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Tupac Shakur was many things, rapper, actor, activist, but above all he was a leader. He was a man blessed with many skills, who went by many names… Pac, 2Pac, even Makaveli. Although many have misconstrued and misrepresented who he was or what he truly was about, there is no doubt he left an indelible mark on the world we all live in. He was shot and killed in 1996 at the age of 25 years old. I was only 6 years old when he died, causing me to have a very different view of Tupac. That of one as not only a fan but I argue, an impartial researcher (if there is such a thing). I urge you; I invite you.. to go ahead and listen to some of his lesser known songs. In order to understand the complicated man Tupac Shakur became… all one must do is look at the lyrics.

“Why am I fighting to live,
If I am just living to fight
Why am I trying to see.
When there aint nothing in sight
Why am I trying to give,
When no one gives me a try
Why am I dying to live,
If I am just living to die?”

        – Runnin’ (Dying to Live)

Many will only remember Tupac for the songs “Changes” or “California Love,” as they are arguably his two most popular. When I scroll through someone’s iPod you rarely see my favorites, “Do For Love,”  “Dear Mama,” “Brenda’s Got a Baby,” and “Keep Ya Head Up.” These four songs illuminate Tupac’s softer, more socially conscious side. He addresses a range of issues including poverty, racism, and the general hardship and pain the lower class endures in America. These topics are simply not touched on as much as they should these days. Even when artists attempt to, they rarely seem  to do it with the style and grace Tupac showcased.

“Do for Love” is up there as one my all time favorites. It has always had a special spot on my various playlists. Give it a play here…

“my heart is sayin’ leave,

oh what a tangled web we weave,

when we conspire to conceive”

(it amazes me that this song was released after he died!)

Tupac Shakur left many things for humanity to love and examine, but he should never be placed in a box. When we take someone’s else view of something as the final say, we short ourselves the journey and the experience. My take on Tupac may be different from your own. I can’t stress enough how influential this man was and will continue to be on the world around us. I’ll finish this post with one of my favorite quotes from the always candid, Tupac Amaru Shakur.

What’s your take on Tupac? Do you have a favorite song I failed to mention or post? A favorite quotation or lyric? Post them in the comment section accessible next to the title at the top of the post!

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