"Stay Far From Timid, Only Make Moves When Your Hearts In It, and Live The Phrase: Sky's The Limit..."
© Christopher "Notorious BIG" Wallace R.I.P

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thug Immortal...

Every now and then in this hip-hop thing, we are graced with a special artist that performs at abilities we have yet to fathom.  An artist that single handily raises the bar to new heights.  When that figure leaves us however, their presence remains not in the physical but in the mental form;  thus leaving an everlasting void in the art form that's made them famous.

Today we celebrate the life and legacy of hip-hop's Thug Angel, Tupac Amaru Shakur...

"Now B.I.G. we missing you, 'Pac we missing you, even if you're gone there's a lot of little yous..." (c) Jay-Z

Hunger, wisdom, and passion were just a few of the many qualities displayed by Afeni Shakur’s baby boy.  Born on June 16th, 1971 in East Harlem, Tupac Amaru Shakur grew to be one of the most influential figures of our time and to many, the Greatest Rapper of All Time. 
Unlike many hip-hop acts that glorify and fall victim to its cliche (money, drugs, hoes), ‘Pac was a rebel discussing many relevant issues faced by the young black male and American society; issues that have thus remained unchanged. I'm still down for the young Black male. I'm gonna stay until things get better. So it's all about addressing the problems that we face in everyday society” (KMEL Beat Report, '91).  Lyrics recognizing the fallacies of the political system, violence, teenage pregnancy, child/drug abuse, poverty, and broken families were almost always evident in his music.  

"We all soldiers, unfortunately. Everybody's at war with different things. With ourselves. Some are at war with the establishment. Some of us are at war with our own communities" ("All Eyez on Him" VIBE, FEBRUARY '96)

When a 'Pac song is being played,  it is almost the equivalent to hearing a leader or activist speaking to his people.  His words were so emotionally driven that you could literally feel the pain from his voice being brewed through the speakers.  'Pac's tenacity was what craved him as a hero for many people struggling and suffering.  He was the voice of the have-nots and a modern day Robin Hood with a gift of gab.  His words were so powerful that it often times even foreshadowed events in his life.  

"Cause I always got to worry 'bout the pay backs.
Some buck that I roughed up way back... comin' back after all these years.
Rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat. That's the way it is...
" ("Changes" '98)

"Why you sweatin me? 
Its a lot of real gs doin time
Cuz a groupy bit the trooper told a lie..."  ("I Get Around" '93)

"Bury me smilin' with G's in my pocket
have a party at my funeral, let every rapper rock it...
" ("Life Goes On" '96)

Although 'Pac was such an iconic and successful rapper, it would be a shame to limit his legacy to just that. He was a poet, an activist, an actor, a street prophet, a thug angel.  To get a more vivid picture of what kind of artist he was you would have to blend Malcolm’s sternness, the unabashed Public Enemy’s musical motive, and NWA’s ruthlessness.  ‘Pac was the embodiment of the struggle much like his counterparts in the early ‘90s (Public Enemy, NWA).  "I think hip hop should be about more money, crazier sounds, different beats MORE MONEY. Cause wit more money we could do something for the communities that these hip hop artists are coming out of..." (Angie Martinez Interview, Hot 97 Spring '96).  He was an activist, a humanitarian looking to reinvest in the struggling communities, a thug prophet that was always down for the cause.  

"Inside my mind couldn't find a place to rest/ until I got that Thug Life tatted on my chest..."

When he started the THUG LIFE movement in late '93, many who didn't understand claimed it to be another street gang or violent movement. In fact it was an acronym for 'Pac's philosophy of social uplifting.  The Hate You Gave Little Infants Fucks Everybody, "meaning, what you feed us as seeds, grows, and blows up in your face, thats Thug Life."  Evidently, the title went on to become the name of 'Pac's hip-hop group which consisted of several of his friends and family.

One characteristic that well defined 'Pac was his ability to ALWAYS speak his mind regardless of whom or what is being discussed.  His name was almost everywhere in the media, whether it was a news reported video of him spitting at news cameras or sitting down for an interview discussing the difference between a bitch and a woman with Angie Martinez (1996).  He was devoted to his right of expressing his thoughts and emotions, making sure his voice was always heard.  

Throughout his career span, 'Pac was able to become the only hip-hop artist to sell over 75 million albums worldwide, a Guinness World Record and was a promising actor starring in films such as the iconic Juice to Above the Rim, Bullet, Gridlock'd, and Gang Related.  

Although his untimely death, his music and legacy continues to live on and will never be forgotten.  His void along with several fallen hip-hop heroes continues to be felt and will ultimately remain so.  An artist like 'Pac can't even be imagined because he was just one of one.  In fact, if you turn on to any hip-hop music video there are sure to be a lot of imitators.  Whether it's rapping shirtless baring their tattoos or talking about being a thug, 'Pac did that and its just an example of how much of an importance he's been to society and the music world.  

With that said, for every person that's always been a fan or those that discover his music for the first time, Tupac Amaru Shakur will always live on.  

Happy Birthday,

One Love

Not too many people know this video...

R.I.P Tupac Amaru Shakur

(June 16th, 1971 - September 13, 1996)

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