. So just because it's black, don't mean it's cool. And just because it's white don't mean it's evil.
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Atlanta (1992)
First, I wanna say 'peace' to my mother. She's not here but I gotta give a 'peace out' to her because I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my mother.
It's not going to stop until "we" stop it. And it's not just white man that's doing this to Brenda. It's not just white man that's keeping us trapped. It's "black." And we have to find the new African in everybody... But before we can be African, we gotta be black first.
What I want you to take seriously is what we have to do for the youth.
You grew up, we grew up B.C. Before crack. That's just saying it all. You understand? You don't have parents... You have young kids, fourteen, coming home and their mama is smoking out, going to their best friend to get the product.
It's not just about you taking care of "your" child. It's about you taking care of these children.
First, I want to say peace to my mother. She's not here, but I've got to give a 'peace out' to her, because I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my mother. And, I look in the front of this thing and it says 'start from within to rebuild our original greatness.' Right? Okay, well that's what my mother did. You know what I'm saying? And I'm listen about freedom fighters and strugglers. Well you got to understand when it was 'in' to have a gun and be in the streets, my mother gave that up to be in a house and wash the dishes and feed us. You know what I'm saying? And put the thoughts in our brain. We didn't get any of that history from all of those soldiers that we lost. We got none of that. They all went to jail if you can remember that. They all went to penitentiaries. We didn't see none of that knowledge. If it was not for my mother, that stayed home, and didn't go out and do all that, then I wouldn't have shit, excuse my language. But, I wouldn't have been nowhere. So what I want to do hopefully is. I want to be, not I want to be, I am Tupac Shakur. I have to be a reminder that we cant chill out. No, it not time cool out in banquets, its still on. It's on just like it was on when you were young and you want to say 'fuck that'. Just like you said 'fuck that', back then. So how come, now that I'm twenty years old and ready to start some shit, everybody's telling me to 'calm down'. Don't curs them, go to school, go to college. Well, fuck that. We have had colleges for awhile now. You know what I'm sayin? There's still Brenda's out there and niggas are still trapped. You know what I'm saying? And it gets me, irked. You know what I'm saying? Because I understand that it's not going to stop. You know what I'm saying?
It's not going to stop until we stop it. And it's not just white men that's doing this to Brenda. It's not just white men that's keeping us trapped. It's 'black', and we have to find the new African in everybody. In all of us, because if we keep running around looking for black and who got the most colors on or who got the baddest dashiki, we're still going to, excuse my language, we're still going to get fucked. Because it hurts me that my mother right now is going though, you know, she has to get clean. This is somebody I watched travel the whole country. You know what I'm saying? During the time when our women were scared to speak up. But, a Black Panther she spoke at Harvard, Yale, everywhere and now. I see my mother as what's really going on. You know what I'm saying? I don't see no big parade around my mother now. She's got a dozen fucking awards, and I don't see nobody there. You understand what I'm saying? So out of this, I take that lightly. I take all this lightly.
What I want you to take seriously, is what we have to do for the youth. Because we're coming up in a totally different world. This is not the same world that you had this is not 6th Street its not. You grew up, we grew up B.C. Before crack. That's just saying it all. You understand? We did not grow up without parents. You had parents that told you this and that and told you what went on back in the day. You have young kids, fourteen, coming home and their mama is smoking out, going to their best friend to get the product. You understand what I'm saying? So that means it's not just about you taking care of "your" child. It's about you taking care of "these children". It hurts that I got to, it bothers me, not hurts, that I have to sidestep my youth to stand up and do some shit that somebody else is suppose to be doing. You understand what I'm saying? There's too many men out here for me to be doing this, because it ain't my turn yet. I'm supposed to be following behind him getting the knowledge. I don't even got a chance to get the fucking knowledge. I can't go to college. There's too much problems out here. I don't got the money. Nobody does. You understand what I'm saying? So what I'm saying is, it's not as easy as we're mapping it out to be. We've got to stay real. Before we can be new African we've gotta be black first. You understand? We've gotta get our brothers from the streets like Harriett Tubman did. Why can't we look at that and see exactly what she was doing? Like Malcolm did, the real Malcolm, before the Nation of Islam. You've got to remember, this was a pimp. You know what I'm saying, we forgot about all that. In our strive to be enlightened we forgot about all our brothers in the street, about all our dope dealers, our pushers and our pimps, and that's who's teaching the new generation, because y'all not doing it. I'm sorry. But, it's the pimps and pushers who's teaching us. So, if you got a problem with how we were raised, its because they was the only ones who could do it. They the only ones who did it, because everybody else wanted to go to college, and you know, yeah everything's changed, they were the ones telling you 'the white man ain't shit, there you go, check this out young blood, you take this product, you switch it, you get money and that's how you beat the white man, you get money, you get the hell up out of here.' Nobody else did that. So I don't wanna hear shit about nobody telling me who I can't love and respect until you start doing what they did. To me, this is Mecca. This is the black family. You know what I'm saying? But, what makes it that much sadder, what makes me wanna cry, is that when I leave this place, so does Mecca. You understand what I'm saying? We're going back to the real deal. Right out there, you're going see the same sisters and Brenda, they're right out there, and y'all are going to get in your cars and drive the fuck home.
