In a 1995 interview with MTV News, Tupac Shakur spoke about his upbringing and struggles while moving around California. During the interview, the rapper touched on delicate topics such as his mother’s addiction to crack and his shattered dreams of becoming a professional actor.
Speaking with the interviewer, Tabitha Soren, while strolling down LA’s Venice Beach, the rapper opened up emotionally and showed a level of vulnerability. It was a side of himself that fans had never seen before. While speaking on his move from the East Coast crime-ridden city of Baltimore to Marin City, a small town in San Francisco’s ‘Bay Area’, Shakur disclosed, “When I came to California, I was broke, I had nowhere to stay…I was staying with a friend of a friend of a friend of my mother.”
Further detailing his dire situation, Shakur explained, “My mother was in Baltimore! We didn’t have any lights, there was no electricity, and we was about to get evicted, so she sent me first…I wasn’t thinking about acting. I was thinking about surviving.” As the interview progressed, Soren asked Shakur, “During that time when you were in California, and your mum was in Baltimore, is that when she was a crack addict?”
Unafraid of the reality, Shakur replied, “Nah, she was addicted to crack when I was in California…I love my mum, she the bomb to me, so I love all her mistakes, but it was hard, it was hard because she’s my hero.” He explained in-depth that he was never tempted to take crack cocaine because the man he knew as his father died from overdosing on crack.
Soren, interested in how Shakur relieved stress as an adolescent when he was moving from a homeless shelter to a project, Shakur responded, “I smoked weed, I hung out with the drug dealers and the criminals because they had those same problems, and they found a way to get out of it.” Shakur even revealed that he attempted to sell drugs for approximately two weeks, but it didn’t work out for him.
Talking about his first break into the music scene with Digital Underground, Shakur recalled how he became part of the crew, explaining, “One person hooked me up with this other person, this lady named Leila who introduced me to Atron Gregory who was managing Digital Underground. He was like, ‘I’ma send you to Digital Underground, they in the studio, you just rap for Shock G on the spot, if he like you then I’ll pick you up.’ “
Unsurprisingly, his talent impressed Shock G, and the rapper was accepted into the crew. Shakur expounded that he looked back at his time in Digital Underground with “great fondness”. The interview sees Shakur get a new tattoo and check out sunglasses on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. It is a very personal interview and, apart from his in-jail interviews, is one of Shakur’s most personal interviews.