Towards the very end of part four of Kanye’s instant-classic BBC interview, he can be heard saying, “Not since Pac, right?”
The statement is a response to Zane Lowe’s comment in regards to the intensity their hour-long meeting of the minds produced. In a sense, it’s true, too. A few days ago, I noted in one of our daily e-mail threads that Kanye’s passion and conviction in interviews was arguably the closest representation to Tupac. Ever.
The mini-series also instantly conjured memories of an interview Afeni’s pride and joy once gave in 1993. Tupac appeared as guest on Black Watch, and unlike Kanye’s Q&A with Lowe, the interviewer nearly derailed what eventually became one of the most unique on-camera moments of Pac’s life. Calling the questions lackluster is too much of a compliment. Throughout the clip, Pac and Richie Rich become so annoyed to the point they began cracking jokes almost leaving the guy in tears (maybe not tears, but he was by far the most uncomfortable person in the room).
Where the lack of worthwhile questions could be seen as a negative, the platform for Tupac to launch into a series of impassioned tirades was readily available. Pac – in classic Pac fashion – was animated as he ate pizza, smoked blunts and launched into profanity-filled soliloquies about the forces who attempted to silence his music, his fight with the Hughes Brothers on the set of Spice 1′s “Trigga Gots No Heart,” Poetic Justice, dealing with “bitches,” staying true to “the game” he learned in Oakland, vowing to never change despite the money, fame and success to go along with a boatload of other topics.
The most glaring differences between Pac’s interview in ’93 and Kanye’s in ’13 are obviously the topics addressed and where both were in their respective careers. Pac’s solo trek was still gaining notoriety thanks in part to a massively successful sophomore album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., and movie co-starring Janet Jackson. Yet and still, for many, Pac never amounted to more than a loud-mouthed 21-year-old thug who got off on boisterous antics and criminal activity.
For Kanye, 36-years-old, his musical accomplishments nearly a decade following his debut College Dropout leave him as one of music’s greatest living legends. And somehow, his moments speaking in front of a camera remain as culturally relevant as the music.
So how were they similar? Easy, transparency. It’s debatable whether Shakur and West were right or wrong, self-aggrandizing, spirited in revolutionary thought to lead others or, quite simply, caught up in the moment of their own eccentric, Gemini and occasionally hilarious bravado. The parallel, however, stems from both, without the shadow of a doubt, believing in the words they were preaching from the top of their lungs.
A year later during an interview with MTV, Pac prophesied, “I’m not saying I’m going to rule the world or I’m going to change the world. But I guarantee I will spark the brain that will change the world. That’s our job – to spark somebody else watching us.”*
The same way he has with most everything in his career – including Jimmy Kimmel’s spoof – Kanye likely had taken the statement to heart long before Jay first handed him his Rocafella chain. Chances are Pac’s vision fell short of including Spongebob meme tweets though.
* – Someone like Killer Mike has replicated Pac’s intensity and passion for years now.
Previously: More Tupac Trivia: He Was The Major Influence To WCW’s NWO Revolution | How ‘Inside Edition,’ CNN and MTV News Reported Tupac’s 1994 Quad Studios Shooting | Read A 17-Year-Old Rashida Jones’ Fiery Letter To Tupac In 1993