To dance with the naked [blow-up] doll, that was me! That's what I mean by I'm real, I'm truly hardcore, because I needed the money and I had to work. So if he told me that for me to get paid I had to go out there in bikini briefs and hop on top of this [blow-up] doll and that's how I gotta get paid, and I was homeless at the time, that's what I had to do. But What I did was not let him pimp me, you know what I'm saying. It wasn't like I just did that because that was my order. As soon as I got the check's to say what was on my mind, I said what was on my mind. And we have a platinum record now, you know what I'm saying.
You have to work from one point to go to another. So I admire work ethic, I think it should be re-inforced through out our neigbourhoods, that everybody should work hard, practice makes perfect, you have to be diligent with what you want, you have to apply your self, you have to motivate your self. You have to do for-self by your self, and then you can do things for other people. But that's what I had to do, I had to do for-self.
I want, when they see me, They know that everyday when I'm breathing is for us to go further. Everytime I speak I want the truth to come out. Not one person even realizes that I have white relatives, my cousin just had a son who is “White” but everytime I speak I want a shiver so yes, I do omit things that I feel are not accurately portraying my “character”. I don't want them to be like; they know what I'm gonna say, because it's polite. Im not saying I'm gonna rule the world or I'm gonna change the world, but I guarantee you that I will spark the brain that will change the world. And that's our job, It's to spark somebody else watching us. We might not be the one's, but let's not be selfish and because we not gonna change the world let's not talk about how we should change it. I don't know how to change it, but I know if I keep talking about how dirty it is out here, somebody's gonna clean it up.
I gotta big mouth, I can't help it, I talk from my heart, I'm real you know what I'm sayin whatever comes comes. But my controverse problems, It's not my fault, I try to find my way in the world you know, I try to be somebody instead of just, make money off of everybody. You know what im saying, so I go down paths that haven't been traveled before and I usually mess up, but I learn, you know what I'm saying, I come back stronger, I'm not talking ignorant, you know what I'm saying. So obviously put thought into what I do. So I think my mouth, my controverse, I have not been out of the paper since I joined Digital Underground, I've been in all, you know what I'm saying, my name has not been not uttered, you know what I'm saying, and that's good for me because I don't wanna be forgotten. If I'm forgotten then that means I'm comfortable and that means I think everything is okay.
It's like a battle, trying to find the right words to say at the right time.
It's a constant man-ego-check going on in the streets, in this world.
I believe honestly that I can talk. I believe that I have the ability to reason, I have logic, I have compassion, I have understanding. If we talk there's no problem you know what I'm saying. But that's not what happened. People used what they heard in media and that's how they come at me, and then you know we got a clash.
If your not cheering for me, for what I'm doing, don't cheer for me. Don't cheer cause you think I'm cute, you know what I'm saying, screw that. Cheer for me for what I'm doing, for what I stand for, and when I go to jail you should cheer louder.
I have no patience for anybody that doubts me, none at all.
I'm not thuggin' for me, I'm thuggin' for my family, I pay all the bills, I feed my whole family, wrong or right, I do and I can't stop.
The main thing for us to remember is that, the same crime element that white people are scared of, black people are scared of. The same crime element that white people fear, black people fear. So we defend our self from the same crime element that they are scared of, you know what I'm saying, while they are waiting for legislations to pass and everything, we're next door to the killer, we're next door to him you know. Because we up in the projects where it's 80 niggas in the building. All them killers that they letting out, they're right there in that building. Just because we're black we get along with the killers or something? We get along with rapist's because we're black and from the same hood? What is that? We need protection too.
I made a metamorphose, I'm a new person today, because I used to strongly and honestly, honestly! I feel like I can represent my generation so much because I honestly did not care whether I lived or died. But now I can not die, with people thinking I'm a rapist or a criminal, I can not leave until this shit is straight, you know I'm not suicidal. I can't go until ya'll really know what time it is. And then after that, BOOM!, It's all over and we can see how this shit fall, but that's how it is, and the reason being is because if I can't live free, if I can't live with the same respect as the next man, I don't wanna be here, because god has cursed me to see what life should be like, If God wanted me to be this person and be happy here, he wouldn't let me feel so oppressed, he wouldn't let me feel so trampled on, you know what I'm saying, he wouldn't let me think the things I think. So I feel I'm doing Gods work, you know what I'm saying just because I don't have nothing to pass around for people to put money in a bucket don't mean I ain't doing God's work.
