No Country For Old Men

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.

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  • hippaToDaHoppa

    You’re exactly right. Pac, BIG etc are like the James Dean’s of Hip-Hop. There deaths immortalized them. They never had a chance to fall off or sell-out. For all we know if they were alive today they could be trying to hang on to their last thread of relevance by jumping on a track with Soulja Boy or something. That’s why it always bothers me when people say “Man, If Pac was still alive… If Biggie was still alive…” because you have no idea what their futures would’ve held.

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    I totally agree – look at Cobain, Hendrix, Joplin, James Dean, even John Belushi. What’s the difference between Lennon & McCartney? Paul’s still here.

    2Pac’s death ensured that he could never tarnish his legacy (even if Swizz Beatz tried to). If Michael Jordan died in 1999, no one would complain about his stint with the Wizards (which wasn’t AS BAD as people claim, by the way).

    It’s all in how they remember you.

    Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse…

    • nicholasdelorejo

      Pierzy, I see what your saying but I don’t think Pac’s legacy would’ve been affected too much had he remained alive. It just would’ve disrupted his god-like status that so many knuckle heads have about him. James Brown, Rick James, and Micheal Jackson and others have all lived past their prime yet their cataloges were so impressive that no body can match their cataloges. They are forever cemented in music history. Shit Usher wants to be the new “King of Pop” yet he will never reach that status even if he had died after making “Confessions”. Why because his entire discography could never be considered influential or groundbreaking in such a scale as Micheal Jackson’s.

      If Pac were alive today he would still have his legacy but folks would revere him as a icon just like they view LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, Chuck D, and others. And in my opinion being an icon in rap is much better than being worshipped as a god. So many people claim to be inspired by Pac yet they never show this influence in their music. At least the people who appreciate the legacy of icons don’t bullshit in knowing that artist’s catalog.

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  • OK

    For the first time, I agree with you.

  • The Bawse

    co-sign all of this

  • kno1youlove

    There’s no such thing as “ifs”. He was what he was and he is what he is: an icon.

  • hippaToDaHoppa

    @Kno1youlove, Yeah but the point is, he is only an icon because he died young, on top of his game.

  • Nickolas Reid

    I beg to differ… lol.

  • Devi Gargon

    I dont know what the age demographic is of the people above me, but, I’ve been around long enought to watch people kill it, and then be age, transition, or just fall from public eye! The kanyes, jeezes, weezeys and ti’s and ludacris’ are about to turn that corner in this decade! In the joe clair interview, b.i.g. was about to pack up his rap chips to start building artists, so that there says he did not plan to do this long. So who is to say what he may have done. Pac, I hate to say, was chasing death. So if he made it to 39, you really think his prospective of life wouldnt have changed, cause he lived that long????

    He’d probably be doing way more movies than music by now.

    Anyway, I remember cats from the 80′s that would have the biggest 3 years ever, then it was like the fuck happened to so and so, HE WAS THE SHIT! YALL NEVER KNOW WHAT SOMEONE WILL BE!

    • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

      ^^^^

      so true

      Biggie & Un were starting Undeas, that would have had the LOX, Charli Baltimore, Black Rob, & Jr Mafia.

      Pac was going Hollywood, impregnating Quincy Jones’ daughter and going conspiracy theory.

  • verbal kint

    I think what a lot of people fail to realize if pac, biggie, pun etc…was still alive who’s to say that the state of hip hop would be in it’s current form. when those cats passed that created a huge void which in turn enabled diddy to slide in the shiney suits, & jigga to get bigger & usher in platinum flashy nigga rhymes which in turn allowed cash money to take “bling” to whole new plateau! & so on and so forth! I sat back and watched the whole thing snow ball to where it is now!

  • Crackee

    NaS……
    Untitled and Distant Relatives FTW

    Pharoahe Monch……

    Black Thought……

    Talib Kweli……..

    we still got artists puttin out good music

  • Anonymous

    nah, u forget pac was real in the same sense that lauryn hill is real. i think its more likely he wouldve been on some philanthropical shit, or he wouldve retreated from fame and started a family.

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  • Yonnie 3000

    Pac was a revolutionary thinker that got caught up in the life – fame, glitz, living up to his thug image. But he died when he was 25. When Malcolm X was 25 he was a criminal by the name of Detroit Red. When MLK was 25, he was an unknown preacher. I definitely think that Pac would have acted more and I think that he would definitely be doing something to better the community. Not saying he’d be on some ole Al Sharpton ish, but he would definitely be doing something to try to keep young black men out of jail, etc. Much like my niece and nephew think that Ice Cube is the dude from the Are We There Yet Movies, I think kids today would definitely know Pac (and respect him) for being something other than a rapper.

