Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Pac's Passing.....Ten Years Later
On September 13, 1996 Tupac Shakur died from gunshot wounds he had suffered days before in Las Vegas. I am finally ready to admit that he is dead now and not in Cuba. I never wanted to admit he actually got killed. The reason is that I couldn’t understand why a person with so much potential and talent could act so careless with his life. He was too smart for that. Imagine all the cool things he could have done in the last ten years. For my generation, the man is a legend. He is the poster child for not giving a damn about the system and keeping it real at all times. Did he really keep it real? Or, did he conform to the same ignorant ideas that have young brothers scattered in blood all over the streets of America? It’s amazing how ten years can change your perspective on life. At 22 years old Tupac helped validate my frustration. Now at 32 I have a different outlook on it. There is nothing more depressing than a thug that knows he doesn’t have to be but still does it.
I had a friend that reminded me of Tupac named Renaldo. He was murdered in 1993. While I don’t know exactly why he got killed, I do know that whatever the conflict was he went out like the fake soldier he thought he had to be. I’m not trying to put down my boy at all. If something ever happened when I was in high school he would jump in front a bullet for me. He was a brave kid just like Pac was. The fake part comes in because even though he knew he could have been a Rhodes Scholar if he applied himself, he chose to live the street life. That’s the same thing Pac did.
If you listen to songs today, you hear allot of blind ignorance and glorification of the most self destructive behavior. Most of these cats act like there is nothing better in the world than being stupid. I always figured the lyrics to these type of songs played to two crowds, the suburban kids that are fascinated with the part of town they are not allowed to go and the lost souls in the ghetto that don’t know any better and think this is the blueprint for life. That’s why Tupac the artist and the man have been presented the wrong way. If you go back and listen to all of his music from the beginning you will hear serious social commentary. Even when he got with Death Row and wanted to kill everybody he knew there was a better way. Tupac knew exactly why kids were led to act the way they do. He even knew what could turn that around. He rapped about it and talked about it. He just didn’t choose to live it. That makes his life kind of tragic. The black community should take Tupac and make him the poster child for what happens when a brother knows the way around the trap and still steps into it. It’s been ten years and all the things he said in song back then still make sense now. Sooner or later we as black men have to start telling ourselves that keeping it real and being a soldier is getting us nowhere but right next to Pac, Biggie, Renell and all the rest of the potential great men that died too soon.