MC Breed Sheds Light On Slain Rapper Tupac Shakur

Recently re-released collaboration was first conceived in a tattoo parlor.

While he was alive, gangsta rapper Tupac Shakur cultivated an enduring

reputation both for his extraordinary musical talent and his zealous

devotion to "the good life" or, in his own words, "the thug life."

Rapper MC Breed said he got to see both sides of Shakur's captivating,

controversial and enduring personality when the two hatched the idea for

the recently re-released, booming rap track "Gotta Get Mine" (RealAudio

excerpt) in a Los Angeles tattoo parlor.

"We got the idea the day Tupac got his 'Thug Life' tattoo on his stomach.

We were in the tattoo parlor and we started talking about it, and then we

went in and did it. It was the first time we collaborated, but it was not

the last," said MC Breed, 26, a.k.a. Eric Breed of Atlanta, who spoke by

phone from a studio in Texas where he's working on his latest album with

producer Erotic D.

The track -- recorded in Los Angeles and featuring the production skills of

g-funk rapper Warren G and Colin Wolfe -- originally got airplay off New

Breed, Breed's third album. "Gotta Get Mine" has resurfaced on the

recently released Best of the Bay: Chapter 1, a compilation of Bay

Area hits assembled by San Francisco disc jockey Chuy Gomez.

Asked to describe the slain rapper Shakur hard at work in the studio, Breed

laughed and then said, "Tupac was really easy to work with. It was me, him

and D.O.C. Tupac came in with, like, four girls and they laid back while

we were working and then we went out and had a ball." Shakur, who often

rapped about "the thug life" and the world of inner-city gangs, was gunned

down gangland-style in September 1996, only months before Biggie Smalls

(a.k.a. Notorious B.I.G.) suffered the same fate. Neither murder has been


"Gotta Get Mine," with its slow bass groove, horns howling over the top and

smooth harmony over the compelling chorus "You gotta get yours, I gotta get

mine," embodies the charismatic Shakur's sound and rises to the top of the

pack of tracks by artists featured on the compilation, including rapper

Paris and MC Ant.

" 'Wussup Wit the Luv?' (RealAudio excerpt) by Digital Underground is a

great song for its message, said Gomez, 29, who worked as executive

producer on the project. "It's got a positive message and it's got Tupac

on it. It wasn't top 10 but it was a song that was a big deal," said the

South San Francisco resident, who said he culled the cuts on Best of the

Bay: Chapter 1 from a list of what he considered to be the best party

songs he played over the years as a DJ.

Additional tracks on the album include "Break the Grip of Shame" (RealAudio

excerpt) by politically possessed rapper Paris; "Don't Give Me No Bammer

Weed," by the apparently less political RBL Posse; "Dance Floor," authored

by the able MC Ant; and the only newly recorded cut for the LP, "Bay Love

(Chapter 1) featuring artists TayDayTay, Sean-T and Woo.

"I wanted to highlight some of the talents in the Bay Area," Gomez said.

"I tossed the idea around to different people, and Bay Rider jumped at the

opportunity and helped me make my thoughts into reality."

Color="#720418">[Wed., Feb. 18, 1998, 9 a.m. PST]