MC Breed & Tupac’s Message Is Still Relevant. It’s Time To Get Yours

Tupac Shakur was born in New York City. He spent his teens in Marin City, California, following a brief but meaningful stop in Baltimore, Maryland. Pac’s life is one of extremes and contradictions. At a time when Shakur was portrayed to be condemning the East Coast Rap community, he was planning One Nation with Boot Camp Clik, Greg Nice, and a wish-list of recruits from across the United States. Pac was a geographic anomaly. He was a New Yorker throwing up W’s, and an East Coast native who people associate with low-riders, pool-parties, and colorful bandanas. However, in between those complicated contradictions, Shakur was one Rap superstar who recognized the talent in the Midwest and helped shine a light.

In 1993, Flint, Michigan native MC Breed released his sophomore LP with The New Breed. Eventually, the project would come to be known by its first single “Gotta Get Mine,” which featured the Thug Life star, Tupac. Produced by The Chronic alum Colin Wolf, Dr. Dre’s half-brother Warren G, as well as Breed himself, the G-Funk-tinged record exemplified the struggles of getting by in the inner city Midwest and the lengths some will go to make riches.

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Puffin’ up on the dank and drinking mad brew / Taking names and after that I’m kickin’ ass too,” Breed raps in the first verse. “Breed, time to flow, Can I get a rhyme to go? / Hell yeah, Pac, I’ll sit back, straight up design it slow / They hate to see a young ni**a, come up / Another punk, run up and have to get his, gun up / ‘Cause, um, I ain’t takin no shots / Like a Newport fort, exploitin’ the floor like Jordan / Explodin’ on the hoop court.

Tupac, on the other hand, had a little more aggressive approach to how he described getting by. “Picture me living out my life as a busta / I’d rather pop out a shot from my Glock and blast mothaf*ckas,” he raps during his verse. “I live the thug life, baby, I’m hopeless / Chokin’ off indo’, tryin’ to keep my focus / Don’t let that bullsh*t worry me / F*ck the fame, I’m true to the game ’til they bury me / God gave me game, so I’m hustlin’ / Pour out some liquor for my ni**as, Tupac is still strugglin.’

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The song, sampling Maceo And The Macks’ James Brown-produced “Soul Power ’74,” was also one of two Breed and Tupac collaborations on the album. The other, “Comin’ Real Again,” cements the connection, along with the video. The features would be some of Tupac’s earliest during his rising star, and the same could be said for Warren G, who was making his way after a difficult experience around Death Row.

The D.O.C., whose car accident side-lined a brilliant Rap career, served as a mentor to Breed. The Flint native’s debut, 20 Below, and DFC-collaborated MC Breed & DFC were already out in the world. However, The New Breed was an inflection point. MC Breed had to get his, and he got some help to shine a light on his talent, his album, and a yet-overlooked region on the Rap map. Breed released nine solo studio albums before he passed away, 12 years after Tupac, in 2008.

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In times like these, the theme of this song rings truer than ever.