In March of 1994, Entertainment Weekly reporter Benjamin Svetkey sat down with a then 22-year-old Tupac Shakur and conducted a interview. For 19 years, the recordings from that interview lay dormant, preserved God knows where – until yesterday. PBS Digital Studios released that recorded interview with Blank on Blank providing the heartwarming cartoon imagery as roughly four-and-a-half minutes of conversation between Pac and Svetkey begin to play. And man is it eerie.
In the beginning of the recording, we hear dishes clanking and the hustle and bustle of people before Tupac’s voices interjects, asking a waiter from some spring rolls and crab cakes. Suddenly, we’re transported that the time and place where one of hip hop’s most mystifying and philosophical figures discusses his career, T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E., the Black Panthers and his then-pending sexual assault trial. In true clairvoyance form, Tupac predicts his death and goes on to discussing a ‘best case scenario’ in a melancholy tone. “I never sleep. I can never close my eyes. It’s horrible!” Tupac goes on to say.
To hear such an articulate wealth of knowledge coming from a twenty-something Pac is affirmation that he really was one of the greatest activists, artists and community leaders of our time. Listening to his voice which is so vivacious and full of life is difficult knowing that he’s gone and not coming back, but it serves as a reminder:
Tupac ain’t dead. He’s well preserved.