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Tupac Back: Justin Bieber Feature From July/August 2011 Issue

It looks like you and Lil Twist are really cool with each other.

He’s, like, one of my best friends, actually. I was just with him last night, at the basketball game, and he’s just a really cool guy. He’s really talented, and everybody should know about Twist.

Both Asher Roth and Drake have spoken about giving you advice and mentoring you. What kinds of things do they tell you?

Just to keep a straight head and make sure to always, um, keep family first. Basically, just regular, normal stuff.

When you meet guys like Diddy or Raekwon or Young Jeezy, is it awkward? How do they respond to you?

It’s really cool. It’s great that, you know, I’m able to get the respect from these people, knowing they’ve been doing it a long time and they do it different. You know, they’re in a whole different category. So it’s great to get that kind of respect and know that they don’t think I’m just corny. You know, just a corny pop singer. They actually respect me, which is really good.

How do you decide what rap artists to collaborate with?

I pick different people. I like Wiz Khalifa. I like a lot of people who are new, who are hot right now. I kinda pick and choose who I associate myself with and who I want to be on one of my records. I kinda see what they’re doing and how they’re doing for radio, how they’re doing in the public, and, basically, try to make the best song possible.

Can you talk a little bit about Shawty Mane, your rap alter ego?

[Laughs] He comes out about once every four months. Not that often. Just kinda do something fun and show something to my fans.

You had a concert in Israel where you rapped Busta Rhymes’s verse from “Look at Me Now” with Chris Brown.

[Laughs] Yeah, it was really cool. And then when I was in Australia, Chris came out and did his part, and I rapped Busta. It was really cool. It was a fun experience.

You were the first person Kanye followed on Twitter. Was that cool?

It was great! Kanye is awesome. Kanye is really cool. I got to be in the studio with him and work with him and see how he works and talk to him—and talk to him as a friend, and not like someone business. He’s not really an asshole, like everyone makes him out to be. I mean, he can, he can do bad things, but he’s really generally a good guy.

He’s an artist. Artists come with all different sides to them, right?

Yes, I mean, he can make bad decisions, you know, as well as everyone can, but generally I think he is a good guy.

What rapper do you wanna work with?

I would like to work with Wayne. I wanna try to get on Tha Carter IV. That’s my goal.

Anything else you wanna say about hip-hop?

I think that Tupac is the best rapper ever! He’s the best rapper. He’s the best rapper alive.


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