It's hard to find a true introspective interview with ahip-hop superstar who also happens to be consumed with controversy. Most of thewritings about Kanye West, for instance, are more about the people he hasdissed than his musical genius.
But fans of the late rap icon Tupac Shakur will be happywith the DVD release, "Tupac: Uncensored & Uncut: The Lost Prison Tapes,"out on Tuesday, January 25.
The Flatiron Film Company production is an exclusivenever-before-seen 1995 interview with Shakur. The revealing 45-minute piece wastaped during his incarceration at New York's Clinton Correctional Facility on sexualassault charges.
Shakur opens up about numerous topics that delved deeperthan the average hip-hop profile. He discussed spending his first 8 months injail in solitary confinement for more than 20 hours per day. He spent that timereading books.
Shakur admitted being locked up had given him some time toreflect on his works and consider how he could use his voice more responsibly.But he also defended his T.H.U.G. Life mantra and criticisms from politicians includingformer presidential candidate Bob Dole and C. Delores Tucker.
Shakur explained that the concept of gangs did not onlyapply to groups of inner city youth but also defined political parties, andentities like police forces. He was always candid in his interviews, but fansstill get to see another side of the artist in the "The Lost Prison Tapes."
The interviewer here, an unidentified man who seemed to bemore social worker than music reporter, seemed more concerned withunderstanding Shakur's views on the inner city and how he has used hisinfluence to make a difference. It is definitely a refreshing break fromtoday's too sensationalistic focus.
Shakur died on September 13, 1996, the result of being shot in Las Vegas.