Greg Nice Reveals Details About The East/West Peace Album Tupac Was Recording When He Died (Video)
In the month of May, the unreleased music of Tupac Shakur has been the topic of discussion. The reported 152 songs belonging to the estate of the slain Hip-Hop superstar are said to now be in the hands of the music executive who signed him to Interscope Records in the early 1990s, Tom Whalley. This transfer happened in a trust set up by ‘Pac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, prior to her May 2 death from heart failure.
The music in those vaults has been widely speculated upon and debated. Suge Knight, in the years Death Row Records administrated the catalog, told The Source magazine that Shakur had recorded a sequel to “Hit ‘Em Up.” In 2007, Afeni Shakur won the recordings back from Tupac’s last record label, and released subsequent recordings without Knight’s involvement. Among the unreleased music featuring Shakur’s vocals is material with Madonna, M.C. Hammer, and Big Daddy Kane. Perhaps the most discussed material however, is a super-group collaboration known as One Nation. The album linked ‘Pac and Tha Outlawz with a number of key Hip-Hop figures, especially from the East Coast, during a 1996 where Shakur was embroiled in a feud with The Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy, Junior M.A.F.I.A., Mobb Deep, Nas, and others.
In a new interview with Vlad TV, Nice & Smooth’s Greg Nice explains how he was the conduit to ‘Pac’s vision of showing his love for both New York, and Hip-Hop, despite ongoing tensions. Greg Nice, who had just ended Nice & Smooth’s tenure with Def Jam in 1996, says he decided to call Death Row Records to check up on Shakur. In the early 1990s, he and partner Smooth B had taken the burgeoning rapper under their wings, while in New York as well as San Diego, California.
In telling the story, Greg N-I-C-E reveals how Shakur promptly returned his message, and Death Row paid for Greg and a guest to fly to L.A., to be greeted with limousines and a taste of the platinum-selling life. Upon reconnecting with Shakur at a Pasadena, California movie set, Shakur shared a vision with the Bronx, New York MC. “[Tupac said], ‘I don’t believe you came! Everybody’s scared of me! Look at my lil’ ass, Greg. What can I do to somebody? Everybody’s scared of my ass!'” Moments later, from Shakur’s trailer, he told his friend, “I love you so much, and I miss you.” Greg said that ‘Pac extended those sentiments to Smooth B as well, who was not present. Nice, who is currently touring for the 30th anniversary of Nice & Smooth, says ‘Pac promised to get the pair a deal at Death Row Records worth more than their early ’90s venture with Def Jam. According to the vet, Shakur said, “I’m gonna get you $50,000 more [than what Def Jam paid Nice & Smooth], right now. Right here, on the Row. They said we don’t put out no positive Hip-Hop. Your music is fun; people love it. They love you in Cali’, they love you in New York. Man, you know what? Let’s do your first single tonight! I’ll do the hook, and we’ll just bug the world out!” Greg Nice says he was with Shakur from August to September, 1996 during the last 30 days of the superstar’s life. During that time, Greg says he and Tupac recorded seven records together, presumably part of the aforementioned 152.
“I actually helped him put [One Nation] together,” began Greg. While there are photographs and recordings documenting Boot Camp Clik members Buckshot, General Steele, and Tek (along with Duck Down Music’s co-founder Dru Ha) with ‘Pac, Nice reveals the other artists either involved, or intended to be. “[Tupac] thought Easy Mo Bee was upset with him. He thought that certain people was mad at him ’cause of the things that he was saying on records and stuff.” Mo Bee had produced hits from Me Against The World, as well as the Thug Life album. In that time, the Brooklyn, New York producer would play an extensive role on The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready To Die, and keep working with Biggie on Life After Death. “I told him, ‘Mo ain’t mad at you.'” Greg Nice called the hit-making producer and put him on with ‘Pac. He reveals how much the Death Row superstar missed New York. As a result, Nice goes on to say that he put in similar calls to DJ Premier, Fat Joe, and Black Moon’s Buckshot.
In a 2010 HipHopDX interview, Greg confirmed a collaboration with the Gang Starr producer. In that discussion, Nice also revealed that Showbiz (of Showbiz & A.G.) was also approached. He would deny reports that Busta Rhymes was recorded. “Busta [Rhymes] wasn’t on that project. It ain’t Busta [that you’ve heard on the leaks], it’s a guy named L.S. I knew L.S. from Busta, that was his boy. When I picked up Busta from his house, that was his boy. He’d be with him everyday.” He later added, “I brought my man Asu to California. He was a rapper from New Jersey. I remember when [Buckshot] and them first got there. Snoop [Dogg] was on a record with us too.” In that interview, Greg Nice confirmed that Fat Joe was not able to make it to Los Angeles at the time.
In speaking recently with Vlad, he recalls Tupac’s intent to bandage his reputation and message surrounding New York City. “It started happenin’, man—just like that. It was goin’ down. He was like, ‘I gotta fix this.'”
“International,” released on 2006’s Pac’s Life, is said to be one of the seven songs Greg Nice recorded with Tupac. While the BX MC was not included on the gold-certified Interscope Records release, he revealed that it is his publishing attached to a record featuring Nipsey Hussle and Young Dre The Truth.
#BonusBeat: What is believed to be the original version of Tupac Shakur’s “International,” features Greg Nice, L.S., Asu, and Snoop Dogg: