Tomorrow, June 16th, Tupac Shakur would be 51- years-old. I was just entering my teenage years when he was rapping, but as most of us know, his career and his life didn’t last long. As a teenager, I didn’t know much about Tupac “the individual,” but he put out quite a few hits that were memorable.
I watched four or five of his videos today, by chance-not even realizing tomorrow is his birthday. And I’m glad I did. Tupac was intelligent and he was ahead of his time. He was probably the most down to earth and realist rapper to ever come through the industry.
What made him special in my opinion, is that despite being an entertainer, he was a non-conformist. He was a free-thinker, and they were constantly trying to put him in box with a label on it.
His videos just woke me up today, and honestly, people can say whatever they want about rap and about Tupac as a lyricist, but Pac was in a category by himself. Pac had a lot to say, he was opinionated, and he spoke his own truth-about life, about being poor, about being black and poor, about the system, about the government, about how the media portrayed him. And he did that through his music.
He didn’t sugar coat anything. He told us how it was. He wasn’t crazy, and he wasn’t lost. He knew exactly what was going on.
In the 1994 interview with Ed Gordon, he said he was in the middle of the black world and the white world. That’s the path to wisdom, that’s neutral ground and that’s seeing both sides of the argument.
He said, “The same crime element white people fear, black people fear also. While white people are waiting for legislation to pass, black people are living amongst the killers, 80 people bunched together in a building. What, black people can’t be scared because they’re black and from the same hood? We need help to.” Tupac was not only an example, but a victim of the mainstream media; he constantly exposed how the mainstream media was influencing popular culture and how they were the driving force behind the false perceptions people had of him.
He said if the church took some of their money and instead of building houses for god, built houses for people who need god, they would actually be helping.
He said he was not politically correct, and he was a man’s man. He talked about what it meant to a man and what it meant to be woman.
People often ask what Generation X is all about, because lets face it, we went right from the Baby Boomers to the millennials. Born in 1971, and a Gemini (Like JFK), Tupac was a revolutionary, and he would’ve been a great example of what Generation X was about. Speaking your personal truth, freethought, and independence; “don’t support the phonies, support the real.” Real change, not fake change, but real change.
Tupac’s not the popular pick, but he’s the right one. I can only imagine what he would have to say about the world today.
June 16, 1971. Happy Birthday Tupac Shakur.