Shade 45 host Sway Calloway remembers the last interview he did with his friend Tupac Shakur a few months before his death.
Sneaking onto the set of Tupac’s video How Do You Want It, Sway made his way past droves of press and “big-ass, hulkish-sized” security guards.
Ducking and running military-style in an effort to remain unseen, Sway eventually made his way to Tupac’s trailer for the interview.
As Sway knocked on the door, he could hear Tupac holding court. Inside, the rapper’s captive audience included R&B artist Jon B. playing some instrumentals for him; the lead singers of Jodeci, K-Ci and JoJo, just hanging out; and of course, some attractive women.
On the 20-year anniversary of his death, Sway reflects on discovering Tupac’s genius as a freestyler on the Bay Area-circuit, following him through his ascent to stardom and that final interview.
“I think he had something he wanted to get off his chest … in relation to his relationship and dynamic with Bad Boy, P. Diddy and The Notorious B.I.G. and other East Coast artists at that time,” Sway said during an exclusive interview with SiriusXM.com. “I really didn’t know what I was walking into … It turned out to be one of the most electrifying conversations I’ve ever been apart of with an artist. It taught me a lot.”
Tupac was gunned down on Sept. 7, 1996 in a drive-by shooting after leaving a Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand casino in Las Vegas with Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight. The 25-year-old rapper died six days later on Sept. 13. The case remains unsolved.
Tupac’s life was marred with personal struggles and legal woes. But Sway talks about the other side of a man he defines as “brilliant,” “humble,” and a political activist who had “so much energy and cared so much about people.”
“Pac took a lot of political bullets for us … It was unfortunate the way he died,” said the Sway in the Morning host, who describes Tupac as an “action figure for young black men coming out of the Bay Area.”
As for that final interview with Tupac…
“I wish I knew then what I know now about the art of interviewing,” Sway said. “I would have asked Pac more directly about his role in things that happened to him. What his goals were? What his mistakes were? Where did all that energy and knowledge come from?”
And those final words captured on audio …
“I’ve never listened to it,” Sway said. “It’s hard to hear my voice next to his.”
To commemorate the 20-year anniversary of his death, SiriusXM’s hip-hop channels will be airing special programming Tuesday honoring the legendary rapper with his music and artists’ memories. Listen to Tupac’s music every hour on FLY (Ch. 47), Shade45 (Ch. 45) and Backspin (Ch. 43).
Sway in the Morning (Ch. 45) will play sound bites, take calls and deliver a special tribute mix to remember the rap icon. FLY host Heather B. will dedicate her show to Tupac playing his music, sharing stories remembering his life and a special FLY Ride mix by DJ Caesar at 9 p.m. ET. Shade 45 hosts Lord Sear and Rude Jude also plan tributes to the late hip-hop artist. You can also hear Tupac’s music throughout the day on Backspin.
To hear more from the SiriusXM.com interview with Sway as well as memories from DMC and Snoop Dogg, check out our full videos.