|Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 01:03 am: |
I have as little tolerance for most "gangstas", real and pretend, as you do. But I think that concerning Tupac Shakur, many of us have allowed the media's myopic, venal, opportunistic depiction's and our own generational resentments to distort and sour the legacy of a very special Black man.
Perhaps what limited info you have about Tupac was "media created". But consider the following. Within the span of just 6 years, this "thug" managed to perform, write & produce over 10 albums. And an amazing six of them were released AFTER HE DIED. He also starred in 7 movies during that period.
Tupac's diversity of talents were really comparable to those of the late greats Sammy Davis Jr. or Gregory Hines. Dude could seamlessly move from rapping, to writing, to producing, to speaking & to acting. And Tupac left so many unpublished poems/songs that had he lived (& broken free of the infamous Suge Knight), the size/depth of his musical legacy might have approached that of Stevie Wonder or Quincy Jones (who was scheduled to become his father-law prior to Tupac's murder). Even the late grunge rocker Curt Corbain who was widely regarded as a musical genius did not leave a posthumous catalog as lengthy as 'Pac's. And unlike Corbain, Tupac also had the time/skill to make movies, most of which he performed remarkably well in.
And when you consider that while making movies/music, he was nearly shot to death and spent almost a year in prison for a rape conviction, you have to concede that he had to be been not only incredibly talented, but also a very determined, focused and hardworking young man as well.
And all of that from a poor Black son of a man he never met and a drug-addicted, revolutionary/fugative mother who very nearly gave birth to him in prison.
No, Cynique, Tupac was not just another wannabe "thug" rap star with "charisma". Tupac was the real deal!
I am not defending or apologizing for Tupac's apparent misbehavior. And he paid dearly for every mistake that he made. But in spite of his problems, Tupac had such an assortment of skills and accomplishments that they deserve to be fairly acknowledged.
I won't try to dissuade you about Tupac as it's clear that your views about him and hip/hop will likely remain profoundly different from my own. But if you are interested in receiving a fair/balance perspective about Shakur, I suggest that you pick up Dr. Michael Eric Dyson's book "Holla If You Hear Me". Because a close and fair examination of Tupac's life would reveal that he was a truly remarkable young Black man whose wings were sadly clipped just as he was beginning to learn to fly.