“I want my respect. It's not gonna be over till I drop my Nagasaki. They bombed Pearl Harbor. They shot me five times, okay. Until I get my Nagasaki, we can't have peace."
Reading this excerpt from Angie Martinez' unreleased interview with Tupac is chilling knowing what would unfold. His beef with Biggie wasn’t some East Coast versus West Coast game but a man who was shot and had another man to blame for it. They say Pac was paranoid, maybe he was, but five bullets riddling the body has a way of jading the senses. His mind was on war, the song “Bomb First” has new meaning now when you view it as an attack on Pearl Harbor.
Angie originally spoke with Pac in 1995, the two conversed for over two hours, but only 12 minutes were played on the radio after editing. The East Coast-West Coast beef was ready to erupt, this interview could have easily been a match to light a much bigger fire rather than smother it. Puffy had already called into the station and promised that if the interview aired, “It's going to make the situation worse. I'm going to have a real problem with the station." I wonder if Puffy knew what Pac said about him later in the interview - "When a cream puff nigga like that [Puffy] tells me that [Pac was not really living a thug life], it's time to ride” - or was he just trying to keep the entire situation tamped down?
I was scared to air this interview and I didn’t want to be responsible for making it worse. And the truth is that I made that decision and I’m proud of that after all these years later. I think about the tragedy that happened to both [Tupac and Biggie] like, "What if I had put that out?" I would’ve forever wondered if I had contributed in any way to what happened, even though it may not have. Ultimately, it happened anyway but I know that I did what I could do to not contribute to it. That gave me strength. That helped me draw my line in terms of who I am as a personality. - Angie Martinez Billboard Interview 2016
I can’t imagine Puffy telling Pac anything about the “Thug Life” but it’s a jarring reminder that their issues were much deeper than rap, deeper than any modern beefs. While the problem may have been between a small party the world was attuned to the energy that was being emitted at the time. Who knows what would’ve happened if Angie did air the Pac interview in its entirety?
It wasn’t two hours of beef, thew was a more positive side that side was aired over the radio, but his true feelings toward Biggie and Puff were kept locked away until now. 20 years later Angie feels like the story can be told, she is no longer on the frontline of a potential war, it’s more about telling history than writing a new chapter in blood. Her memoir, My Voice, will be released next week, I’m positive there will be even more stories inside the book to dig into.
I chose to stick by Pac with cuts that reflected his truth but that were also positive. And yes, I took the best of what he had said about there not being an East Coast-West Coast beef, that it was about one person dealing with another person. I struggled with the fine line between my journalistic duty to keep his meaning and not contributing to a dangerous situation as a human being who deeply cared about the culture. - Angie Martinez Billboard Interview 2016
Still, it’s sad to look at how history has a way of repeating itself. Pac didn’t want peace, not at that moment. This wasn’t a situation that could simply be diffused through a conversation or the two going their separate ways. At the time he wanted Nagasaki and nothing else would suffice. Sadly, Pac’s proclamation would eventually come true, but the violence wouldn’t come in the form of an atomic explosion. It would come in the form of drive by shootings that would take the lives of two legends, and then lay waste to the the hip-hop landscape.
By Yoh, aka Sherlock Yohmes, aka @Yoh31. Photo Credit to Chi Modu.