Bam! The first rapper that people know is Tupac Shakur. That was back in 1989 or ’90. That would be a long time ago now. He died a year before the video for “All Eyez On Me” was released. There was just a scene that was part of “All Eyez On Me.” I remember seeing Tupac during a show one time, like that’s the first time they had filmed a song where they played him live, but when we go to see Tupac he was in a wheelchair. He was blindfolded and everything. To make it easier on the audience they didn’t have to hear it live because he was playing in the background. I can remember we were watching an interview and somebody said, “How old is he?” Nobody knew. Tupac was 35. So that’s the first person I was able to talk to who was like, “Oh yeah, that’s the first.” I’m still like, “Oh, right.”
That’s kind of what he was all the time, all he did was promote and play with his own music. That was his whole thing.
Well, he got a bit popular and he did a lot of music but also I think he was one of the first to actually try and get a little bit of money out of it. He did one really cool song called “Glorious” that was actually more commercial-like in the beginning.
What about hip-hop in general?
Yeah, there’s a fair amount of artistry in hip-hop, and it’s very well-made. It’s a very beautiful medium. And because of that I think it’s more exciting. There’s so much that goes into making an album right now because it takes so much time and so many different people and it’s done in one piece now. I love to listen to what my heroes on that level would do. I think that those guys are absolutely amazing. But I also think that there’s very little that they wouldn’t be able to do, and they’re great. But that’s not to imply that you can’t get it done. I have a track that I finished for the album called “Tear It Up”; that’s the new Tupac collaboration and it’s a really cool track. The first time I ever heard that record I was really blown away by how smooth that beat was. I was like, “That beats like an 808. Damn, is it good?”