Maybe I was just a lost soul, trapped in time…
Livin in between life, and the cracks were blind
I discovered 2pac around 9 years old. Hearing ‘dear mama’ on the radio and seeing a music video that did not at all feature the man himself. I heard somewhere that he was in jail but I was too young to care or realize why. Over the next couple years before he died, several of his songs were radio hits. But like most folks of my generation I didn’t key in on him until he was resurrected from the dead through 1998’s Greatest Hits and Changes.
Going against the grain, I did hear all the tracks on Greatest Hits, but devoted most of my energies to learning his other albums. I was really moved by his ‘me against the world’ and ‘i will never understand this society’ attitude; it resonated with my figuring out who i was in my religion, family and community.
Words like ‘out on bail- fresh outta jail- california dreamin’ gave him the crown of the hip hop world, but I was stuck on lines like: 'what is it we all fear- reflections in the mirror- we can’t escape fate- the end is getting nearer’
It was peculiar how all his contradictions were on display. He surrounded himself with money, weed, women, and cars. Yet at the same time he rapped about an uneasiness with it all- and that intrigued me. For someone who’s life was cut at 25, I was taught well enough to expect very little intellectual contributions from someone so young. 2pac himself remarked his role as only being a spark for individuals who would change the world. Yet humans are not so simple to be summed up in one sentence.
Driven by my ambitions, desire higher positions, I proceed to make g’s
Eternally my mission, is to be more than just a rap musician
The elevation of today’s generation, if I could make them listen
It was in his charisma, his gift for dramatization and very real vulnerability that drew people to him. There was more to him than his music and his gang banging persona, he played the role of big brother, son, and self appointed savior of hip hop. The same man who wrote odes to his mother and his sister also penned the words envisioning the death of his east coast ‘rivals’. It was his inability to maintain so many masks that led to his tragic death.
I will always have him in my mind as the one who knew how fleeting this world was, one who was driven by his passions but could rarely reign it all in. He was a source for raw energy, but did not always use it in the best manner.
My attitude got me walkin solo, ride out alone in my lo-lo
Watchin the whole world move in slow-mo
For quiet times, disappear, listen to the ocean
smoke my ports, think my thoughts, then its back to coastin
I feel alot of people, myself no doubt included, get caught in the affairs of life. Among them are people aware of the fading world and striving to come to terms with the truth and whatever is after death. It scares me still that the ones who strive between the distractions of the world and the ever lasting truth are in danger of getting lost so easily- That I will meet my end, before I’ve truly come to terms with my creator.
I remember the day he died, it was on the back of a NY newspaper that my uncle brought over; I read the article and was so sad. How could the guy who wrote that song about his moms, get shot in the lungs and go out like that? I felt pity for him then, and even more so now as I’m approaching his age.
I will not tell you to go and listen to his music; in fact I would recommend against it. Getting to know his life and getting distracted in the world of hiphop are two separate matters. Take note however, that a generation ago, Tupac Shakur captivated millions- those who knew him while alive and many more now who knew him in death. Perhaps some of us will recognize 2pac as another sign for all that is strange with this world.
I will ask that you remember him in your prayers, because he was loved by so many. May God have mercy on him!
Meet me at the cemetery dressed in black
Tonight we honor the dead, those who won't be back
So if I die do the same for me, shed no tears