The Rose that Grew from Concrete
"Tupac Shakur could possibly be the most influential and compelling of all rappers" (Dyson 106) Do we really know who Tupac was? The famous phrase, "never judge a book by its cover" applies to Tupac's own personality and character. A first look at Tupac and you see darkness, you see a violent man with no purpose or direction in his life. Then you look deeper inside him, you step into his shoes and see a kind, caring, but very confused man.
Tupac's life story is like any other typical "thug" lifestyle. Yet, he had accomplished what no other rapper had accomplished before, realism. "You know, I have read this report, and this young man seems to me to be absolutely remarkable" stated by a judge in one of Tupac's hearings. (Dyson 248) He told us the reality of life and how he handles it. Not by violence, but by an always peaceful state of mind. Because Tupac showed to us his two different personalities as a person he has helped our youth and society to relate to his life and change our life.
What we only see in Tupac is the violent life he lived and how he is the root of corruption among our youth. "They say Tupac [hip-hop] teaches our youth to be gangsters and has no positive message, but they forget the U.S. climate is negative." (Anonymous poem author) Judging someone by their outside character can never determine what they are feeling on the inside. In other words, Tupac was the true example of society today. We see the negative clearly, but how much do we know about the positive?
Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur, contributed to Tupac's other positive side. "He even wrote a song called "Dear Mama" addressed to his mother expressing his love for her and thanking her for always trying her best to raise him, even though she made some mistakes." ("Lexus" www.4freeessays.com) Just like his mother, Tupac made many mistakes in his lifetime and learned from them. Yet, by the time he learned from them it was too late to change his "thug life" ("Lexus" www.4freeessays.com) ways.
Tupac's fans saw two sides to Tupac, the negative and the positive. "His identity crisis manifested itself in his music, which developed an almost psychotic split personality: liberal minded thoughtfulness one moment, raging misogynistic hostility the next" (Browne 58) These two sides is what inspired fans to love Tupac Shakur so much. The people who listened to Tupac's lyrics were affected by his reality of life and realized that Tupac was a mirror image of themselves.
Tupac's lifestyle was definitely not like the great Martin Luther King Jr. or the kind Pope John Paul II. He was convicted of several serious criminal charges (though he claims it was a set up) including rape, weapon possession, and deliberately hitting a fan just because she kindly asked him for an autograph. Those were just a few, neither the media nor do I know about the other "minor" criminal charges against him before his rap career. How many times though do we make mistakes? Should we be judged by the influence we get from the lives we are forced to live in, like Tupac was? To get the money and attention the media will make a big deal out of the negative side of any artist so it is easy to mistaken an artist for whom they really are ("Lexus" www.4freeessays.com) This is exactly why so many of Tupac's fans supported him in whatever he did because they knew (if they ever experienced pain in their life) how hard it is to live a good life when you live in such a negative one.
Take a look on the other side of the mirror and look into Tupac's heart. What do you see? Some will see "just another rapper trying to be hardcore" (Light 88). I see a young man struggling with his life and desperately trying to change. Tupac hid most of his "other side" in himself; even in interviews he wouldn't admit that he wasn't so "gangsta" after all. Various situations proved this, "One time we were driving around L.A. in his new Rolls...
Bibliography: Datcher, Michael. Tough Love: The Life and Death of Tupac Shakur. Black Words Inc., 1996 December
Dyson, Michael Eric. Holler if you Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur. BasicCivitas Books., 2001 August
Light, Alan. Tupac Shakur. New York: Three Rivers Press, a division of Crown Publishing Inc. 1997, 1998
White, Armond. Rebel for the Hell of It. New York: Thunder 's Mouth Press, 1997
(website creator unknown) www.home.pi.be/~koenleen/English/influence.htm
Jackson, Derrick. The Boston Globe. 22 August 1993
McFarson, Ginny. Entertainment Weekly. 21 August 1996
Browne, David. Entertainment Weekly. 22 November 1996
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