Just like James Baldwin was born to write and Michael Jordan born to shoot hoops, Tupac Shakur was born to rap.
So says Kid ‘N Play’s Christopher Martin, who befriended the hip-hop star during the late ’80s, when Tupac—who, tragically, would be slain in a 1996 drive-by shooting—was a background dancer for Digital Underground.
“He always had the itch to be a rapper,” Chris tells The Focal Spot host Fredelyne Alcide.
“I can remember so many times where the big thing about going on tour was going to the after-parties.
“And I would go, of course, looking for the girls. And that’s all I wanted to do. But when you’d go to the after-parties and clubs they’d try to get the stars of the tour to come in the DJ booth to say a few words or rap.
“I was never interested because I just rapped all night during our show. And Tupac would be right there by my side when they’d say, ‘Well, come up and play on the mic’ or whatever, I’d say no,” Chris adds of the Me Against the World singer, who has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide.
“And Tupac would get mad. He’d say, ‘Yo, just get up there and get on the mic. Get on the mic!’
“And I’d said, ‘I don’t wanna rap.’ And he’d say, ‘Well, just get on the mic and just say one or two words-and pass the mic to me so I can rap,’ and stuff like that.
“He was always a very true and passionate about his talent and craft.”
Chris—who’s currently on tour with partner Christopher “Kid” Reid celebrating the 20th anniversary of their classic big-screen comedy House Party— also recalls how Kid ‘N Play’s music saved his from being booted from the family crib.
“The first time I heard my record on the radio, believe it or not, was at the very moment my father was getting ready to kick me out of the house,” says the Fun House singer.
“He was fed up with me not having a job, me getting kicked out of schools, things he was finding in my room that was just dangerous. And he was sitting me down in our living room and he was getting ready to get me out of the house and right when he was about to give the final blow of the sentence, and all of a sudden I hear a record I’d done with Kid and [producer] Hurby [“Love Bug” Azor].
“It held me up gettin’ kicked out.”
Click here to hear Chris Martin’s full interview.
Click here to find out more about the House Party 20th Anniversary Tour.