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Tupac Week

Monday, September 19, 2011

James Rosemond
  • James Rosemond
Update: Interscope reps have responded to allegations that their L.A. offices were involved in the narcotics ring described below. Washing their hands of Rosemond, they call reports of Interscope's involvement "erroneous and completely unsupported," asserting that his alleged use of their offices as a pickup and delivery point were unknown to the company. You can read the full statement here.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has indicted rap music manager James Rosemond -- the man accused of arranging the 1994 attack on Tupac Shakur -- on 18 felony charges, following a year-long investigation of a narcotics ring involving Interscope Records.

According to The Smoking Gun, the label's Los Angeles offices were used as a pickup and delivery point for cross-country shipments of cash and cocaine packed in music road cases.

The 46-year-old Rosemond, who faces up to life in prison, was apprehended in June for his alleged role, since 2008, as the "principal leader" of a cocaine distribution ring. The arrest came just days after confessed-Tupac-shooter Dexter Isaac claimed that he had been hired and paid by Rosemond for the hit job that led to the bi-coastal rap feud that left both Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. dead. A controversial Los Angeles Times report in 2008 claims Rosemond orchestrated the hit because Shakur refused to take him on as his manager.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

This is not Tupac, and this was not taken in L.A., but darn if it isn't awesome - BEN WESTHOFF
  • Ben Westhoff
  • This is not Tupac, and this was not taken in L.A., but darn if it isn't awesome
Editor's Note: This week marked the 15th anniversary of Tupac Shakur's death. To commemorate, West Coast Sound is featuring Tupac stories all week. See also:

*Bruce Hornsby on Tupac: "The original 'Changes' was a lot dirtier, had a lot of the n-word."

*African Rebel Soldiers and Their Eerie Obsession With Tupac Shakur

*Shock G and Smif-n-Wessun Talk Tupac's Eating Habits: "I Never Seen Him Eat a Vegetable, Not Once In The Five Years I Knew Him"

*The Outlawz Speak on Tupac and His Ink, Dispute The Meaning of "Thug Life"

It's nothing a million stoned motherfuckers haven't said before, but there was just something different about Tupac. He's not the only rapper synonymous with the early '90's, the subjects he sang about were the stock stories of his genre, and there's plenty of artists from the Beach Boys to Phantom Planet that are practically inseparable from the idea of California. But he was just that guy you felt like you knew, you know? He was specific, even as he was multi-sided: he was silly, he was vulnerable, he could be brash, wily, smooth and even threatening. He had an inner life, in other words, which meant his songs lingered longer in those moments when we were really living, and feeling like the selves we were becoming or wanted to become.

Not everyone loved 'Pac, but everyone had nailed down an idea of what he was about, where he came from and what they wanted him to represent in their own lives. So we hit the mean streets and found a few regular Angelenos, just doing their thing, and asked them: 'What's your favorite Tupac memory?' Hint: Lots of people talked about "California Love."

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tupac Week

The Outlawz Speak on Tupac and His Ink, Dispute The Meaning of "Thug Life"

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Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 5:00 AM

outlawzphotoz.jpg
Editor's Note: Yesterday marked the 15th anniversary of Tupac Shakur's death. To commemorate, West Coast Sound is featuring Tupac stories all week. See also:

*Bruce Hornsby on Tupac: "The original 'Changes' was a lot dirtier, had a lot of the n-word."

*African Rebel Soldiers and Their Eerie Obsession With Tupac Shakur

*Shock G and Smif-n-Wessun Talk Tupac's Eating Habits: "I Never Seen Him Eat a Vegetable, Not Once In The Five Years I Knew Him"

*We Walk Up To Random Angelenos and Ask: "What's Your Favorite Tupac Memory?"

A backing group who coalesced around Tupac only a year before his death, The Outlawz also served as his support system during his most tumultuous times. Best known for backing him on "Hit 'Em Up," the group has now been whittled down to three members, Hussein, E.D.I. Mean, and Young Noble. They made headlines recently by confirming the long-held rumor that they smoked Tupac's ashes, prompting an angry retort from Shakur's mother.