The only way I've been practicing my whole life, to live my life is to be responsible for what I do. I don't know how to be responsible for what every black male did, I don't know. And yes, I am gonna say that I'm a thug, that's because I came from the gutter and I'm still here! I'm not saying I'm a thug because I wanna rob you or rape people and things. I'm a business man, I mean, you know I'm a business man because you find me at my places of business.
It's not my liking for guns, what about the NRA? We all have the rights to bear arms, I have that, I have that same right as you do. Just because I'm black doesn't mean I shouldn't have a gun; I legally own guns.
I know how it's gonna be when I die. It's going to be no noise, you ain't going to hear people screaming. I'mma fade out.
Marlon Brando is not a gangster-actor, he's an actor. Axl Rose and them are not gangster rock-and-rollers, they're rock-and-rollers right. So I'm a rapper, this is what I do. I'm an artist.
I think being humble is sexy.
I think that I'm really, I was a reactionary, and now I don't do that any more. Same person, but I don't react. Before, I reacted. I didn't like the cameras, so I spit.
I'm known as a survivor now, I hope so, for the jail thing, bullets and everything, controversies and everything, I hope so. And I want to be in the future known as somebody. You know I want people to be talking about me like you know: "remember when he was real bad, remember when Tupac was real bad". You know what I mean, they do that about a lot of actors now, like John Travolta I read stories like "remember you were wild". And all these other people, and now they're like sweet hearts. We all should get that chance, I just want my chance.
Interviewer: It says "I really got my ass beat. I really don't like police.
Shakur: It doesn't say that. Where are you at? Right there... oh. I didn't say that. That's not what it says.
Shakur: It says, 'I'm a victim for real. Everything I talk is for real. I really got my ass beat. I really don't like them... I really don't like crooked police.
Jail is big business, believe me. I'm in jail, I see the big business. You can feed a whole town off one jail. This jail is in the middle of a town that feeds everybody. Everybody works here, this is the main income. So if there were no criminals, nobody would work.
The guns are turning away from Europe and Russia and Iran and Iraq and they're turning to us.
America is the biggest gang in the world.
Prison kills your spirit, straight up. It kills your spirit. There is no creativity, there's none of that.
Now if we do wanna live the thug life and the gangsta' life and all that, OK, so stop being cowards and let's have a revolution. But we don't wanna do that, dudes just wanna live "character", they wanna be "cartoons", but if they really wanted to do something, they was that tuff, alright, let's start our own country, let's start a revolution, let's get outta' here, let's do something. But they don't wanna do that, they wanna pimp our communities and portray this image that they know we all can't survive and make, and that's what I saw.
No matter what these people say about me, my music does not glorify any image, my music is spiritual if you listen to it. It's all about emotion, it's all about life.
Watch people, because you can fake for a long time, but one day you're gonna show yourself to be a phony.
Measure a man by his actions fully, from the beginning to the end. Don't take a piece out of my life or a song out of my music and say this is what I'm about, because you know better than that.
I don't feel like what I did was so evil, I just feel like the way I was living and my mentality was a part of my progression to be a man.
Don't support the phonies, support the real.
Listen to the words people say in their lyrics, and tell me, if that's some real shit, if that's real to you, you know what I mean. Listen to what they sayin', don't just bob your head to the beat, peep the game, and listen to what Im saying. Hold us accountable for it.
Trust nobody, TRUST NO BODY.
Fear is stronger than love, remember that. Fear is stronger than love, all that love I gave didn't mean nothing when it came to fear.
The only thing that can kill me is death, that's the only thing that can ever stop me, is death, and even then my music will live forever.
I've always been an actor, the reason I've been successful in the rap-game I think is that I treat my albums like movies, and I treat writing it like I'm a character writing a story, you know, for each album whatever I'm going through, whatever stages I'm going through, and I do it vividly with vivid pitcure, with action and description, and an beginning and with an end, and conflict, and you know, redemption, things like that. So I feel like I always been an actor and acting is my first love.
If you thought about it I'm hardly the villain, I'm hardly the one you should be scared of. It's the guy who can't talk, it's the guy without a job, it's the one with scares in his face, not the one clean cut, you know what I mean you should worry about a lot of other things, but not me.
Basically It's a hypocritical view, because what your saying is it's okay for us to live in the dirt, in the gutter, in less than human conditions, but it's not okay for us to tell people that we are living in these conditions.
On the whole, I don't have any friends. Friends come and go; I've lost my trust factor. I believe I have people who think they're my friend. And I believe that there are people probably in their heart who are friends toward me or are friends to me. But they're not my friends, because what I learned is that fear is stronger than love.
