Tupac Shakur Ten Years Later

It’s been ten years since the death of hip hop’s most beloved artist. In some aspects it feels like twenty years, while in others it seems like only yesterday the world lost one of the most artistically gifted human beings this world has ever known.

In many respects it’s as if Tupac Shakur never passed away. All one has to do is listen to a current hip hop chart topper to realize the immense impact Tupac had on the entire genre. Some attribute Eminem’s knack for dealing with life’s darker side to Tupac. Yet when you examine this topic you will see that comparison only scratches the surface of the man that was Tupac.

It’s not just that Tupac was comfortable talking about the evil that men do. It’s the manner in which he confronted the issue, head on, 100%. There was no dancing around touchy issues; Tupac had a way of attacking problems which can be mostly attributed to his mother’s teachings. His mother, Afeni, a well-known member of the Black Panther Party taught Tupac to confront problems head-on, rather than run from them.

No artist in hip-hop has been haunted by their impending death more than Tupac. Songs such as “How Long Will They Mourn Me?” “Death Around The Corner,” and “So Much Pain,” only begin to illustrate the aura of death surrounding Shakur. Like all other issues in the man’s life, rather than hide from the pain Shakur attacked it by baring his soul to the world.

He has been called a misogynist, a rapist, and even a criminal, but no one called Tupac dishonest. Many disagreed with his opinions, and even more disagreed with his actions, but throughout his life Tupac refused to compromise himself to please others. The man had little patience for people that criticized his work. This can be seen in his dealings with C. Delores Tucker, Bob Doyle, and even Dan Quayle, who criticized Tupac’s use of misogynistic and violent lyrics. Tupac even went as for as to confront Tucker on the album All Eyez On Me, during the song “Wonder Why They Call You B**ch?” In which Tupac explains to Mrs. Tucker why he used specific words for specific types of women.

Many have said Tupac was at many times two different people. One minute he would do an uplifting song such as “Keep Your Head Up,” and the next he could do a song like “I Get Around.” Some feel his ability to deliver opposing messages in succession was detrimental to Shakur’s legacy. In other’s estimation Tupac’s opposing messages further illustrate the complexities of his tortured soul.

One can choose to consider Tupac and angel or a demon, but one would find it nearly impossible to deny Tupac’s importance. Tupac’s All Eyez on Me is one of the top-selling Hip Hop albums of all time. The album still shows steady sales, ten years later. Add this to the fact albums of previously unreleased Tupac material have sporadically been released over the last ten years and it is apparent Shakur has as much popularity in death as he had in life.

The themes of violence, sex, and drugs and their impact on society, prevalent in Tupac’s music, are themes that remain as relevant today as they were when Tupac died in 1996. Many conspiracy theories exist claiming that Tupac is still alive. Many find it hard to believe a man millions looked up to could be taken from them at such a young age (25 years old). Yet as long as there is pain and suffering in America, Tupac’s words will live on forever.

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