The genre called Rap originated in the Bronx, New York, in the mid-1970’ (Howard). Of the many legends of how Rap came to be the most popular has to do with the humble DJ’s and MC’s of the underground clubs. While the DJ spun the track, the MC would entertain the crowd with simple rhymes (EZ Track). Over the years, Rap Music has become the theme songs of most young African American men in the United States. However, the genre has broke boundaries and entered almost every culture outside of the states. Nonetheless, a Rapper, along with Rap Music, is stereotyped to be associated with the thug life. Most individuals think that a Rap song is no more than a guy spitting rhymes about how much money he has, how many women he has slept with, or how low a girl can get. Yet they neglect to mention the Rappers such as Tupac Shakur, Nas, or Ice Cube who didn’t flaunt but instead made poetry. Tupac was one of those artists that took his gift to alter the entire Rap game (Howard).
Tupac Shakur was born June 16, 1971, in the East Harlem section of Manhattan in New York City (Wikipedia). From an early age, he was surrounded by incarceration. His godfather, his stepfather, and his sister all had spent time in jail by the time he was twelve. He used his surroundings and experiences to create a poetic style of rap that vocalized the problem facing the ghetto. Some of his music was controversial because of his descriptive, most of the time violent, lyrics. The majority of music critics didn’t agree with his honesty. Contradictory to what the critics thought, people from the ghettos of New York or California understood what Shakur was singing. “Lord knows I… tried, been a witness to homicide. Seen drive-bys, takin’ lives, little kids die” is a quote from his song So Many Tears. Tupac was simply shedding some light on what individuals refused to acknowledge. (Wikipedia)
Tupac nearly created his own version of the Rap game. The so-called ‘Thug Life’ was brought into each home without sugar-coating the facts. “They never talk peace in the black community. All we know is violence, do it all in silence,” as quoted in his song Trapped. Along with his contentious lyrics, his style was distinct. Instead of the multicolored pimp suit, Tupac rocked a bandana tied to the front of his head, nose ring, and a wife-beater with some saggy jeans. Socially he was known to be a thug. In December of 1994, two days before his sexual abuse trial, Tupac was shot five times, then robbed by two men. Later, when he checked himself out of the hospital, Shakur was found guilty of three counts of molestation and convicted. While serving his sentence, Tupac released his album Me Against the World which was number one on the Billboard 200. He would be the only artist to ever do that while incarcerated (Wikipedia).
The modern day rapper hasn’t motivation to create music that will ultimately change the way someone views the world (Howard). Shakur aggressively assaulted racism, poverty, and violence in his songs. The majority of his music didn’t contain feel-good songs that are used for the club. “I see no changes all I see is racist faces misplaced hate makes disgrace to races,” as quoted in his song Changes. Today most rappers believe in exploiting their wealth for a hit song. Tupac believed in creating poetry that struck the core of the day’s hardships of African-Americans that needed to be addressed. Every man and woman from the corners of Compton to the Projects can identify with at least one of Tupac’s songs. He was and still is, an influential rapper and poet (Wikipedia).
The day he died the world lost one of its greatest Rap artists. Many rappers have tried to mimic his style but not one has been triumphant in recreating what Tupac. The impersonators fail to realize Tupac put his own identity into every lyric that inked from his pen. His past resides in the ghetto where he watched his friends get killed by drive-bys or where he saw men and women strung out on the streets. There are not many rappers who can say their work is geared towards advocating social reform or any kind of change in an Ethnic community. No question can be put to the credibility of Shakur’s work or identity. Tupac can be called the face of the modern day poet for he proved himself capable of reaching people’s hearts through his words.