I was able to capture a personal vibe among Tupac and his friends — guys from the groups Thug Life and the Outlawz. After the main taping was done, the news cameras started to leave. The bulk of the news press got the shots they needed to portray Tupac as the “Dangerous Thug,” which they would print in the next day’s papers. It felt like Tupac knew how to play with the media to keep his name in the press. He knew how to press their buttons, challenge them mentally; their only recourse was to portray him as a troublemaker. The pattern was reactive and visible.
Manhattan, August 1995 Back Story The opportunity to photograph Raekwon and Ghostface of the Wu Tang Clan came to me because the publicist at the Black Music Department of RCA called to see if I wanted to shoot "on-spec." Shooting on-spec means there is no official assignment. The record label and publicity department know you are a working press photographer, not on staff. They rely on your motivation to market the photo and consider it a win-win situation if you get their artist into the press. Raekwon and Ghostface had just released their first duo album, Only Built for Cuban...
Hoodshock was a free outdoor hip-hop festival used as a way to increase voter registration. Conceived and organized by Lauryn Hill, the NYC venue was in front of the Harlem State Office Building at 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard.
The day of the event, I had no urgency to get there. I was not on assignment to cover the show, just wanted to get a few shots to sell to magazines. This was pre-internet — no social media, no instant sharing, and no cellphone cameras.
- lauryn hill
- new york
- thug life
- tupac shakur
- twin towers