“You can do that lil’ set me up in the studio shit in New York, but in California nigga, that’s where the G’s ride.”
The Internet can take a person to the strangest and most ironic corners if they actually allow it. So imagine my enjoyment, shock and surprise upon landing on this vintage Uncle Luke and Tupac interview. While the clip features Pac revealing the thought process behind Euthanasia – the original title for what would become All Eyez On Me – and the expected shots at Faith Evans, The Notorious B.I.G. and Bad Boy, the painful and haunting moments resonate when Afeni’s iconic offspring speaks on his Quad Studios shooting in 1994 and bulletproof vest. Loaded off Hennessy and Coke, Tupac (alongside the late Johnny J) infamously boasts while showing off his protective gear, “I got shot five times and ain’t nare bullet go in my chest. These shits ain’t no good.”
Following Luke’s assertion he had no need for bulletproof vests, Shakur’s prophetic answer of him not wanting “niggas to switch up on me” is a vexatious reminder of what would fall in his lap not even a year later. Particularly during the second half of his career, this was the Tupac the media came to know and antagonize, which, in all honesty, was apart of his Gemini personality; the cocky, ignorant, loud-mouthed loose cannon who lived life in the fast lane. Even today, nearly 16 years to the month of his murder, Pac’s ability gravitate between compassionate, to venomous and back to compassionate again remains his calling card. Pac’s time with Luke here was just as much who he was as, say, “I Ain’t Mad At Cha.”
Hindsight is 20/20, but the question of what if Pac decided to wear that same vest the night of September 7, 1996, remains an indelible black cloud on the genre and generation he helped revolutionize.