He died a contradiction, the archetypal conflicted spirit. Tupac Shakur would Bomb First yet tell your girl to keep her head up. He would get around, yet preach the wrongs of Brenda having a baby. He would espouse the virtues contained within his Dear Mama’s spirit yet couldn’t help asking the ladies how they wanted it. Because he was a star, these supposed flaws were used against him by the mainstream media as like many before him and since, some of the acts of violence they covered were attributed to his work… justifiably or otherwise.
But 2Pac simply magnifying the thoughts of men the world over. His rhymes can easily be misconstrued but they were a perversion of what many aspire to. Wealth, security, family, (whomever they perceive as being) a beautiful lady by their side. Men have beliefs and convictions. Things in this world that they would like to see change. Wrongs that they would like to see righted. Parts of their own lives that they would like to fix. Tupac Shakur was the best in the business at conveying the wants, needs, desires, dreams and flaws of his peers and putting them into words.
That didn’t make him perfect but he didn’t pretend to be. He was his own man who at times made bad choices and the much publicised East Coast/West Coast feud is a perfect case in point. During this period anything remotely positive done in his life or his music was swept aside while the headlines were full of responses, real or perceived, from one coast to the other. That, along with the release of his biggest commercial release, ‘All Eyez On Me‘, saw the man make the switch from one of Hip Hops biggest stars to a global phenomenon. This was also when, almost all of his material preceding would be lost in the glare of superstardom. Most of the new younger fans he gained simply didn’t look back into any of his previous work, bar perhaps his most accomplished album, ‘Me Against the World‘.
It was at the height of this period that Tupac was shot in September of 1996. To this day his murder has never been solved, and by now I don’t think it ever will be. But never has a Hip Hop artist made such a huge posthumous impact. Many have commented on the mans tireless work ethic and consequentially the vault of unreleased material was veritably cavernous. But on top of all of the original material, remixes, unfinished songs, rehashed features and poetry, were the people now being heard when they spoke about just how good this man was, at what he did. Many of the younger fans listened and were eagerly going through his back catalogue and discovering what made Tupac Shakur tick. It was this activity paralleled with his post-mortem hits and the constant repetition on TV of his best acting work (Bishop anybody?), that confirmed his legendary status was enhanced exponentially.
Brash, confrontational, violent, chauvinistic, incendiary. All words that have and continue to be used to describe some of the man’s music. But it is the cultured, emotional, challenging, headstrong, empathetic side of that coin that ensures 2Pac will be not just remembered but revered. Not only for the fame he attained but also for the talent that got him there.