What are your plans after prison?
I'm going to team up with Mike Tyson when we get out.
Team up with Monster Kody [now known as Sanyika Shakur]
from California. I'm going to start an organization
called Us First. I'm going to save these young niggas,
because nobody else want to save them. Nobody ever came
to save me. They just watch what happen to you. That's
why Thug Life to me is dead. If it's real, then let
somebody else represent it, because I'm tired of it.
I represented it too much. I was Thug Life. I was the
only nigga out there putting my life on the line.
Has anybody else been there for you?
Since I've been in here I got about 40 letters. I got
little girls sending me money. Everybody telling me
that God is with me. People telling me they hate the
dudes that shot me, they're going to pray for me. I
did get one letter, this dude telling me he wished I
was dead. But then I got people looking out for me,
like Jada Pinkett, Jasmine Guy, Treach, Mickey Rourke.
My label, Interscope Records, has been extremely supportive.
Can you talk about your relationship with Madonna
and Mickey Rourke?
I was letting people dictate who should be my friends.
I felt like because I was this big Black Panther type
of nigga, I couldn't be friends with Madonna. And so
I dissed her, even though she showed me nothing but
love. I felt bad, because when I went to jail, I called
her and she was the only person that was willing to
help me. Of that stature. Same thing with Mickey Rourke-he
just befriended me. Not like black and white, just like
friend to friend. And from now on, it's not going to
be a strictly black thing with me. I even apologized
to Quincy Jones for all the stuff I said about him and
his wives. I'm apologizing to the Hughes Brothers...but
not John Singleton. He's inspiring me to write screenplays,
because I want to be his competition. He fired me from
Higher Learning and gave my idea to the next actor.
Do you worry about your safety now?
I don't have no fear of death. My only fear is coming
back reincarnated. I'm not trying to make people think
I'm in here faking it, but my whole life is going to
be about saving somebody. I got to represent life. If
you saying you going to be real, that's how you be real-be
physically fit, be mentally fit. And I want niggas to
be educated. You know, I was steering people away from
school. You gotta be in school, because through school
you can get a job. And if you got a job, then that's
how they can't do us like this.
Do you think rap music is going to come under more
attack, given what's happened to you?
Oh, definitely. That's why they're doing me like this.
Because if they can stop me, they can stop 30 more rappers
before they even born. But there's something else I
understand now: If we really are saying rap is an art
form, then we got to be true to it and be more responsible
for our lyrics. If you see everybody dying because of
what you saying, it don't matter that you didn't make
them die, it just matters that you didn't save them.
You mentioned Marvin Gaye in "Keep Ya Head
Up." A lot of people have compared you to him,
in terms of your personal conflicts.
That's how I feel. I feel close to Marvin Gaye, Vincent
Why van Gogh?
Because nobody appreciated his work until he was dead.
Now it's worth millions. I feel close to him, how tormented
he was. Him and Marvin too. That's how I was out there.
I'm in jail now, but I'm free. My mind is free. The
only time I have problems is when I sleep.
So you're grateful to be where you are now?
It's a gift-straight-up. This is God's will. And everybody
that said I wasn't nothing...my whole goal is to just
make them ashamed that they wrote me off like that.
Because I'm 23 years old. And I might just be my mother's
child, but in all reality, I'm everybody's child. You
know what I'm saying? Nobody raised me; I was raised
in this society. But I'm not going to use that as an
excuse no more. I'm going to pull myself up by my bootstraps,
and I'm going to make a change. And my change is going
to make a change through the community. And through
that, they gonna see what type of person I truly was.
Where my heart was. This Thug Life stuff, it was just
ignorance. My intentions was always in the right place.
I never killed anybody, I never raped anybody, I never
committed no crimes that weren't honorable-that weren't
to defend myself. So that's what I'm going to show them.
I'm going to show people my true intentions, and my
true heart. I'm going to show them the man that my mother
raised. I'm going to make them all proud.
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