Tupac, Twenty Years Later

I woke up this morning and opened Twitter to check out what was trending. I remembered a few days ago that the 13th was coming up but with everything that’s been happening as of late it slipped my mind. So when I saw “Tupac Shakur” trending I remembered all over again. I was both happy and saddened all in the same breath. I was happy that his impact was still being felt inside of Hip-Hop and the country itself but saddened because I couldn’t believe that it’s been 20 years today since he was murdered.

I’ve never really understood why people got attached to celebrities. Historical figures maybe but I never got it with others. More specifically with actors, because in the end you’re drawn to the roles they play. I understand that some people would say that about musicians too but for me one of the things that spoke to me early on with Hip-Hop was that it was a window into their souls.

The rappers that always caught my interest most were the ones that rapped with emotion about the things that bothered them most. The embarrassing moments, the losses, the failures, and the deeper issues of that time period. Rappers like Eminem, Joe Budden, J.Cole, Kendrick, Voli, and Tupac all did that so their essence spoke to me deeply.

Tupac has been a HUGE part of my life, both as a teenager and as a young man as I stumbling through life unsure of myself. In some regards he was like an older brother to me. I related to him on so many levels that I followed him along the unsure footing which was my evolution into who I am today. He’s the reason I developed a love for the written word and delved into poetry while in high school. He’s the reason I cared about social issues. The reason I viewed life with a much deeper level and understanding.

As weird as it is to say, his life and work had as much of an impact on my life as any one outside of my parents. There wasn’t a topic that he too afraid to broach. There wasn’t an emotion that he wouldn’t delve into. I studied his pitch and patterns, the way he painted pictures and weaved stories together with such fluidity. He wasn’t the greatest lyricist in the traditional sense. Eminem and Biggie were better in some regards but you forced you to feel EVERY word he used.

He was imperfect yet ambitious. Troubled, yet poetic. He embodied everything I felt in my teens and twenties. Every heartbreak, every smile. Every moment of anguish and comeback. So as a child of his work, I hope that in some weird way I embody everything he would have been in the thirties that he never got to see.

Thank you and Rest In Piece.