I can't explain why I shine and no one else shines. I think everybody shines in different things.
The reason I sell 6 million records, the reason I could go to jail and come out without a scratch, the reason I can walk around, the reason I am who I am today is because I can look directly in to my face and find my soul, it's there, it's not sold, i didn't sell it, it's still within me, I still feel it, my heart is still connected to my body.
Currency means nothing if you still ain't free. Money breeds jealousy. Take the game from me; I hope for better days. Trouble comes naturally. Running from authorities. 'Til they capture me, and my aim is to spread more smiles than tears. Utilize lessons learned from my childhood years.
Some people say I was a thug and a gangster; other people remember me as a poet and a born leader. But I'm saying to you, measure a man by his actions fully, through his whole life, from the beginning to the end.
Remember, this country had a man named J. Edgar Hoover, whose job it was to destroy the credibility of any black man coming up.
My mother was pregnant with me while she was in prison. She was her own attorney, never been to law school. She was facing 300 and something odd years. One black woman, pregnant, beat the case. That just goes to show you the strength of a black woman and the strength of the oppressed.
When I was a little baby, I remember that one moment of calm peace, and three minutes after that, it was on.
But in my homeboys' high school, it's not like that. They don't have trips to go see this Broadway play, they don't read things we read. They didn't know when I was like: "Yo, Shakespeare's dope."
The same crime element that white people are scared of black people are scared of. While they waiting for legislation to pass, we next door to the killer. All them killers they let out, they're in that building. Just because we black, we get along with the killers? What is that? We need protection too.
You have to be logical. You know? If I know that in this hotel room they have food every day, and I'm knocking on the door every day to eat, and they open the door, let me see the party, let me see them throwing salami all over, I mean, just throwing food around, but they're telling me there's no food.
Every day, I'm standing outside trying to sing my way in: We are hungry, please let us in. We are hungry, please let us in. After about a week that song is gonna change to: We hungry, we need some food. After two, three weeks, it's like: Give me the food Or I'm breaking down the door. After a year you're just like: I'm picking the lock. Coming through the door blasting.
It's like, you hungry, you reached your level. We asked ten years ago. We was asking with the Panthers. We was asking with them, the Civil Rights Movement. We was asking. Those people that asked are dead and in jail. So now what do you think we're gonna do? Ask?
No, you don't wanna get me started. Jell-O with hair all in the mold. I'd be like, "Damn, man, how are you gonna mess up Jell-O?" Jell-O is so wholesome and family-like. It just ruins it for me. To have a hair in there, yeah. I mean, I'm like, "Come on, Bill Cosby pumps this, man!"
And you can't go, "There's a hair in my Jell-O. I'd like to send this back. Can I see the cook, please?" The cook is a big dude named Bubba Joe.
I got shot. I always felt like I'd be shot. Somebody was trying to do me some harm because a lot of people don't like me. But I didn't think it was gonna happen at that particular moment.
Niggers was the ones with the rope, hanging off trees; Niggas are the ones with gold ropes, hanging out at clubs.
Measure a man by his actions fully, through his whole life, from the beginning to the end.
Coming to grips with my past, it was hard. I don't feel like what I did was so evil, I just feel like the way I was living, and my mentality, was part of my progression to be a man.
I'm not saying I'm gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.
You grow, we all grow, we're made to grow. You either evolve or disappear.
Keep ya head up. Do what you gotta do. And then, inside of you, I will be reborn.
The real tragedy is that there are some ignorant brothers out here. That's why I'm not on this all-white or all-black shit. I'm on this all-real or all fake shit with people, whatever color you are. Because niggas will do you. I mean, there's some [foul] niggas out there [in the streets]; the same niggas that did Malcolm X, the same niggas that did Jesus Christ; every brother ain't a brother. They will do you. So just because it's black, don't mean it's cool. And just because it's white don't mean it's evil.
From an interview with Tupac Shakur.
But I know for a fact that had I had a father, I'd have some discipline. I'd have more confidence. Your mother cannot calm you down the way a man can. Your mother can't reassure you the way a man can. My mother couldn't show me where my manhood was. You need a man to teach you how to be a man. When I was young I was quiet, withdrawn. I read a lot, wrote poetry, kept a diary. I watched TV all day. I stayed in front of the television. It was when I was in front of the TV by myself, being alone in the house by myself, having to cook dinner by myself, eat by myself. Just being by myself and looking at TV, at families and all these people out there in this pretend world. I knew I could be part of it if I pretended too, So early on I just watched and emulated ... and I just thirsted for that. I thought if I could be and act like those characters, act like those people, I could have some of their joy. If I could act like I had a big family I wouldn't feel as lonely.