The other day while riding BART, I saw an ad for KMEL radio with a collage of images featuring a sampling of artists that get a lot of airplay on the popular Bay Area radio station, including the late great Tupac Shakur. The 2Pac photo (left) was that iconic one you see all the time, culled from the photo shoot for the slain rap artist's album All Eyez On Me. The Death Row / Interscope release was Tupac's fifth album and widely considered the best album of his long illustrious career, both in life and posthumously. 2Pac would be dead seven months after the
release of this album.
The actual photo, one of many shot by celebrity photographer Ken Nahoum (see video below by Nahoum from the 2Pac photo shoot) for the album's art work, was not used for the front cover but instead relegated to the inside gatefold as part of a collage of pictures and text to accompany the four-LP, two-CD set that was divided into "Book 1" and "Book 2." However, since its February 1996 release, it is this image that has been used time and time again in articles and advertisements like KMEL's.
Every time I see this iconic picture of Pac staring upwards I always wonder to myself, what is he looking at or what exactly was going through his mind right then? So over the weekend I passed on this question via my Facebook page to find our what others thought might be the answer. The response was pretty good so I decided to republish the replies below with the name of who suggested them.
"Dang, I Hope that ghetto ass lamp don't fall on my head during this photo shoot!" - Pash Mackintosh
"Hmmm, what comes after 'Here's the church, here's the steeple?' and/or 'My eyebrows could sure use a trim' and/or 'Ice Cube? That blimp should read Tupac's A Pimp!' - Mike Baker
"Please let me go back to makin movies wit Janet, these n*©©@$ gon' kill me! Hail Mary! I ain't even from L.A.!!" - James Dowling
"When I sit like this, do I look gangsta, Suge?" - Adrian Maestas
Footage by photographer Ken Nahoum from the 2Pac "All Eyez On Me" Photo Shoot (1995)
He's looking at Vanilla Ice hanging off the balcony and thinking: "What the fuck did I get my ass into?"
- Art Gonzalez
"Put the gun away Suge. Let me live a couple years as a free man before you kill me" - Walter Glaser
"I wonder if heaven got a ghetto" - Carlos Cosio
"I may be sitting here looking up, but I'm still on top of you suckas" - Jay-r Nazareno
"I said 'All eyes on me' - he is looking at a mirror - Jos Dotz
"If you let Suge kill me, imma make sure Lil Wayne makes skinny jeans popular to the future youth" - Richard Alvis III
God. He's looking at God: Only God can judge him - Jose Sanchez
"He who smelt it dealt it" - Aye Jay
"I wish someone would fix the roof. It always leaks when it rains" - Laura Pnutz Bolokoski
"Damn that's big and you want to put it where?" - Paul Weston
"Yo Malcolm, Martin, Otis, and Donnie... I'll see y'all soon." - Will Willi Mac Waller
Tupac spelled backwards is Caput
- Kerry Huffman Vann