To create the liner notes for his debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, Tupac Shakur provided commentary for all but two of the songs (the line note and artist biography interview was cut short, and 'Pac never provided his thoughts on "Words of Wisdom" and "Crooked Ass Nigga." 2Pacalypse Now has just been reissued on vinyl and to commemorate the occasion, we're publishing the liner notes, which have been, unfortunately, difficult to find in the era of digital music.
2Pac recently talked about the songs on his debut album, 2Pacalypse Now (Interscope Records). Produced by the Underground Railroad, 2Pacalypse Now was recorded in Richmond, California from March to August 1991. "Trapped" is the first single.
"Young Black Male"
"Only a Young Black Male can tell you how a Young Black Male lives. How you get sweated by the cops all the time. How your homies are rushed. This rap's so straight from the heart that I did it in one take, one burst."
"We're trapped in our own ghettos and some people are braggin' about it. White people can go anywhere except the ghetto and we can't go anyplace but the ghetto. Who do you think has the best of that deal? It doesn't make any difference if your hair is permed or braided or in dreads, if you're in the ghetto then you're trapped."
"Brenda's Got a Baby"
"A true story. A family in New York died when they left the gas on because they were so cold—except for a 12-year-old-girl. She then went to stay with a cousin who molested her and got her pregnant. She had the baby on the bathroom floor before she went to school! Then she threw it in in the incinerator. Fortunately, someone saved the child. But reading that story, the pain really shook me."
"My enemy is the police. They're like the cop in Terminator 2—globs that can take any shape. They call themselves Officer Friendly but they're out on the street kicking motherfuckin' asses. The song just vents my frustrations."
"If My Homie Calls"
"I'll always stay true to my homies. The show can wait, the movie can wait. Because your homies are the ones who stay true."
"I Don't Give a Fuck"
"Digital Underground got jacked by the San Francisco Police Dept., they put guns to our heads. Right after getting nominated for a Grammy: 'Shut up or we'll blow you away!' Two hours later, I'm in the studio session and this is what came out. I'm talking some true shit here."
"In case anybody thinks we always need samples, I wanted to show how we'd make it with no samples at all. We got a beat and just rocked it."
"Rebel of the Underground"
"I'm a rebel. I'm always the one talking the loudest and getting arrested or thrown out of someplace."
"That's my nickname in the underground, big 'U' and little 'u.' Everybody's got a character and a nickname. I guess I got this one because mine is a personality that can flip at any second."
"This is the flip side of records glorifying dope dealin' and free sex. This one's about a friend who freaks for a 10-piece and how his son is so ashamed of him, he becomes a stone cold killer. And a mother who's so blinded by love of this dealer she's not listening when her daughter tells her she's been raped. And how a one-night stand leaves a man with a baby and how it changes his life. He too is a part-time mutha."
"Dope dealers are known as soldiers 'cause they're tuned into war. In this story, a little brother idolizes his big brother dope dealer. So when the big brother goes to the penitentiary, the little brother tries to break him out—and dies. He didn't know it's a fast life—he didn't know it's not like they tell you."
And don't forget—2Pac is one of the nominees for the 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame fan vote. Vote to get 'Pac into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame here.