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RTB Exclusive: Big Daddy Kane Remembers One Legendary Night With 2Pac

As part of Rock The Bells’ celebration of Hip-Hop History Month, we were fortunate enough to have an iconic conversation between Ari Melber and Big Daddy Kane hosted exclusively on our  platforms, and when the subject of 2Pac and Death Row East came up, Kane spoke on one crazy night that involved a Trip to Vegas, a Tyson fight, multiple songs being recorded and the genesis of Pac’s beef with The Fugees. 

Death Row East, a venture that Pac was embarking upon in the final year of his life, recently made its way back into the spotlight when Nas dropped a song about it on his latest album Kings Disease II. According to Kane, his offer came by way of a phone call from a fellow legend.

“I got a call from Eric B. And he said ‘Suge and Pac wanna meet with you. They’re getting ready to start Death Row East,’" Kane told Ari. “I’m like ‘Oh yeah?’ So I flew out there to meet them. We hung out had dinner. Then they were like ‘You wanna go to the Tyson fight?’ I’m like ‘I don’t care,’ and we ended up going to Vegas,” he added.

With no time wasted, Kane made the trip, which turned into so much more than a meeting.

“I actually rode down with Hammer. We get to Vegas and we were talking about doing some music. Just conversating, ‘we should do this. We should do that,’ and then Suge was like, ‘why you just talking about it? Why don’t you fly back and bang it out tonight?” Remembered Kane. “Suge got flights for everybody and we turned right back around, got back on the plane and flew back to Death Row to the studio to record. Me and Pac did a song together called ‘Wherever You Are,’ I wrote a song for Hammer called ‘What you gonna do for me?’ And me, Pac and Hammer recorded a song together called ‘Too Late Player.’ We did all three of those in one night.”

2Pac’s work ethic has become almost mythological, backed by a slew of recordings released after his death in 1996. Kane witnessed it firsthand, and in the process also saw the root of the “California Love” rapper’s feud with The Fugees.

“Pac was a workaholic. Rest in peace to the brotha. While I was writing the song for Hammer, he sat there and wrote the verse to the song that we were doing together,” noted Kane. “Then, [The Outlawz] came in there and told him about Lauryn Hill saying something slick about him, and Mobb Deep or somebody, and he sat there and started writing again, started writing some diss stuff towards them, right there on the spot. I think I seen him write about three or four songs, cause when I went and had a meeting with Suge. We sat in Suge’s office for a long time, came back, Pac was writing something else for another song that he was doing by himself. He was a workaholic for real, I believe that’s why we have so much material from that brotha.”

One of the reasons 2Pac’s life and work are studied so heavily is the various sides he displayed in his music. His poet and activist side blended alchemically with a youthful impulsiveness that seemed to lead to his demise at such a young age. Ari asked Kane about that complexity, and as the legend tells it, Pac was looking to make some changes in his life.

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“This was a year before his demise, and at that point in time, he was going through something in his life that he wanted to change, and we had a real deep conversation about it in the airport and the whole flight from Vegas to L.A.” Recalled Kane. “What you gotta understand is I was one of the people that Pac looked up to, because when he first came out and was dancing for Digital Underground I took them on my tour. I believe that was their first tour, when I took them on my ‘Big Daddy Thing Tour.’ That’s how long I’ve known Pac since like 89-90, so it was the type of thing where he was talking to me about what’s going on in his life and what he wanted to change, so it was that type of vibe. We were in a real good place, plus with the whole Death Row East thing, he was saying, ‘you’re my hero. I wanna make sure that you get some money, so I really want you to do this.”

As for whether or not he thinks Death Row East would have become a real thing, Kane tells it best in his own words.

“I think it was gonna be a real thing. How long it would’ve lasted, I don’t know. I doubt it would’ve lasted that long cause there was all sorts of crazy stuff going on with Suge, but I do believe it was gonna be a real thing.”

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