For those that didn’t catch it on the front end of this site, today would have been 2Pac’s 39th “borthday” (we’re still working on that spell-checking department here at these parts). And while most pundits will proclaim him as one of the most influential rapsters of all time, I believe part of why he’s been bestowed with that type of acclaim is because he was tragically shot to death while still in his prime back when I was in high school.
Damn. I felt kinda old just writing that last line.
Anyways, I’ll admit that ‘Pac had an immense pull which is still felt in asinine levels today, from rapsters and Twitterers alike running around shirtless in pictures (good grief) to that one impersonator that was at Hot 97’s Summer Jam a few weeks ago (but trying to flip “Makaveli” into a moniker for yourself is just embarrassing on your part). Musically, however, he transmogrified the trend of recording a shitload of songs in one day so that when you’ve either been dead or in jail for a long time you’ll still be “out there” somehow.
But looking back, it’s quite hard to say if, had he not been murdered in Las Vegas, 2Pac (or even Big Punisher, Big L or The Notorious B.I.G. for that matter) would be held in such a high regard today, as he would have been a hop, skip and a jump away from 40 today. Still deep into its everlasting young man’s phase, rap simply does not respect any rapper past the age of 35 because it won’t allow anybody to age at all; instead it will find a younger replacement, not unlike the games of football and basketball.
Plus, 2Pac’s song would have drastically changed as he got older, similar to Jay-Z rapping more about hanging out in St. Tropez with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie than moving weight with Sauce Money and Jaz-O (although, if there’s anything to take from that “Under Pressure” single, it’s that maybe it’s better to do so instead of rapping about Tiger Woods, #FakeDrake-style). I’m sure that if he hadn’t died his “don’t give a fuck,” rambunctious demeanor would have long calmed down by now, and he probably would be doing songs that are more “Keep Ya Head Up” than “Me & My Girlfriend.” While it would make great fodder for the Rock The Bells, nostalgia crowd, it wouldn’t work the same way for the younger generation.
In a sad sense, it was almost if Pac had to die in order to preserve his legacy. I just don’t see him being as impacting alive as he does deceased. But at least we got his millions of songs, impersonators, books, school classes, that museum in Atlanta, those ugly jeans found at your local Burlington Coat Factory, hood movies and other such paraphernalia to keep us remembering.