Why 2pac is Bigger Than Rap


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Jelani Dupon, Writer

Tupac Amaru Shakur was born on June 16, 1971, in East Harlem, New York. Tupac was born into a black activist family: his mother and step-father were members of the Black Panther Party, a group that fought for black rights. Tupac was always surrounded by music, an important part of African-American culture. He moved to California when he was 19 years old to work with the rap group Digital Underground, he eventually got a record deal and his music career was started. Although he was only 25 years when he was assassinated, his impact on the world was engraved through his message.

On Tupac’s first album titled 2pacalypse Now, he had his first big hit called Brenda’s Got A Baby. He said that he wrote the single because of a news article he read about a young girl who got pregnant and left her child in the trash because she couldn’t take care of him. “No money no babysitter, she couldn’t keep a job. She tried to sell crack but end up getting robbed. So now what’s next, there ain’t nothing left to sell, so she sees sex as a way of leaving hell. It’s paying the rent so she really can’t complain, prostitute found slain, and Brenda’s her name, she’s got a baby” – Brenda’s got a baby. Tupac also had another track on the album called Trapped about how being a young black male in society has him feeling trapped, this was especially moving because of the rise in police brutality towards minorities in the ‘90s. “They got me trapped, can barely walk the city streets without a cop harassing me, searching me then asking my identity. Hands up, throw me up against the wall, didn’t do a thing at all, I’m telling you one day these suckers gotta fall” – Trapped.

Tupac’s second album has arguably the most popular song he ever made, whether you hear it on the radio or someone sings it, it’s well known and it’s for a reason. The track is called Keep Ya Head Up, it’s a song about how women in the world and especially in the area he comes from aren’t being treated with love and respect, he tells them to keep their head high and not let anyone put them down, it can relate to many women who’ve gone through this type of pain and anyone else who simply agrees. It is agreed as one of the most powerful rap songs of all time. “I give a holler to my sisters on welfare, Tupac cares, if don’t nobody else care. And uh, I know they like to beat you down a lot and when you come around the block brothas clown a lot, but please don’t cry, dry your eyes, never let up, forgive but don’t forget girl keep your head up. And when he tells you “you ain’t nothing” don’t believe him, and if he can’t learn to love you, you should leave him.” – Keep Ya Head Up

Tupac’s third studio album titled Me Against The World is filled with his deep thoughts that he has, and this caused many deeps songs. Named after the album, the track Me Against The World, Tupac talks about how most people feel about life in general and says that everything will be okay in the end. “With all this extra stressin, the question I wonder is after death, after my last breath, when will I finally get to rest through this suppression? They punish the people that’s asking question and those that possession, still from the ones without possessions, the message I stress…remember through every dark night is a brighter day, so no matter how hard it gets, stick your chest out, keep your head up, and handle it.” – Me Against The World. He talks about how society needs to let him and other people breathe, stop blaming everything on people who are trying to survive, and never stop your search for knowledge Tupac had another track on the album titled Dear Mama, growing up with a single mother, Tupac has unconditional love for her, he made this song to thank her that through all the things he’s done that might’ve hurt her, she always loved him. This song relates to many men and women who grew up without a father, you have extra love for your mother when she’s the one who takes complete care of you. “ When I was sick as a little kid, to keep me happy there’s no limit to the things you did, and all my childhood memories are full of all the sweet things you did to me. And even though I act crazy, I gotta thank the lord that you made me. There are no words that can express how I feel, you never kept a secret, always stayed real, and I appreciate how you raised me, and all the extra love that you gave me. – Dear Mama. Although his life was only 25 years long, his impact will last forever and his message will continue to be spread. Musicians today are still looking up to his art and his work ethic. From the time he started rapping and acting, he released five albums before his death and had four more than were unreleased; he also starred in nine movies. He spoke for the people of poor areas, and let them know that they still have a place in this world, and if you can work hard enough just like he did, you can get out of your situation. He will continue to be an inspiration and his name will always be relevant for all the right reasons, this is why Tupac Shakur was bigger than rap.