Tupac Shakur Says He "Wrote Only One Song In Jail" In Post-Prison Interview From 1995
Tupac Skakur details the making of what would become "All Eyez On Me" just a week into recording and days after being released from prison.
In recently released interview footage recorded just a week after Tupac Shakur’s release from prison in 1995, the rapper describes recording All Eyez On Me in a week-long recording binge. Speaking with L.A. Times journalist Chuck Philips, Tupac explained the motivation to record the music directly after his release.
“I been in the studio since the day after I got out,” he said. “I got out Thursday, I been in here since Friday. About twelve hours a day. Up until they kick me out. It be dark and everybody gotta go to sleep, people be passing out, so I’m like, ‘Okay, I guess we gotta go home now.’ So then we go home, come back early in the morning, and do it again. I think we broke a record this time for any recording. I’m trying to do my album in less than a week so I can call my album 7 Days. But if I change the title I might do a couple more songs.”
Detailing what would become 1996's All Eyez On Me, Tupac highlighted his favorite recently recorded songs.
“We did thirteen tracks in four days,” he said. “Thirteen fat tracks. The one’s that’s really gonna be humdingers, the big ones, ‘2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted’ with me and Snoop. That’s gonna be a humdinger. ‘Shorty Wanna Be A Thug,’ that’s gon’ be a big one. And ‘Wonder Why They Call You Bitch’ with Faith. That’s gon’ be a big one. ‘Picture Me Rollin’.’ It’s just gon’ be fat. It’s different than any other album I came with so far. This one might throw a lot of people off ‘cause I just blacked out.”
Describing the difference from his previous output, Pac said that the records were a direct response to some of his public detractors.
“This album is a reaction to the backlash from C. Delores Tucker, Bob Dole, all those people that kept sweating me about the music,” he said. “Now, I feel as though this album is something for them to sweat. Before my album wasn’t even bad and they was calling me a gangster and just messing up my whole credit line and ruining my reputation. Look at my songs. On the first album, ‘Brenda’s Got A Baby.’ On the second album, ‘Keep Ya Head Up.’ On the third album, ‘Dear Mama.’ Where is the killer music? Where is the make-a-kid-wanna-jump-off-a-bridge shit? I just don’t see it. So now, this album, I didn’t try to make any ‘Dear Mama’s,’ any ‘Keep Ya Head Up’s,’ I just came straight with dealing with my own anger. I’m doing this just for what the music is [to vent] my anger. Getting everything I wanna say out since I can’t express myself in any other way. Plus I was locked down for eleven months so I gotta lot of stress and pressure to get up off my chest. I think I did it on this album. That’s why I stayed in the studio...I wrote only one song in jail. Everything else I wrote while we sat up in here drinking Budweiser. After the Budweiser is gone we have a song usually. With Daz, Johnny J, and I’m about to do one with Sam Sneed right now.”
During the interview Tupac also addresses his negative public image and feeling like a target. “I think my music is good music,” he said. “I think the shit that I say, no one else says. Who was writing about Black women before ‘Keep Ya Head Up?’ Now everybody got a song about Black women. Who was writing about that when I was writing about that? Who was writing about their own problems? I wasn’t talking [blah blah blah], I was talking my real problems. I was really having problems with police. I was really having problems with life and just being Black and why the hell we gotta get stepped on so much? But then I’m making it, I thought I was successful when I’m still getting stepped on. How come I got a boot-print on my back and I’m successful? I just couldn’t believe that. So instead of me just bugging out and doing a post office move and just shooting everything up and going to jail for a million years, I just said, ‘Fuck it. I’m in here rapping. Why not just rap about some shit that’s really happening?’ That’s what I did. That’s when they started really kicking my ass for real. The IRS, every cop everywhere, any kind of candidate wanna come. It was to the point I was having cases everywhere I went. People just bump into me and be like, ‘Tupac hit me.’ It was getting retarded. Then you got the Vice President on TV saying your shit ain’t no good so of course it makes people think, ‘Oh my God, he’s a true menace.’ Then the newspaper going, ‘Oh, Tupac spit at the cameras,’ I’m spitting at the cameras because everybody—I’m not gonna do that no more, let me just say that, I changed—but I bet you everybody who hasn’t been in that position where you’re in your private life, you’re getting in your own car, you’re not at no premiere nowhere, and it’s fifty cameras there shoving there way into your car, you wanna hit...There’s a camera right here and I didn’t ask for it to be there and that’s my own personal space.”
On the then fresh signing with Death Row Records, Tupac admitted that he didn’t have any other options. “There wasn’t nowhere else to go, no one else wanted to take me but the Row,” he said.
Addressing his expectations for the album as a whole, Tupac said it’s “nothing but trouble.”“They gon’ feel all eleven months of what I went through in this album,” he said. “I’m gonna hit’em with nothing but trouble, but good trouble. Trouble that bring money don’t bring pain. All I’m doing is talking shit, and I should be allowed to talk as much shit as I want.”