If I asked you to describe Tupac in one word, could you? If I told you Tupac is one of the greatest MC’s in music, would you disagree?
As I sat in my room cultivating thoughts on how I can write a story about Tupac, I found myself reminiscing about the artist that made me fall in love with music.
Believe it or not, Tupac is alive. Everywhere. You can feel his passion when someone blast his voice as a car careens down campus. You know he left an impact when you see his image scattered everywhere on clothes, at the local mall or graffitied on a wall somewhere.
He told stories with the emotion of his pen and rawness of his voice. Shared emotion of the struggle with people he connected to whether poor or rich.
If you’re not familiar with his songs then you don’t know the essence of true lyrics, let alone hip hop. To Houston hip hop artist Dre.Prince, Shakur was more than just lyrics.
“I grew up on Tupac, he was extremely talented. For him to grab the attention of a young child in the early 90s and for me to remember every song word for word today is powerful. Tupac had a special way of putting life into his music. If you listen to mine, you’ll notice I take that element from him and make his music relatable.”
To understand who Tupac was, it is imperative to know where he came from. His parents, Billy Garland and Afeni Shakur, were both members of the Black Panther Party in 1970 when they met. Soon as Pac came out the womb, he learned how the real political government system worked.
If he didn’t place you in his Benz Convertible and ride you around Cali on songs like “California Love” or “Live in Die in LA,” then you weren’t listening hard enough. If he didn’t challenge ones mind with songs like “Point the Finga” or “Words of Wisdom” then you just didn’t quite hear him.
If you didn’t feel the pen bleed with songs like, “So Many Tears” or “Hail Mary” then your ears were closed. Uplifting songs like “Brenda’s Got A Baby” or “Keep Ya Head Up” about supporting and doing right for our black women is rare now a days in hip-hop.
Having threesomes, tricking on strippers, marrying strippers, getting girls on Molly is what rappers lyrics are about in today’s world. Quick Sidebar, what rapper today uplifts the spirit of our Sistas?
Tupac implores women to be strong in the wake of deadbeat dads, abusers, and insurmountable odds. It’s as much an anthem for women as it is a call for men to take care of their responsibilities. If your still trying to think of an artist who uplifts women then stop because you wont find any rappers today who does.
In Tupac’s case, hypocrisy may indeed stem from him being a product of his environment. Having grown up in an urban war zone, and being the son of a former Black Panther, certain things became ingrained in Shakur.
However, how can a young man of such intelligence, charm and vision appear so utterly conflicted and, frankly, contradictory? How can a man who expresses unconditional love towards black women spend a year and a half in jail accused of rape? How can a man who raps about uplifting the ghetto but sleeps and walks around with a 9mm Barretta? How can a man talk about uniting hip hop, beef with the biggest east coast rapper of that time?
Tupac had many personalities but what you can call him was a genius. “Gin and Juice” was the first video my toddler eyes saw but hearing “So Many Tears” by Tupac in 1995 made me realize that Tupac wasn’t rapping, he was using music as a instrument for activism.
His infectious beats mixed with rhythmic laments about the human experience, somehow put me in the right state of mind for coping with my own pain.