Tupac has the be the O.G. wack rapper that inspired billions of people to jump on his dick and claim that he we was the best that ever did it. Tupac would have been an ill rapper in the Melle Mel / Grandmaster Caz era, but inside the era where his work is framed he is not even in the top 25. Tupac however, was Hip-Hop. For too long people have assumed that by rapping someone becomes Hip-Hop by default. Uh uh. Representing the artistic cultural movement of Hip-Hop through rapping is a totally different practice. Although Tupac was overrated as a lyricist he still attempted to codify the reasons why he felt he was disenfranchised. I respect him for that. He certainly didn’t have to use his voice in that manner. It could be because of his death that many other rappers have steered clear of material that exposes supremacy and its filtration through our society.
The same shit happened after John F. Kennedy got mer’cked. A lot of good progressive white folk fell back and stopped marching for equal rights and equal protections because they figured if America’s favorite son could get his wig pushed back then they could certainly get ‘disappeared’ with the quickness. Privilege was kept in place and as long as the politicians would hire more police maybe the rest of the country wouldn’t have to worry too much about the struggles of ‘the other’. This worked pretty much after Malcolm Shabazz was killed and it nearly crumbled after King was killed but then the Army came in to put out the fires in Watts and elsewhere. The inequality along lines like education and economics was prevailing, but Hollywood created films that displayed colored people becoming empowered, albeit through criminal behavior. Meanwhile the U.S. government and their COINTELPRO operations dismantled community based education and empowerment groups like The Black Panthers and M.O.V.E. Don’t any of you find it odd that The Black Panthers were shut down by the government and replaced with the Bloods and the Crips?
I found it odd that people drove to my ‘hood to copp drugs. Since opium and coca leaves aren’t harvested, processed, granulated and all the other things that have to happen to them before they are viable for retail sale, why is it that all these people drive up my block to get this shit? In no uncertain terms Tupac asked that question aloud. Someone that I will never consider the greatest rapper of all time, may have been one of the most progressive Hip-Hop icons ever. Maybe Chuck D is more progressive as far as education and economics are concerned, but Tupac is certainly more iconic. The fact that Tupac resonates to some of you at this very moment speaks about his importance. I think a lot of other forces understood this as well. Tupac wasn’t scared to look to the root causes of dysfunction within his community and because he was part of the community as well he sometimes described the issues with the voice of dysfunction. I do believe that Tupac was going to call shenanigans on privilege and supremacy and if you were a fan of his music you would have to make a choice. The choice would be whether or not to continue to support the system of supremacy. Tupac was certainly hardbody Hip-Hop. His skills as a rapper? Not so much.
Fisty Scent is a waaaay better rapper than Tupac, but he is far from Hip-Hop. Fisty comes into the rap music game for a singular reason. To make money. Not to push the art of Hip-Hop forward. Not to challenge the status quo that seeks to criminalize young males as ‘the other’. Fisty actually pushes that agenda harder than anyone before him. Get rich or die trying has become a mantra for too many kids as opposed to getting a skill to start living. There’s no one that comes to this drop that can’t tell me that their lives haven’t been made better by education. I’m not just talking about regular classroom education either. Trade schools and internships engender skillsets that benefit the participant for life. That’s what we should be focused on too. Life. Who are the people inside of Hip-Hop that speak to you of empowering your mind and your body? I’m not saying that we as people and practitioners of Hip-Hop culture can’t enjoy ourselves and party sometimes, but what artists make you want to expand you vocabulary? What artists make you want to open a travel guide or a motherfuckin’ dictionary? That’s who you should fucks with. Although I will never place Tupac on a pedestal for his rhyming ability I can respect him as a man that tried to push himself to a place farther than society expected him to go.
Tupac was a big dreamer with a monster work ethic. Work = Love.
Hip-Hop needs more love.