In a candid and heartfelt interview with N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN on Drink Champs, legendary gangsta rap icon ICE-T delved into the tragic passing of 2Pac and shed light on the environment at Death Row Records, which he believes played a role in molding the iconic rapper.
During the extensive conversation, ICE-T was asked about the difference between 2Pac’s early days as a backup dancer and occasional MC for Digital Underground and his later commercial peak after signing with Suge Knight’s infamous label.
“Absolutely,” he responded. “When I first met ‘Pac and Money-B and all them, it was Digital Underground, so you got Shock G who’s a hundred percent different. I didn’t even recognize ‘Pac as militant or nothing like that, just as a dancer, friend, cool.
“And when he came out, I was like, ‘Yo, that’s the same dude!’ But I couldn’t disrespect him because his lyrics were deep, and I got to work on Strictly 4 My N****Z— me, him, and Cube on ‘Last Wordz.’”
ICE-T emphasized his deep respect and admiration for 2Pac as an artist and friend, rather than placing him on an elevated pedestal. He acknowledged that while many consider 2Pac a god, he preferred to see him as a fellow artist and a close companion.
The conversation took a poignant turn as ICE-T recounted an encounter with Shock G, the Digital Underground frontman and one of 2Pac’s early mentors, who tragically passed away in 2021. Shock G had sought ICE-T’s help to connect with 2Pac during his time at Death Row, expressing concerns about the rapper’s state of mind.
Recalling the emotional meeting with Shock G, ICE-T talked about the time he came to his house in the Hollywood Hills and told him that Death Row was feeding ‘Pac gunpowder, and he wasn’t listening to his advice.” The gravity of the situation was evident as ICE-T choked up off-camera but managed to compose himself and continued sharing his thoughts on 2Pac’s untimely demise.
Reflecting on the dynamics at Death Row Records, ICE-T believed that the environment there was molding 2Pac into a different persona, as reflected in his music. He drew an analogy to training a man to be a pitbull and then being surprised when the dog acts according to its nature.
“Death Row was training ‘Pac to be a killer,” ICE-T said. And that energy eventually spilled into the streets, leading to his tragic ending.