My Date with: Tupac

Posted: May 12, 2015 in 90s Music, Rap
Tags: ,

As much of a music fan/snob that I am, I can admit that there are a lot of artists I’ve missed over the years. Not on purpose, but because let’s be real, it’s impossible to listen to everything out there. So I decided to go back to music school and educate myself about 90s rapper Tupac Shakur.

Getting to know Tupac took a lot of commitment. I listened exclusively to his music for a month straight, in order to really familiarize myself with his work. At first, I thought it was a lot of yelling, unnecessary cursing and inappropriate vulgarities (geez, I sound like my mom.) But once I got over that in-your-face style, I was truly impressed.

Tupac had a lot to say and nothing was off limits – even criticizing his own race. It soon became clear that he rapped the way he did in order to be heard; he had to find a way to get people’s attention. So he got real. He talked about his life, his struggles, his ups and downs; you could feel his anguish. You could tell he meant every word he said. In the early-mid 90s, no one in rap music was doing that. I mean what other rapper at that time talked about 12-year-old Brenda having a baby? It was too real, and no one wanted to get that serious about the world and society in which we all live.

Tupac was the anti-hero: he gave a voice to all those desperately in need, but his approach offended some, and often times his message got lost. If more people took the time to look past his rough exterior, his anger, his violence; instead focus on his passion, and his words, Tupac would have been even more legendary than he is now. He rhymed about what was relevant to so many people, even in this day and age. I guarantee you you can find at least one Tupac track that reflects exactly what’s going on in the world today. Those who understood him, know he was a lyrical poet. Those who dismissed him as a ghetto thug, missed out on greatness.

Tupac didn’t like the way the world was, and all he wanted was change. Even if you haven’t had the same experiences he had, you can feel the injustice he’s feeling, the frustration screaming through his lyrics. He painted such a powerful picture, and created music with the ability to provoke conversations, ideas, thoughts. That’s what made/makes him a true artist, and why his music will always be immortal.

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