When Tupac Shakur exited this physical plane called
Earth, he left behind millions of fans. One of the biggest was fellow Immortal
Outlaw Fatal Hussein, who is still in the world living Thug Life.
Tonight is another one of those nights. A hot
summer night in the city where tension is climbing steadily. New Jersey native
Fatal and his entourage of wild ass brothers prepare to perform at a small community
center in the innermost city of Wilmington, Delaware. Nappy headed children
scamper about the streets, up way past their bed time and the teenagers grow
up a little bit faster tonight. The crowd outside is fronting on the $10.00
cost of the show and only a few trickle in the heavily guarded doors. Eventually
a couple hundred die-hard fans will enter and get rocked aback by Fatal.
Seeing Fatal perform is disturbingly similar
to watching his old mentor and friend Tupac Shakur thug it out on stage. He
sports many of the same tattoos, including the "Thug Life" arched
across the stomach. And even though Pac is dead, Thug Life is very alive. Fatal
talks at great lengths about Tupac and Kadafi – Pac’s cousin who was also murdered.
Kadafi was gunned down in a New Jersey housing project, apparently because he
prepared to testify as to who murdered Tupac. Both unsolved deaths still haunt
Fatal and it’s evident because it dominates his conversation when interviewed.
He is often assailed with criticism from those
who say he resembles Pac too much, in sight and sound. But those who say he
is a deception are mistaken. They don’t know that he and Kadafi visited Pac
two hours everyday while Pac was incarcerated for rape. At times, he even refers
to Pac in the present tense, as if he were still alive. And that he often receives
word of revenge and death threats from cats that love Biggie Smalls just a little
too much. His crew packs heat wherever they go, even to little urban community
centers like this. Even though during much of his show he rips some of Pac’s
greatest hits, the crowd seems to pretend that it is Tupac Shakur before them.
It would seem that the stage is the only place where Fatal is completely comfortable.
AllHipHop.Com: What are you giving people?
Fatal: I just gave (the people) some shit. I
was just letting niggas know. I came home. My man Pac got killed. My man Kadafi
got killed. I ain’t get hit. It ain’t like I bounced on Death Row either ’cause
I’ll still be on the Row if I felt like rockin’ that. I ain’t feel like rockin’
or rappin’ then. Fuck rapping. Fuck rocking. (Getting louder) My niggas died!
I went the fuck home. When Kadafi died, when Pac died, we left California. Me
and Kadafi, we were on some straight Jersey shit. Kadafi died in Jersey so we
ain’t never want to go back to Cali. It ain’t like I left the world. I still
be chillin’ over there ’cause it was dope over there. It was love. Even when
I go back now, shit is still off the hook! All the niggas down with Pac are
cool with me. I guess all the people that are enemies with him are enemies with
me, but I don’t give a fuck.
AllHipHop: Being from New Jersey, do you ever
have problems on the East Coast?
Fatal: Niggas playa hated on me one time over
some Mic Geronimo bullshit.
AllHipHop: What do you mean?
Fatal: That (song) "Usual Suspects"
I guess they felt I stole his show ’cause I said, "One deep from Jersey
on the Island doing sticks." So they felt a nigga from Jersey can’t go
to Rikers Island, but it ain’t nothing like that, jail is jail.
AllHipHop: With all the heat surrounding Tupac,
did that affect the last album you dropped?
Fatal: Hell, yeah. It affect my album. I don’t
know the whole shit on how it affected it. Everybody knows what’s going on,
politics is politics. Everybody knows who controls New York, who controls the
radio. (Everybody knows) who’s funny, who’s twisted, who’s gay and shit. If
I had it like (those in power), I would control it too. Ain’t nothing wrong
with that, but I got to show them that Pac’s shit ain’t never gonna die. I gotta
be strong. The mainstream to me ain’t really nothing. As long as I got the streets,
motherfuckers can’t shut me down ’cause these niggas (points to his crew) gonna
be here. Other niggas is losing they job, hiding in Hawaii or staying home.
Fuck that staying home.
AllHipHop: In terms of your career, do you feel
the whole Tupac situation helped or hindered it?
Fatal: (Yelling) Oh, hell no! That’s the best
thing that could’ve happened to me in my life. On the real, I don’t care what
else happens to me. That’s the best thing that could’ve happened to me because
I wouldn’t be able to provide for my kid, if I had one. I was able to come up
outta that slump when my nigga died. Pac died. That fucked me up, but if it
wasn’t for Kadafi, there would be no (connection between) me and Pac So I’m
saying, "Fuck rap." What the fuck is rap? It ain’t got nothing to
do with niggas dying.
AllHipHop: Does that scare you, the fact that
those close to you have been murdered like that?
Fatal: Nah. It don’t scare me ’cause I know
shit like that happens everyday to motherfuckers. I can’t fear it because it
will make me more paranoid. As long as I don’t smoke no weed… But it keeps
me paranoid. I stay one point when I’m paranoid.
AllHipHop: What do you want people to get out
of you’re music?
Fatal: Really if niggas don’t like it, I don’t
give a fuck. It ain’t gonna be easy. And that little bit of play I’m getting
now is suitable by me.
AllHipHop: You still cool with artists on the
Fatal: Freddie Foxxx, Coco Brovaz, Cormega,
Foxy… You know certain people don’t care about that (East/West Coast) shit,
they chill with me. They got love for me. I be in the ‘hood. The problem is
them (playa style rappers) don’t be at home. They be somewhere in Manhattan,
living it up. I’ll be in their ‘hood soaking up all the love. Downtown in Brooklyn
handing out Pac posters for the first time and niggas is taking ‘em on some
real against all odds shit. I ain’t trying to be naming my man in every phrase
or nothin’ but that’s how it gotta be.
AllHipHop: What inspires you to to write lyrics?
Fatal: I be in the slumps still. I be on the
block and shit. Chillin’ with niggas. It’s like I got two jobs. I gotta be loyal
to my dogs. First things first and then I gotta build off my niggas ’cause that’s
AllHipHop: Do you feel like rappers got away
Fatal: Hell yeah. Too many niggas are on some
growing money shit. So all the Rollies and the nice clothes, that shit is dope
but, come on, don’t take it to that extreme. Niggas ain’t making that much money.
AllHipHop: Are the Outlawz still together?
Fatal: No doubt. Pac’s mind was too strong to
let niggas break up. He bonded niggas. I wasn’t no little motherfucker, I was
on the front line. I just recognize mad, mad, mad rappers is faggots. I’ll tell
a motherfucka that in the studio. But that nigga Pac? He keeps away from the
streets because your friends will kill you. That’s probably my only weakness,
’cause I love my niggas.