Fashion designer Karl Kani appeared on The Fat Joe Show as he recalled first meeting Tupac Shakur and how Pac’s creativity led to various advertisements in Harlem.
“I met Tupac at the Hotel Nikko at Beverly Hills and we just set it off from there,” Karl Kani recalled. “Tupac use to wear my clothing all the time. He wore it in Keep ya Head Up music video. He wore it in the MC Breed video, Gotta Get Mine and many many videos he use to wear my clothing and I never met him before in person.”
Kani always had a passion for Hip Hop and at one point filtered with the idea of becoming a rapper. When that didn’t go as planned he focused more on the business aspect and contributed to the culture through fashion.
“Finally when we got to his room in the hotel Nikko, I knocked on the door and he said, ‘Come in’. It was really weird because he was smoking blunt after blunt in the room and he was typing a script to a movie and he was having a very intelligent conversation with me at the same time. But it was only one thing — he never looked at me.”
“He never looked at me in my eyes, so I didn’t really know how to connect with him,” Kani explains. “Finally room service came to the room and knocked on the door. I was like aight Ima ask him now. I said, ‘Yo Pac, how much would you charge me to do an ad?’ He got real quite and he didn’t say nothing.”
Karl Kani thought he blew his opportunity, but instead Tupac was all for it and in fact did not charge the Brooklyn native designer. “He was like, ‘Yo I don’t charge my people for nothing’. He asked me, ‘Can you put Thug Life on some of the ads with me?’ Kani gladly accepted.
Tupac would go on to provide his creative ideas for the ad would have him sitting on top of a basketball rim in Harlem rocking the Karl Kani brand and another with his Thug Life Hip Hop group rolling dice on the streets of Harlem.