While most rappers have been able to inform us of how they got their stage alias, the origin of 2Pac’s name has always been an underlying thought in the minds of hip-hop fans everywhere until now. An unreleased interview from Tupac Shakur and actor Jim Belushi recently surfaced, which was recorded just weeks before his death on the set of their 1996 film Gang Related. Even though Pac said that they couldn’t ask any “original questions,” one journalist asked about the origin of his name.
“People ask me what my name means, I don’t tell ‘em like ‘Tupac Amaru.’ But I just say it means determined because I’m determined to never ever negotiate again,” Tupac said.
The late Death Row rapper revealed that the name Tupac came from José Gabriel Túpac Amaru, a Peruvian leader from the 1700’s. Pac also added that instead of sharing the name of the man his moniker is derived from, he tells those curious that Tupac means “determined.” He also answered the unoriginal question about how it felt working with Jim Belushi.
“One day, you guys are gonna come up with an original question,” he said. “There has to be a deeper question than ‘What is it like working with Jim?’ It’s great, but I can never tell you what it’s like. It’s like when you ask people those questions—As it relates to what? What if you have no friends? You don’t know what it’s like. What if you’ve never done a movie? So, you don’t know how shitty your co-star can be. So, you don’t know how nice it is to work with somebody who gives a fuck…I got a shovel in my throat. We’ve been doing this for 13 hours. I’m totally tired. He’ll tell you a dirty joke that’ll just bring energy to the scene.”
2Pac continued on to talk about his hopes for all of his fellow artists, actors and entertainers to become more physically fit. He felt the need to embellish on the importance of being healthy and staying fit rather than just getting buff or being slim. He also spoke on how “conceited” he was and how the world seemed to humble him when he was placed in jail for a crime he said he didn’t commit.
“To be perfectly honest, I’m very conceited,” the rapper said. “But how the world prevents it is by putting me in jail for a crime I didn’t commit last year. That kinda humbles you out. But now that I’m out and I’m free it keeps me humble. It keeps my feet on the ground…All of us as human beings have a dominant and a quiet side. I happen to be a Gemini and I’m young and I’m black and I’m from the hood, so it’s just you got all these different facets, but I’m an artist. And I’m hungry for knowledge, so there’s no pigeonhole for them to put me in, so they’d rather just make it look like I’m crazy. That’s the biggest misconception.”
Listen to the 20-minute interview here.