  • caino

    When Pac died was he not getting released by Death Row as he had completed all the 3 albums in his contract? was he not opening a record label with alanis Morisette( l mean why??_. l think he moved of for go rap to do more movies!! l mean Grindlocked was the shit !!

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  • Andrew

    Meka, I have to disagree. You compare emcees to sports athletes yet you overlook the two glaring differences in each field: Mentality and Physicality. Of course you need both to succeed in either field, but the balance differs between each. An athlete, who depends primarily on his body’s physicality, inevitably passes his prime (in bodily health) and at once will reap all he can from his ripe age – and after that, he’s done – no questions – period, end of story. The athlete is aware of this, too, but it doesn’t scare em off from those seven-figure paychecks.

    Emcees, on the other hand, are aware of their need to be mentally fit, but have no shelf date – and so long as the emcee can remain ‘classic,’ or ‘timeless,’ then “age don’t count in the booth/ when your flow stay submerged in the fountain of youth!”

    Another factor that’s often spoken of in my circle is the fact that emcees haven’t been around long enough to pass away by way of anything other than a bullet. Death of natural causes and old age is something hip hop knows nothing of (yet).

    Beyond this, you speak of subject matter and how Pac wouldn’t have been talking about how he doesn’t given a fuck had he reached 39. The truth is that Pac could have been topping Top 40′s at 40 with ease. Many of the household names hip-hop is giving us are only a hop, skip and a jump away from your dreaded 35-year mark. Do you think the stars of Kanye, Luda and the like will fade following their next albums? And what do you have to say about people like Dre, Method and Red, or Snoop (each having featured on All Eyez On Me) who are still not only active but relevant today?

    Pac may not have been the same person, he may not have rapped the same raps, but he still would have been doing OK, no doubt. Still, the one thing I can agree with you on is that dying before your time will only cement a legend who is at their peak when passing. Time has told us this much is true.

  • these posts are racist

    You’re way off, and clearly have no real understanding of Tupac. Not only would he have been huge in Hollywood, he would have been a social activist on a level unseen. He would have probably gotten into politics, and been that force that we’ve all dreamed about: a real cat from the ‘Hood getting involved in politics on a grand scale. Senator Shakur? The new black leadership? A new Malcolm? Think deeper man. His impact, his age. You can’t compare him to any rapper and use that prospective logic.

  • El Tico Loco

    Tupac would’ve been a deeper version of what Ice Cube has become a good gangster/conscious rapper with a decent acting career.

  • swype-matic

    I can agree with this article to a certain extent. I just really don’t people today realize that there are quite a few current relevant artists today that are either pushing 30, or are already well into their 30s: Rick Ross, T.I., 50 Cnet, Eminem, Kanye West, Young Jeezy, Ludacris, Plies…etc. What I’m really concerned about are the next wave of rappers you start nearing that range. Anybody notice that Lloyd Banks and Juelz Santana are 28?? It seems just like yesterday Juelz was on the “Hey Ma” song @ 20, and ‘Blue Hefner’ was ‘On Fire’ at 22. Man, just think when Drake, J. Cole, Kid Cudi, and Ace Hood get in that position…who the hell is gonna come behind THEM???

  • crooked

    Pac dying kept him from being like Snoop Dogg doing songs with Katy Perry… smdh

  • Brooklyn

    tupac would have become more immersed in hollywood had he lived, his surviving meaning that he stopped playing thug and got on his grown man shit. nevertheless, his music wouldn’t be the same and if he were alive today, some of the same niggas saying that he’s the best rapper ever would be criticizing him for not being the same nigga he was ca. 1995.

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  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    Its hard to say wat tupac would have been doing. I think dying was his thing to do. I mean thas the way he was living, he was living to die, making dumb decisions.

    What i dislike the most from tupac’s death is the way people just put him on an incredible pedestal because of his death. like who gets cool points for death? Not to hash on the past, but i remember those years, and so many people love him BUT so many people hated him just the same.

    I think Tupac was far from THUGGIN and wasn’t so real. If he was so real he would’ve gotten more out of his career. I think Pac got cuaght up in a role in real life that he couldn’t stop playing. I think pac would’ve done autotune. Hell, he use to dance so you know he’d have some hott dance song out.

    I’m just sayin, don’t front like Tupac is perfect and his career isn’t flawed. He had mad talent but was a lost brother.

    RIP

  • alock

    LOL@2pac on autotune, thats some crazy shit. U sir are a hater.

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