In honor of the 23rd anniversary of Tupac Shakur’s death, MTV News reaches in the vault and unearths a rare interview with the late rap legend.
In the 20-minute clip, which was filmed in 1995, one year before his death, Tupac and MTV News correspondent Tabitha Soren take a stroll down the Venice boardwalk for an in-depth conversation about his past and future.
He starts off by explaining the origins of his name before discussing his move to the West Coast and why he dropped out of performing arts high school.
Tupac also opens up about his mother Afeni Shakur’s cocaine addiction. “I love my mom. She the bomb to me so I love all her mistakes,” he says, while admitting, “It was hard ’cause she was my hero. She is my hero.”
During the interview, Pac tries on sunglasses (“I ain’t my style. They not Gaultier”), gets a tattoo, and signs autographs for fans while reflecting on his childhood. “I was the total opposite of what I am right now. I was quiet, withdrawn, I read a lot, I wrote poetry. I kept a diary,” he says.
He also gets candid about his biological father (“I still don’t know who it is. I have never taken any blood tests”) and how his life would have been different if his dad was around. “I’d have some discipline. I’d have more confidence,” he says. “Money gave me confidence. The screams of the crowd gave me confidence. Before that I was a shell of a man.”
Elsewhere, he admits that he tried selling drugs for two weeks, but stopped because he didn’t know how to do it. He also shares his desire to have kids (“I think I’ll be a very, very good father because I love kids”).
At the end, Pac is asked if he will ever be able to live a normal, happy life. “No, but I’m going for it. I’m trying for it,” he says. “And until then, I have to make the life that I do live as happy as I can and try to do the best with what I have.”