Late last year Dexter Isaac, the self-proclaimed shooter of Tupac Shakur at Quad Studios in 1994 put out the book From Friends To Enemies. One of the main takeaways was Dexter’s claim that Tupac’s onetime friend Randy Walker better known as Stretch was involved in the setup. This claim is very questionable. However what is a fact is that Tupac and Stretch had a falling out as a result of the event. Tupac felt Stretch was complacent and could have done more to protect Pac. Prior to that Stretch was a very integral part in his career.
Tupac and Stretch had initially befriended each other through their ties with Digital Underground. Stretch would help produce and be featured on a couple tracks from 2Pac’s 1991 debut 2Pacalypse Now including the track “Crooked”. He then became more involved with 2Pac’s next project, 1993’s Strictly 4 My. This included producing the album’s powerful leading track “Holler If Ya Hear Me”. During the recording sessions Stretch appeared on an unreleased version with his group Live Squad.
2Pac – Crooked feat. Stretch
2Pac – Holler If Ya Hear Me (prod. by Stretch)
2Pac – Holler If Ya Hear Me (OG) feat. Live Squad
Stretch also produced “The Streetz R Deathrow” and a remix to “Papa’z Song”. In addition to being featured on an unreleased version of “Peep Game”. The following year 2Pac and Stretch released their most important and memorable collaboration, “Pain” off the Above the Rim soundtrack. They would perform a remix on the Arsenio Hall show. Around the same time Stretch was working on tracks with Tupac for the Thug Life project.
2Pac – The Streetz R Deathrow (prod. by Stretch)
2Pac – Papa’z Song (remix) (prod. by Stretch)
2Pac – Pain feat. Stretch
2Pac – Pain (remix) feat. Stretch
The Thug Life: Volume 1 album went through trials and tribulations due to the political atmosphere at the time. The initial version of the project was not able to be released. Stretch appeared on several unreleased tracks with 2Pac including “Hellrazor” and “Judgement Day” which also featured Thug Life member Mopreme. The version of the album that was released included Stretch on “Stay True” and “Under Pressure”.
2Pac – Hellrazor (OG) feat. Stretch
2Pac – Judgement Day (OG) feat. Stretch & Mopreme
2Pac – Stay True (OG) feat. Stretch & Mopreme
2Pac – Under Pressure (OG) feat. Stretch
Shortly after the album release the Quad Recording Studios robbery and shooting of Tupac occurred. Tupac felt that Stretch due to his towering physical presence could have put up a fight with the assailants but was complacent. This lead to their fallout and plans for a Thug Life: Volume 2 was abandoned. Tracks that had been completed and intended for the project that featured 2Pac with Stretch were “God Bless the Dead” and “It Hurts the Most”.
2Pac – God Bless the Dead (OG) feat. Stretch
2Pac – It Hurts the Most (OG) feat. Stretch & Mopreme
One of the last tracks the duo had worked on together was “So Many Tears” produced by Easy Mo Bee. Due to the fallout though Stretch’s vocals were removed and a different version landed on 2Pac’s 1995 Me Against the World album. Stretch was a very prominent figure in Tupac’s life and career pre-Deathrow. It is a shame the direction their relationship took. Much of their music was introspective with substance and social conscious. Characteristics that was not as prominent in 2Pac’s later works.