Tupac Shakur, born June 1971. He was a well known rapper, who was infamously known for his trouble with the law and his prominent West Coast affiliation. Even though he was born in East Harlem, New York.
I always admired how Tupac came across in some of his interviews and some of his song lyrics are deep. Some people would describe him as a conscious rapper who speaks to black youth, a lyrical soldier afraid of no one. He’s also been labelled as the greatest rapper of all time. Many young black children today look up to Tupac as a visionary leader and there have been numerous documentaries supporting these claims as his fan love is constantly splattered all over the internet.
The reality is Tupac was a living contradiction.
One of his greatest song in my opinion was ‘Keep ya head up.‘ A song for all black women who are struggling with life. He gives a ‘holla’ to all his sisters on welfare, he calls for black men to start treating women with the respect they deserve, and no matter what you go through ‘Keep ya head up’ he states. A popular & positive song.
Another Tupac song thats popular amongst his fans is ‘I get around‘. This song is not about him travelling around the world providing knowledge to struggling people who look up to his music. No. This song is about delivering a different kind of brains to anyone interested. Remember what he was preaching in ‘Keep ya head up‘. In this song he said he’s happy to have quickie’s, proud to sleep around with a bunch of women and labels them as hoes. He’s more interested in women keeping their heads down, than up in this one.
Tupac made a song about how women are disrespected by men and this is supposed to be an uplifting song to help black women with the struggles they face. He then speaks about them in another song like they’re disposable and worthy of his usage. Tupac made a lot of money off the premise that he was a decent black man who respected black women, but this is just not true.
Tupac proudly promoted the ‘thug life’ and lived it himself. True to form he was arrested on several occasions. Many of these arrests were questionable, and he was acquitted of some of the crimes he was alleged to have committed. Needless to say, his lyrics are full of glorifying violence and drug use, as was his life. There are too many examples to choose from, but listen to ‘Ambitonz as a ridah‘ and ‘Hit em up‘ and you can see for yourself how Tupac constantly endorses all kinds of negativity.
I have given just a few examples, but the majority of Tupac’s music fit the usual hip hop stereotype; Guns, drugs, women, money and not pronouncing words correctly.
I am not a Tupac hater, & I have not written this because I think Biggie Smalls is a better rapper. Which he is. I’ve written this because of the lack of positive role models for many children in society, and how many children wrongly look up to Tupac. I’ve written this to give an alternative view on something that has a profoundly negative impact on youth today. This isn’t about Tupac specifically. The entertainment industry is littered with people claiming to represent positivity, but in the end the only thing most entertainers are interested in is money. This is about who you see as a positive influence in your life, your child’s life and the lives of the people in the community around you.
Music, movies and literature are all there for our personal entertainment. We can learn from things that are fiction and non fiction, but a distance always has to be kept between what we feed our minds and what the reality is around us. Tupacs lifestyle contributed towards his death. The East coast West coast beef that he perpetuated was hyped up by the media and people began to take it seriously. Scores of people were shot after Tupac and Biggie Smalls were murdered, gangbangers and normal citizens all got caught up in the non existent feud that made millions for magazine and music promoters.
Tupac refused to accept himself as a role model for the younger generation but his behaviour & lyrics contributed to an escalation in violence and he profited from this. He spoke about uplifting the most vulnerable people in society and he profited from this too.
There are other prominent black figures who deserve the title as ‘role model’ to the younger generation, more so than Tupac Shakur. Maclom X, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela are all better people to look up to. All three of these powerful black men had their many faults. However, they should all be acknowledged as more effective role models & leaders than Tupac. Tupac was one the best rappers of all time who was used as a pawn by the powers that be. Inspiration in its purest form has to be positive, at least most of the time. Tupac was not. He was an intelligent, creative soul, to be listened to and not followed.