You know how there are moments in life that are so incredible, they defy our understanding at the time? From MTV News, Mike Tyson describes his first meeting with Tupac Shakur:
"Magic Johnson had a party at the Palladium in Los Angeles. ... I came outside. I was talking to the people running the door. They were friends of mine. They wouldn't let these guys in, Tupac and them. I said, 'Man, let these guys in. You remember how it was with us.'
"So they let him in. 'Pac had said, 'Hold up for one minute,' and he brought back 200 more people. Next thing I knew, it was over. I hear somebody on the mic — he took the mic. Him and his guys got the mic somehow and started rapping. The whole crowd started going crazy. They loved him. The guys from Digital Underground introduced him to me. They said, 'This is Tupac.' I met him, he was very young. He was very happy, vivacious.
While we pause before the jump, imagine Mike Tyson's pronunciation of "vivacious."
As for the story of Tyson and Tupac, I'm shocked the world didn't split in half with those two in the same place. Listen to Tyson's description of Tupac. It's eerie:
He had a lot of hostility. I think it was just misguided and misdirected. It was obvious he was a genius, he was a prodigy. Whoa! He was just amazing as far as his energy was concerned. He was explosive. ... His presence and his energy ... the word I'm looking for is fearless. He came across as fearless. When you come across somebody that's fearless, you're a little bit in awe. You're like. 'Whoa!' He's ready to blow, too, at any moment; very volatile.
Doesn't that sound like someone describing Mike Tyson? Without getting too abstract over all this, we're talking about two of the most complex and polarizing individuals of the past 20 years, both of whom seemed to send ripples through society just by sheer force of nature.
Here's Tyson recounting Tupac's visit to him in jail:
He was standing on the table, started talking. All the people in the prison started going crazy. ... The white prisoners, the guards, everybody went crazy in this redneck prison. They went nuts when he came in there. ... He was prolific. He was talking, having a ball. ... He was very territorial. He was an interesting guy. He was different than any other rapper I had ever met from a philosophical perspective."
Really, there were layers to both men that were beyond our comprehension when they were at the height of their powers. Not until Tupac's death in 1996 and Tyson's fall from grace shortly thereafter did we realize just how unique they both were. Powerful, paranoid, and profane. Vilified, venerated, and vulnerable. But most of all, they were impossibly magnetic. Like no boxer or rapper that we'd seen before or since. Humans like Mike Tyson and Tupac Shakur just don't come along very often.
My less abstract reaction? People always talk about their "dream golf foursome." One of those fun hypotheticals at dinner parties. But I defy you think of a more entertaining trio to hit the links with than these three. In 1993, Tupac Shakur, Mike Tyson, and Eazy-E.
Now that would make for an entertaining trip to the country club.