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2020 marks the 24-year anniversary of Tupac Shakur’s death. Fans still mourn that he was taken from the world at such an early age and believe that if Shakur had not shifted his musical direction and public persona to align with the gangsta rap industry that he may still be alive today. One public figure who believes the same is famed journalist, Ed Gordon.

Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur | Mitchell Gerber/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Gordan’s interview with Shakur is one of his most well-known of his career. While promoting his new book, he revealed that he warned Shakur about his friendship circle and that it could possibly lead to more destruction. Just two weeks after the conversation with Shakur, the rapper and actor died of gunshot wounds.

Ed Gordan’s interview with Tupac Shakur

Gordon interviewed Shakur in 1994 for BET. At the time of the interview, Shakur was on trial for rape and previously served time for physically assaulting Hollywood directors Allen and Albert Hughes.
Source: Instagram

A year earlier, Shakur had received critical acclaim for his role in Poetic Justice alongside Janet Jackson. His lyrics on songs like “Keep Your Head Up” put him in a different lane against other rappers but his lyrical content began to shift from socially conscious to more gangsta rap, which Gordon questioned him about. 

“Let me put this to you: a lot of people tell me, ‘Tupac, for the most part, is a nice guy. This whole ‘thug’ thing? Hype. [It is] good for record sales,” Gordon explained. “[It] helps him identify with the young people who are out there, and angry, who would maybe label him ‘a sellout’ like they did [with M.C. Hammer] if maybe he didn’t have that hard side. What about that?”
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Shakur respectfully defended his music and his stance, telling Gordon that his music was a reflection of what takes place in Black America – good or bad. 

I can see that the one thing that we do have in common, as Black people, is we do share that poverty. So the ‘thug’ side is more closer to the poverty than me being rich. How could I come to any community center sporting a Rolex Presidential with all these diamonds and be like, ‘Look, we gotta-gotta…’ [Laughs] But now, when I say ‘we,’ they know what I mean. I’m not sayin’ I live [in the same] neighborhood or nothin’, but I’m a thug. They’re thugs. They can relate.

Source: YouTube

Ed Gordan explains he warned Tupac Shakur of his inner circle just two weeks before Shakur’s murder

Gordon says that his relationship with Shakur extended beyond their interview and that he and the rapper kept in touch.

“The first time I interviewed him, he asked if he could have my cellphone number,” Gordon told Page Six, adding that Shakur wanted him to be his mentor. “He told me, ‘You’re not old enough to be my father, but you’re old enough to have some wisdom that I don’t have — and I’m short of that.’ So he would call me every now and then.”

Source: Instagram

During one of their conversations, Gordon says he warned Shakur about the company he surrounded himself with, as he felt they were dangerous and Shakur was not the tough guy he portrayed himself to be.

“I told him, ‘The cats you’re running around with are real thugs — you are not a thug,’” he says he told Shakur, “I suggest you be careful.”
Source: Instagram

Just two weeks later, Shakur was shot in a drive-by shooting after leaving his label head Suge Knight’s Las Vegas nightclub. Bullets pierced him six times and he underwent several surgeries that doctors hoped would save his life. 

Shakur had been shot previously during a robbery at a New York City recording studio and he survived. Unfortunately, he was not as lucky after the Las Vegas shooting. Shakur died on Sep. 13, 1996.