Tupac Shakur was known as a very thoughtful man in his short life, and his progressive views on poverty and inequality were no secret. MTV just released a heretofore unaired interview with the rapper from 1992 riffing on the idea of income inequality in America, namely how absurd it is that someone could have so much while some others have little or nothing. He even sneaks in a dig at Presidential candidate Donald Trump. It's really great.
Here are some A+ select passages:
On how economic equality is ingrained in our society:
This world is…such such a "gimme, gimme, gimme, everybody back off" you know? Everybody’s like that. You’re taught that from school, big business. "You want to be successful, you want to be like Trump? Gimme, gimme, gimme, push, push, push, step, step, step, crush, crush, crush."
On how African-Americans are treated in America:
I feel like instead of us being like "slavery’s bad, slavery’s bad, bad whitey, bad whitey," I mean, all right let’s stop that, but everybody’s smart enough to know we’ve been slighted and we want ours and I don’t mean "ours" by 40 acres and a mule 'cause we’re passed that.
On what white America doesn't realize:
We need help, I mean for us to be on our own two feet. Us to mean, youth or us meaning black people, whatever you want to take it for. For us to be on our own two feet, we do need help because we have been here. We have been a good friend…everybody need a little help on their way to, you know, being self-reliant…everybody need a little something to be independent. No independent person just grew up and was born independent
On general economic inequality:
I feel like it’s too much money here. No one should be hitting lotto for $36 million and we got people starvin’ in the streets. That is not idealistic, that’s just real. That is just stupid. There’s no way Michael Jackson should have, or whoever Jackson, should have a million-thousand-druple-billion dollars and then there’s people starving. There’s no way! There’s no way that these people should own planes and then these people don’t have houses, apartments, shacks, drawers, pants.
On whether people who, as the MTV reporter puts it, "earned" their money should feel bad about having money:
If they earned it then I think that that’s good and I think that they deserve it. But even if you earned it you still owe. ‘Cause look at me. I don’t have that mega money, I feel guilty walking by somebody— I gotta give them some help. And if I know I got $3,000 in my pocket, I feel like it’s wrong to give that person a quarter or a dollar. It’s wrong.
On whether or not you should be concerned about what someone you give money to does with that money:
No matter what they do, if they take it and drink it, they take it and drink it…it’s not about if you good or you bad. We know that because he don’t got doesn’t mean that he’s bad or that he’s a criminal. It don’t mean that he’s crazy or a drug addict, or none of that. It just mean that he don't got.
On how to fix it:
I think everybody deserve and I think that there’s a way to pay these people, I think there is a way, it just takes to be revolutionary and it takes to do something out of the ordinary…
I think that if we just said 'OK, OK, OK, OK, I got an idea, no more porno buildings…let’s build houses. Or no more polo games, let’s build houses for poor people. Or, look, OK, I know you rich, I know you got $40 billion but can you just keep it to one house? You only need one house and if you only got two kids can you just keep it to two rooms? I mean why have 52 rooms when you know there’s somebody with no room?
Seriously, watch this interview, there's much more to hear and his passion is infectious.
Tupac in 1992 makes Bernie Sanders sound like Mr. Burns.
David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: email@example.com