If there’s one thing true about Tupac, everyone has a story and/or an opinion on him, even nearly 18 years after his death. Mike D of the Beastie Boys sat down with Vanity Fair when the topic of the now legendary and infamous “East Coast/West Coast” feud was brought up.
“It still boggles my mind that it escalated so fast,” Mike said.
On the subject of Tupac, the Beastie Boy reflected a sentiment that has always loomed large in regards Pac’s legacy. He meant every word he said and every lyric he put down on wax, but Tupac’s desire to “be so authentic ultimately killed him.”
“Pac was an interesting thing because he came from the Digital Underground camp. I mean, he was a dancer and then he kind of guested on some records. He came from a performing arts school…Yeah, he was ‘Thug Life’ and everything, but he was more of an artistic kid. But basically he was so determined to be authentic, it ultimately killed him, which is a sad and tragic thing.”
In other words, Pac’s obsession with living the life he rapped about and conveyed in interviews was the dominant catalyst in his own demise. If his last words uttered to the Las Vegas cop who held him in his arms only moments after being shot are true, Shakur never broke character either.
The Licensed To Ill MC went on to detail how the fear of violence led to increased security in L.A. rap venues after both Pac and B.I.G. were murdered.
“Within Hip-Hop, it was a very accelerated curve where you went from shows where first there was security, then you couldn’t have a Hip-Hop club without a metal detectors to like guns were everywhere. And you had to have a metal detector in the club so at least people had guns in their car and not inside the club.”
Mike also spoke on the creativity of the L.A.-based Hip-Hop scene during the ’90s and performances in these clubs:
“I remember being in L.A. and going to Hip-Hop nights all the time because you had an interesting scene then because groups like Cypress Hill were coming out of these clubs that Amanda Demme was doing in Hollywood. So did Pharcyde. You had these really good creative groups coming out of there. It wasnt like ‘Oh I’m nervous to be a New York emcee in this mix.’ It wasn’t until this ‘Suge-Puffy’ very specific thing ‘til that fuse got lit that all happened. ”
An interesting perspective from one of rap’s most respected.
H/T: Rolling Stone