Did you know Tupac was planning to open an L.A. restaurant before he died? It was to be called Powamekka Cafe, a play on the words "power" and "Mecca," and billed as a "passionate paradise 4 people with power 2 play and parlay," as he was quoted describing it in the 2006 book Tupac Shakur: Legacy.
'Pac never got the chance to formally announce its menu to the world; like many celebrity-conceived spots, it likely never got too far out of the planning stage. But one can guess its offerings based on the detailed descriptions of his eating habits given to West Coast Sound by his friends and rapping colleagues. (Hint: He wouldn't have pioneered the locavore health movement.)
"He had a cupboard of junk food, like sodas and popcorn," recalls Steele, one half of Brooklyn boom-bap group Smif-n-Wessun.
Steele spent a week at Tupac's palatial L.A. mansion the summer before he passed away. He was there to record the One Nation project with him, a collaboration which came about after 'Pac heard a shout out on Smiff-n-Wessun's album Dah Shinin'.
Shakur was "no chef," Steele goes on, recalling him feasting on a breakfast of pancakes, turkey bacon, potatoes, eggs with cheese on them, and potatoes, all of it whipped up by the brother of the Smif-n-Wessun affiliated rapper Buckshot, who spent time cooking in the military.
The problem came, however, when Tupac's goodies began to be raided by the other rappers holed up in the house. "After a while, he had to start putting his name on his food," Steele says. "Like, 'That's Tupac's Tropicana!' "
The posthumously-published Tupac Shakur: Legacy, meanwhile, contains a hand-written shopping list the rapper had put together, including: "potatoez, barb b q sauce, honey, beanz, grean peaz, green beanz, brocoli, shrimp." Also: "Yogurt (Dannon)."
Tek, Steele's partner in Smiff-n-Wessun, recalls that Pac sometimes watched what he ate. In fact, his personal chef at the L.A. mansion tried to push a healthy diet of baked chicken.
"Now and again Tupac would jump on the Foreman grill and cook something up. He'd call me down from upstairs, like, 'Yo, Tek, come down and taste this!'"
Shock G's recollections below.
The rapper who perhaps knew him best, however, maintains that Tupac's diet was far from healthful.
Shock G, the Digital Underground icon, 'Pac's close friend and mentor (not to mention a vegetarian), says that he preferred "hot wings, weed and Hennessy."
"I never seen him eat a vegetable, not once in the five years I knew him," Shock G adds. "That's how I knew he wasn't planning on living too long."