Mopreme Shakur Talks Original Version Of Thug Life Volume 1

Tupac’s stepbrother, Mopreme Shakur, spoke with 2Pac Forum Channel about the scrapped songs from Thug Life: Volume 1 album.

In 1994, Tupac formed the group Thug Life with Big Syke, Stretch, Mopreme Shakur, The Rated R, Macadoshis and Kato. On September 26 1994, they released ‘Thug Life: Volume 1’, the group’s only album. Thug Life disbanded on good terms later that same year, with members collaborating on later projects.

Thug Life Volume 1
Thug Life shoot by photographer Mike Miller

Released by Interscope and only ten tracks and 42 minutes in length, the album has contributions from Johnny J, Mopreme, Big Syke, Easy Mo B, and Warren G and Nate Dogg. The original version of ‘Thug Life: Volume 1’ went to Interscope but they rejected it. Interscope believed that heavy criticism of gangsta rap in the media would make the album unmarketable.

Songs That Didn’t Make The Final Cut

In the interview which originally aired in 2013, Mopreme sheds light on the cut songs and original version of the album. Two of the songs that never made the album were ‘Runnin From The Police’, ‘Ni**** In The Pen’. When asked about the cutting of the songs, Mopreme explained that at the time Interscope’s parent company, Time Warner, were criticized for putting out violent songs. This led to shelving of projects, some of which included Ice T and Live Crew. For that reason, the more hard-hitting reality songs were left off the album, effectively forcing them to censor the content.

Mopreme with Tupac in New York 1994

Thug Life Volume 1 came at a time of controversy in Tupac’s life. Two years prior to the album’s release, a Texas State trooper was shot and killed in a routine traffic stop. Nineteen-year-old Ronald Ray Howard claimed that he was listening to ‘2Pacalypse Now‘ just before he committed the crime. Mopreme thinks that this added to the label censoring the content of its releases. He said “there was a guy who killed a police officer in Texas who claimed he was listening to ‘Pac’s music and ‘Pac’s music made him do it. There was a lot of pressure at the time, you know even the vice president mentioned ‘Pac’s album. So we had to look at it and sacrifice something to get it out.”

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