California native, DJ King Assassin, talks to The Art Of Dialogue, about working with Tupac Shakur and how Ice Cube affected the outcome of ‘Dear Mama’.
Prior to working with Tupac, DJ King Assassin had already been building a connection with Tupac. Both coming from the Bay Area, ‘Pac and Assassin would always run into each other. “Me and ‘Pac, we were the type of people we’re always out everywhere. And, if you were in the Bay Area in 92, 93, 94, especially in 92, you ran into ‘Pac.”
Their connection went deepeer than just running into each other. Shock G’s group, Digital Underground, was also a key factor. “Shock G, is like my mentor. He is actually the one that taught me how to do keys, and get the keys in the right order,” explains DJ King Assassin. “So, I learned from Shock G, from Digital Underground, many many moons ago.”
DJ King Assassin would get the opportunity to utilize what he had learned from Shock G to help produce the hit ‘Dear Mama‘. Tupac’s Anthem to his mother Afeni Shakur, who according to Assassin, Tupac loved dearly.
Tupac’s sensitive side was on full display in ‘Dear Mama’, which also made Assassin drop a few tears after the song was complete. “I’d never forget, he even told me, he said ‘this song right here is gonna make everybody cry’. And sure enough you know, upon putting the whole song together, and hearing how it came out, in the end it brought tears to my eyes.”
Dear Mama would take two studio’s to record and complete. But, as far as Tupac getting his part of the song done, according to Assassin, “Tupac was fast”.
The original Dear Mama song
DJ Assassin reveals what many may not know. Hip-Hop recording artist Yo-Yo and Richard Pryor were both originally on the ‘Dear Mama’ chorus.
Appearing on Tupac’s ‘Me Against The World’ album, ‘Dear Mama’ went on to be a huge success and one of the most influential songs in Hip-Hop history. Yo-Yo wouldn’t make the final version of the song. As told by Assassin, Ice Cube did not allow the clearance of Yo-Yo-‘s vocals on the song.
According to Assassin Tupc broke the news to him the next day they had finished putting the song together. “We can’t use the Yo-Yo part,” says Tupac. “Pat Sharne wouldn’t clear the sample.”
After hearing this, Assassin quickly realize that this was indeed Ice Cube’s call to not allow Yo-Yo to appear on ‘Dear Mama’. Pat was the manager for Ice Cube and Yo-Yo at the time. “I knew that was Ice Cube’s call right there. Cause she knows Hip-Hop but she can’t be like the shot caller of saying ‘hey you can’t use it ‘. Everything has to be approved by Ice Cube.
Was Ice Cube jealous of Tupac?
When asked by The Art Of Dialogue, if Ice Cube was possibly jealous of Tupac, DJ King Assassin without hesitation replied yes. The fact that Tupac was dating Yo-Yo, could have been an issue with Ice Cube. Yo-Yo was signed to the same label as Cube, Priority, while Tupac was signed to Interscope. This was a great opportunity for Cube to stop anything from progressing between Yo-Yo and Tupac.
Yo-Yo at the time did not even know she was suppose to be on the orginal ‘Dear Mama’ song until about five years ago. Assassin would finally break the news to Yo-Yo after seeing her on Money B’s show. Yo-Yo was not happy about the news.
According to Assassin, at the time, neither was Tupac. “Tupac was mad as F***. He was mad. “I never seen him mad like this unless somebody was fighting with him. This was on the business tip. I never seen ‘Pac get mad on the business tip.”
Tupac lost respect for Ice Cube, as he and Assassin couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t clear the Yo-Yo sample. They had other artists samples such as Scarface, but when it came to Yo-Yo, Ice Cube blocked the clearance.