Tupac Amaru Shakur
Much has been written about the late Tupac Amaru Shakur since his death in 1996. Reviewing the literature, it comes as no surprise to find that few take the middle line on Tupac - he, or at least what his music portrayed - was either loved and revered or hated and trivialized. This polarization of attitudes towards Tupac and his art only accentuates the legacy of a controversial, charismatic, and highly talented individual. In the light of such controversy, one should examine for themselves in a research paper the following:
- The music, lyrics, and life of Tupac Amaru Shakur
- How and why his posthumous popularity and image has spread and grown - particularly among urban African American youths.
- Answer the question: Is he a model or a menace?
Tupac was Authentic
So far as street thug life is concerned - Tupac was authentic. Unlike many copycat rappers, Tupac lived the thug life that his music portrayed. On November 19th, 2002, seven full years following Tupac's death, USA Today ran a grossly one-sided article portraying Tupac as a criminal whose message should be loathed. The article highlights Tupac's real thug life by pointing out the rapper's criminal rap sheet. Tupac, had a rap sheet that included " forced-sodomy charges in an incident involving another female fan participating in a fight that resulted in the death of a 6-year-old boy".In fact, there are some who go so far as to feel that "reflects the degrading and ultimately racist notion that criminal violence represents an essential and authentic element of African-American identity". On the other hand, Tupac the poet has received much scholarly and positive fanfare lately.
Among the universities that have recently offered courses in Tupac's life and work is Berkeley University. When Tupac died on September 30th 1996, he left an unpublished collection of poetry. His book, entitled The Rose That Grew From Concrete, represents poetry that he wrote in the pre-stardom years of 1989 to 1991. Columnist C.D. Frazier wrote an article graciously heralding the publication of Tupac's poetry book. In it he stated that Tupac's poems " show another side of Tupac; before he gained fame as a rapper". In The Rose That Grew From Concrete, are compositions that " parallel much of the subject matter discussed in his music". The titles of many of the poems reflect a distinct note of sorrow in the likes of Sometimes I Cry, and Tears of a Teenage Mother, which are " reminiscent of the [rap] hits So Many Tears and Brenda's Got a Baby". Some of Tupac's poetry was prophetic in foreseeing his own untimely death.
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