Topics: Tupac Shakur, Death Row Records, Hip hop music Pages: 10 (2813 words) Published: April 16, 2014
He grew from concrete:
The life and death and work of Tupac Shakur.

“Screaming Thug Life ‘till I die” (“Life Goes On”). These words have a powerful meaning that most people ignore. Tupac Shakur coined this phrase. Although most people think that this phrase glorifies the “thug” mentality of gang violence, murder, robbery, and being a menace to society. In better perspective, most people thought this phrase was glorifying the negative stereotypes of black men. From the outside looking in most people thought that Tupac was just another embodiment of negative stereotypes of the black male, but they were wrong. Tupac Shakur was a philanthropist, poet, activist, prophet to some, and a martyr. His phrase “Thug Life” was the battle cry for the underdog. It was the glimmer of hope and guiding light for people who had lost hope for their future. Tupac Shakur was something like a black Jesus for the African- American community. Shakur was not what he seemed and even in death he is a mystery. He left a legacy within his music, poetry, and lifestyle that we can still view today. Tupac Amaru Shakur was born in Harlem, New York on June 16, 1971 and was assassinated September 13, 1996. According to the coroner’s report He was originally born Lesane Parish Crooks (Scott). Tupac Shakur came from a long line of political and civil activists. Both of Shakur’s parents were members of the Black Panther party, who worked and fought during the Civil rights movement. His aunt was the infamous Assata Shakur who was accused of slaughtering thirty-seven police officers and escaping prison. From an early age, Tupac was exposed to revolutionary thoughts and taught to stand up and speak out for what he believed in. Tupac’s Mother Afeni knew her was son was going to lead a great movement. Tupac Shakur was named after a famous Incan martyr by the name of Tupac Amaru. Tupac Amaru was slain for leading a revolt against the Spanish trying to save his people (“Tupac Amaru”). Contrary to popular believe Tupac Shakur never really live the life of a thug. Tupac took ballet and studied theatre at the Baltimore school of Arts.

Tupac Shakur began his career in 1988 as a background dancer. But in 1991 he began his career in hip- hop and his rise to fame. Tupac began to become consumed in this rap lifestyle in 1992 he began to become involved in crime. Tupac also began to star in movies like Juice, Poetic Justice, and Above the Rim. While his rap and acting career soared to the top, the east coast –west coast feud began to erupt and he was smack dab in the middle battling his former friend the rapper Notorious B.I.G. The East Coast- West Coast rivalry started as a rivalry between the east coast record label Bad Boy and the West Coast label Death row Records. Most of fights were at night clubs and there were a lot of public arguments. Tupac received a lot of death threats because of this rivalry and his music began to reflect that. Many of Tupac’s song made death an under-toned theme. For instance at the end of the third verse his song “Changes” he uses onomatopoeia of a gun going off as a foreshadowing of his looming death and how he has accepted his fate. In the hip-hop industry Tupac was portrayed as a reckless thug who from time to time spoke out against the oppression of the black community. Tupac believed in equality. He had revolutionary ideas to help heal the people. He hated poverty. In a 1992 interview he explains how selfish the world is. He did not understand how the rich were rich and had excess in everything, but there were people who were homeless and starving. He felt that the people who made it out of poverty or even people who had never experienced poverty should give back to the community. He felt that if everyone would only get what they need that poverty would not exist (“Inspirational Tupac Interview”). He believed that people should be able to step outside of the “isms” in America (by “isms” racism and sexism etc.) and help out...

Cited: "Biggie on 2pac 's Death." N.p., 23 Jan 2011. web. 6 Dec 2013. .
"Inspirational Tupac Interview." N.p., 17 Apr 2012. web. 6 Dec 2013. .
"Tupac Amaru." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2013): 1. Literary Reference Center. Web. 6 Dec. 2013.
“Changes” . Tupac Shakur, Interscope Records, 1992.
“I Ain’t Mad at Cha” .Tupac Shakur, Deathrow Records 1995.
“Keep Ya Head Up”. Tupac Shakur. Interscope Records 1993.
“Life Goes On”. Tupac Shakur. Interscope Records 1996.
Rhonda Wells-Wilbon, Nigel D. Jackson and Jerome H. Schiele. Lessons From the Maafa: Rethinking the Legacy of Slain Hip-Hop Icon Tupac Amaru Shakur Journal of Black Studies , Vol. 40, No. 4 (MARCH 2010), pp. 509-526
Scott, Cathy. The Killing of Tupac Shakur. Las Vegas: Huntington Press, 2002.
Shakur, Tupac. The Rose that Grew from Concrete. New York: Pocket Books, 1999. Print.
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