Earlier this week MTV News unearthed previously unseen footage from a 1992 interview with Tupac Shakur where the late rapper relays his thoughts on income inequality and briefly calls out Donald Trump. The resurrection came via Jessica Hopper, the site’s Editorial Director for Music, after she saw a snippet from it during writer Charles Aaron’s presentation at last weekend’s EMP Pop Conference in Seattle. “I wanted to see the raw footage,” says Hopper. “Fortunately, I work at MTV, so my wish was granted.”
Filmed in-between the release of his debut 2pacalypse Now and Strictly for my N.I.G.G.A.Z., Hopper says that so far she’s been unable to figure out why this material has stayed in the archives for so long. It’s especially surprising given that after Shakur’s death in 1996 at the age of 25, so much of what he recorded, said, and did has been and examined, poured over, and retold.
Much has been made about Shakur’s supposed ability to predict the future in his lyrics, and what he says in the interview mirrors the contemporary words of people like Bernie Sanders and Killer Mike. These ideas are resonating with people now, but was Shakur being particularly prescient with his comments, or is it just that income inequality, often divided along racial lines, has been a major issue in the United States for more than two decades? “So much of what Pac is saying in that interview is the sort of ideas he grew up with, the sort of discourse that would have been happening with and around him,” says Hopper. “Charles [Aaron] and I discussed this today—Pac had a personal mandate to try to effect change in the world. We know that the polarity and wealth inequality has only grown since that time—he was 21 in that video!—but that much of what he was speaking about is historical, racial injustice, which has been America’s calling card since long before Pac’s time. He wasn’t prescient, he was just telling the truth.”
As for she thinks that even back then Trump was a stand-in for a rich white guy who doesn’t help other people, Hopper says, “Because that is what he has aimed for!”