In conjunction with the 15th anniversary of his death, the group's new album, Perfect Timing, dropped yesterday. The trio knew Tupac like few others, at a time when his profile was highest. They bonded in large part through their ink, an art form in which 'Pac was something of a pioneer, at least in hip hop. The Outlawz, in fact, even got their name from one of his tats.

Who used to do Pac's tattoos?

Hussein: 'Pac probably got them all over the place. There was this spot on Sunset [Mark Mahoney's Shamrock Tattoo, surely], but I can't remember the name. They were some cool cats in there -- Irish guys who wore zoot suits, greaser type dudes. We could be driving past the ink shop and he would suddenly pull over. "Where you going?" we'd ask. He'd say: "I'm going to get tatted."

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tupac, Buckshot, Tek and Steele at the L.A. mansion (we think)
  • Tupac, Buckshot, Tek and Steele at the L.A. mansion (we think)
Editor's Note: Today, September 13, 2011, marks the 15th anniversary of Tupac Shakur's death. To commemorate, West Coast Sound is featuring Tupac stories all week. See also:

*Bruce Hornsby on Tupac: "The original 'Changes' was a lot dirtier, had a lot of the n-word."

*African Rebel Soldiers and Their Eerie Obsession With Tupac Shakur

*The Outlawz Speak on Tupac and His Ink, Dispute The Meaning of "Thug Life"

*We Walk Up To Random Angelenos and Ask: "What's Your Favorite Tupac Memory?"

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.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tupac Week

African Rebel Soldiers and Their Eerie Obsession With Tupac Shakur

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Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 8:14 AM

He's not African, but Haitian 2pac is a leader of an armed Port-au-Prince gang called Chimères, recruited by Haiti's former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide
  • He's not African, but Haitian 2pac is a leader of an armed Port-au-Prince gang called Chimères, recruited by Haiti's former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Editor's Note: Tomorrow, September 13, 2011, marks the 15th anniversary of Tupac Shakur's death. To commemorate, West Coast Sound will feature Tupac stories all week.

See also:

*Bruce Hornsby on Tupac: "The original 'Changes' was a lot dirtier, had a lot of the n-word."

*Shock G and Smif-n-Wessun Talk Tupac's Eating Habits: "I Never Seen Him Eat a Vegetable, Not Once In The Five Years I Knew Him"

*The Outlawz Speak on Tupac and His Ink, Dispute The Meaning of "Thug Life"

*We Walk Up To Random Angelenos and Ask: "What's Your Favorite Tupac Memory?"

"I only listen to 2Pac before going to shoot Gaddafi boys," said Hisham al Hady to a British journalist recently. Al Hady is a Libyan rebel battling the regime of Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, but he's not alone. Shakur's influence on African fighters extends far beyond the current civil strife in Libya, and goes much deeper than just pre-battle pump-ups.

Militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo adopted knock-off Tupac T-shirts as de facto uniforms in the late 1990s, as did members of that country's regular armed forces. By 2002, rebels in Côte d'Ivoire were similarly clad in Pac-adorned attire.

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Bruce Hornsby - MICHAEL WEINTROB
  • Michael Weintrob
  • Bruce Hornsby
Editor's Note: September 13, 2011 marked the 15th anniversary of Tupac Shakur's death. To commemorate, West Coast Sound will feature Tupac stories all week.

See also:

*African Rebel Soldiers and Their Eerie Obsession With Tupac Shakur

*Shock G and Smif-n-Wessun Talk Tupac's Eating Habits: "I Never Seen Him Eat a Vegetable, Not Once In The Five Years I Knew Him"

*The Outlawz Speak on Tupac and His Ink, Dispute The Meaning of "Thug Life"

*We Walk Up To Random Angelenos and Ask: "What's Your Favorite Tupac Memory?"

Bruce Hornsby has been a household name for 25 years. His 1986 album with the Range, The Way It Is, went triple platinum. But in hip-hop he's known for providing the sample to one of Tupac's most popular songs, "Changes," which was culled from Hornby's breakout hit, "The Way It Is."

On the heels of Hornsby's new live album Bride Of The Noisemakers, the Virginia native and devoted Christian Scientist tells us about how "Changes" came to be, his impressions of 'Pac, and a crazy story involving a former Virginia senator.

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