PEOPLE THAT INSPIRE ME

WHAT WOULD TUPAC SHAKUR HAVE BEEN LIKE HAD HE LIVED?

Honesty is the best policy. The policy is in the beat if you dig that, only it’s not so clear cut. That’s the thing about rap music; you’ve always got to learn to read between the lines. You’ve got to literally mine your way through all the X-rated language, the violence and the sexual innuendos to get to appreciate the truth of the overriding message. And I’m going to be as honest as possible with you today. It may also seem obvious but there’s a great deal many things that me and Tupac Shakur do not have in common.

But in saying that I am declaring myself to be a hypocrite. Because the truth of the matter is this. While Tupac is rapping to us loud and clear, I harbor similar thoughts in the deep recesses of my breast. These thoughts are kept to myself, nobody knows about it, only I do. But if you believe in the Master, the Higher Power, the Divine Ruler, whatever name you give Him, you know this as well as I know that. He already knows. And then again, 2Pac and I actually do have a couple of things in common. For one thing, and I expressed this much in an earlier post, we do not dig, I repeat, we do not dig racism.

You have a heart and you may have experienced it a few times in your life, racism is not only hurtful, it kills. The other thing we have in common is that we are poets. Only he’s been at it a lot longer than me. He’s been writing this and that since his school days. I started my poetry very late in life, and even then, my thoughts were blithely expressed. I was too timid to say what was really on my mind. And after completing my degree, it was only later that I learnt that the mastery of poetry, always with words – in Tupac’s case, lyrics – has to do with ideas and expressions not necessarily your own.

Imagine this and imagine that

You had to distance yourself emotionally as far as possible. I only realized this later about Tupac’s art as well. You hear him rapping about this, and about that, but it isn’t really him speaking to us. You could just say that he is the voice of the people. He is the voice of the oppressed. From a young age, and yes, he died violently at a young age as well; Tupac’s concern was always with the disenfranchised, the voiceless and the harmed. You gotta dig him for that, if I could express it that way. But how to reconcile oneself with the violence?

Poetic justice

Men of the world often ask of others if there is justice in this violent and oppressive world of ours. The ones who rant the loudest seem to be the ones who’ve suffered the most. And I’ve been asking myself this question for a while now. Is there any justice in Tupac’s death? The reasons don’t matter, but his most fanatical admirers may be asking always; oh, why did he have to die. It was tragic to learn that he died during the most productive and successful phase of his artistic career. I told my brother the other day that I was going to be preparing a post on Tupac Shakur.

And immediately he jumped onto the bandwagon about those conspiracy theories that the law enforcement agencies were somehow involved in his death. That he was always waging wars with them, of that there’s little doubt, and most certainly, he always seemed to be provoked. But were sinister forces behind Tupac’s death? No, I don’t believe that. You read the history and you see that he was always embroiled in gang warfare of the rapping kind. Jealous rivalries prevailed throughout his short life; right up to the time he died by the gun. I had to ask this tough question. Was Tupac Shakur an alpha male, and was he a good role model for the kids of today (and then)? My short answer to that was always going to be no, he wasn’t.

Who cares about Tupac’s upbringing

I’m not suggesting that in a judgmental sort of way. But he did always seem to be willing the youngsters in the streets and the projects to willfully and bravely take up arms against the oppressors. The problem was that the thugs always seemed to be taking it out on each other. And then there was this surprising afterthought. It was surprising to me because I had stuck it at the back of my mind for a number of years as if I was deliberately choosing to be ignorant of this fact. My brother reminded me that 2Pac wasn’t a son of the soil.

Tupac’s records speak for itself

He wasn’t born in the projects and he actually enjoyed a very good middle class upbringing. The talented artist went to many fine schools as well. So, who really cares about his upbringing? We do care about the violence and the fact of the matter is that his prophetic voice spoke volumes.

What would he have been like had he lived

It moved men. Finally, I sometimes wonder what he would have been like today had he lived. Do you?

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