A Tupac Shakur Tribute (R.I.P.)

I've been hesitant to get to Pac, not because I don't respect him as the legend that he is, but because I'm afraid that nothing that I write is capable of giving credence to the life of Tupac Shakur.  I didn't grow up listening to Pac.  In fact, when he died thirteen years ago today, hip hop was but a blip on my radar (growing up in North Seattle, my father was more apt to play Nirvana's Unplugged or Presidents of the United States, both amazing albums in their own right, than Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z or All Eyez On Me.  What I know of Shakur, I know posthumously, both through artists who idolized the man and listeners who were moved by his music.

Tupac Shakur was a very controversial figure.  Never one to back down from beef ("Hit 'Em Up"), his well publicized feud with The Notorious B.I.G. may have perhaps contributed his own death (to this day, both Pac's and Biggie's tragic murders have not been solved).  But Pac was also a unique and gifted figure in the world of hip hop.  Though many have gone through his struggle, no one before or since has had the same message and lyrical prowess to convey it.  For those that scan over hip hop, 2Pac may be viewed as simply another thug rapper who's life was ended by his own dangerous lifestyle, but Shakur was so much more than that.  Pac was a poet, a modern day Shakespeare, who conveyed the problems urban life in a way that no one else in the game has been able to do since.

"Keep Ya Head Up" is probably my favorite Pac song and is a message to the youth (particularly women in a hip hop culture that is stereotypically viewed as misogynistic), that you must hold onto hope, even if that's the last thing you have left.  "Changes" and "Dear Mama" are equally beautiful and let you see who the man was beyond "California Love" and "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted."  "Changes" laments the life of those in the ghetto, while "Dear Mama" is a beautiful apology to his mother.  I've also included the posthumous "Thugz Mansion (N.Y.)" off of Nas' God's Son because it is one of the beautiful songs made after his death and one of the few with an artist he would have worked with if still alive.  R.I.P. Tupac Shakur.  The world wasn't good enough for you and we miss you.

Peace, Love, & Pac,

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