To his supporters, activist Dr. Mutulu Shakur is a political prisoner forced into an Atlanta-based penitentiary for crimes he didn’t commit. Since his capture and arrest on February 12, 1986, he's been vehemently fighting for his freedom - nearly 20 years. In 1987, he was sentenced to 60 years in jail for an alleged conspiracy against the government. At the time, the federal government charged that Dr. Shakur aided in eight incidents where a “clandestine paramilitary unit” attempted to relieve U.S. Banks of their funds. He firmly maintains his innocence in all the crimes he was accused of.
Through his trials, Dr. Shakur maintains an immeasurably intense love for his son Tupac. While not his biological pops, ‘Pac always maintained, in song (see "Papa'z Song"), that the elder Shakur was the one he viewed as his father figure. Tupac Shakur’s life is re-examined after 10 long years in this classic interview.
AllHipHop.com: What’s up, Dr. Shakur? It's good to hear from you.
Mutulu Shakur: Hello, Brother, It's good to hear from you also.
AllHipHop.com: There are many questions about 2Pac that were unanswered regarding his life and death. Many of his fans wanna know the deal. We're hoping you can fill in the blanks to the best of your ability.
Mutulu Shakur: I'll try.
AllHipHop.com: Were going to start off by asking you who is Mutulu Shakur?
Mutulu Shakur: I am a New African Freedom Fighter, Political Prisoner, Healer, Father, Brother, and Son.
AllHipHop.com: Can you tell us what Pac meant to you?
Mutulu Shakur: He was my son, my friend, my comrade & my inspiration.
AllHipHop.com: If Pac was alive today at 32, what do you think he would be like?
Mutulu Shakur: He would be a voice for truth and courage. AllHipHop.com: What do you think you meant to Tupac, and what do you think he learned from you?
Mutulu Shakur: He would've had to answer that. I think he gained most from my counseling and as well as other positivist I gave him.
AllHipHop.com: Who were role models in Pac's life that he looked up to?
Mutulu Shakur: I think if you listen to his lyrics and read his poems, than you will have some idea of who he respected as role models in his life. He kept them all in his heart.
AllHipHop.com: Why do you think Black leaders like C.Dolores Tucker & the Reverend Calvin Butts verbally attacked Pac?
Mutulu Shakur: Because they function as the voice of the Right Wing that never really had the interest of our people. I guess their objective was for personal motives.
AllHipHop.com: Can you tell us how it affected both Pac and yourself when your family was on the run from the F.B.I.?
Mutulu Shakur: From the very beginning of Tupac's life, our family has been a target of the Cointelpro. Members of our family were hunted, prosecuted, and murdered just because we struggled for our peoples’ human rights. It's something he had to adjust to.
AllHipHop.com: On your website (www.daretostruggle.com) you posted that you hold the Cointelpro responsible for Pac's death. Can you break down who the Cointelpro is & their motives for possibly harming Pac?
Mutulu Shakur: On our Dare To Struggle CD we break down the Cointelpro and it's relationship to Hip-Hop culture. Your readers should get the C.D. The Cointelpro is low intensity warfare headed by a division of the FBI waged against Political objectors. It's intended goal was and is to prevent the rise of a Black Messiah.
AllHipHop.com: I guess that could definitely be a possible motive because Pac really had a gift of touching the masses, he was kind of hip-hop's messiah.
Mutulu Shakur: That's why our people, especially young Black people believe in the spirit of Tupac. The Cointelpro's intent was and still is to keep Tupac's message disrupted.
AllHipHop.com: At this very moment both 2Pac and Biggies deaths are unsolved and remain a mystery. Why do you think the Feds and authorities never truly sought justice for these brothers?
Mutulu Shakur: If all your readers would examine most assassinations of leaders, you will find that their murders are still unsolved. In many cases they know who the alleged assassin is rather they capture him or not. They still chose to leave such murders unresolved. In the case of Biggie and Tupac, to solve their murders would be exposing their own tactics of divide & conquer within the Hip-Hop culture and on Black people in general. Their goal is to keep the present and next generation blinded and divided. Our youth need to be uniting.
AllHipHop.com: I agree. Many cats embrace "THUG-LIFE" as if it's universal ghetto Law. Since you’re one of few generals that Pac took orders from, could you give us your definition of "THUG-LIFE" and also tell us what you think it meant to Tupac?
Mutulu Shakur: The word "THUG-LIFE" came from the word Thuggie. The British colonized India and it was a group with in India who resisted the British and they were known as the "Thuggies". They had a similiar tactic like the Mau Mau's in Kenya. The British used the word Thugs to refer to any group of Outlaws defying oppression. Since Tupac was confronted by exploitation and oppression he accepted the principle and evolved his meaning of it amongst the same lines. We built the code THUG-LIFE to respond to street life here in America.
AllHipHop.com: According to Pac in an interview his acronym for THUG-LIFE was: The Hate U Gave - Little Infants F's Everybody. It's no secret that the media portrayed Pac in a negative image. Pac was known to give back to the community. Can you touch on this?
Mutulu Shakur: Truth be told, Tupac was very generous. He gave to people from the heart not for recognition or kudos. He gave because he could empathize with their conditions. He's been there too and could relate to their suffering.
AllHipHop.com: So many artist adopted Pac's "Rider Theme" as if it were their own. You personally told me to study the Native American Warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. I also peeped more on the Panthers. I then realized where 2Pac got it from. I found that the term "Rider" came from the Indian Chiefs as well as the Black Panthers. I am correct?
Mutulu Shakur: Yes. You should also go back and study the history of the Seminoles.
AllHipHop.com: How do you feel about the gangsta side of Pac? Can you give us your take about his run-in with the 2 Atlanta cops? Was Pac gangsta by nature or gangsta because society made him that way?
Mutulu Shakur: Look, I taught my children to protect themselves at all times. It's not a matter of him being gangster. It's a matter of him defending himself and fighting back. This goes for any Black male who's been beat, or arrested while Riding Black. It's just a matter of what would be your individual response if faced with the same situation. Police murder our youth just for driving in there cars.
AllHipHop.com: Could you explain Pac's obsession with death? He embraced it & became one with it. Why?
Mutulu Shakur: He was blessed to see a full vision of his life at an early age. With the best of his ability he fought to deal with the inevitable. He fought & eventually came to terms with it and made the best of his mission here. You might call it obsession, but it was his destiny and he did it better than most. Part of his blessing was that he was given a gift to see the future & with every ounce of his will and talent he warmed his peers. So the good die young.
AllHipHop.com: Considering Pac studied the original Machiavelli who faked his own death has many of his fans believing he's coming back. On Pac's "Better Dayz" album he blatantly said: "Expect me n***a like you expect Jesus to comeback? Expect me n***a, I'm comin!" Many folks take this literally. What's your take?
Mutulu Shakur: Most young people probably understand Jesus better today than what they did when he was alive. Now the prophecies of Tupac is understood. The destruction on his character by the Media didn't work. Now he's resurrected even in death because of the legacy he left behind.
[For more information, on Dr. Shakur go to www.mutulushakur.com.]