Members of the Black community dominate the current rap scene. In fact, memorable rap artists have produced songs that tell the stories of the different facets of their own social community. Some of these rap artists include Notorious B. I. G. Or Biggie, P. Diddy, Snoop Dogg and 2Pac. Rap music is unique to the African American community in the United States. It bears significance as it derives from the fact that it has fostered a profound sense of nationalism among the youth of the Black community. As suhc, hip-hop has become an important aspect of the African American culture.
The themes of rap songs are mostly based on the personal experiences of the artists or what they observe in their community. During the early years, it is used an instrument in expressing the grievances of the members of the Black community against the oppressing Whites. Thus, rap songs mostly revolve on struggles, resistance, exploitation and creativity of the African Americans. On the fifth anniversary of Tupac Shakur’s death, Michael Eric Dyson paid tribute to the one of the greatest loss in the field of black music. The book provides an analysis of the themes incorporated in the songs of one of the world’s renowned artist.
It exploits the biography, inception of Tupac in the rap scene and his influential songs and finally, his death. Tupac is perceived as one of the most memorable hip-hop artist because of the artistic value of his songs, the progressive content of the songs and its attempt to express and reflect what is really happening in the society, particularly the Black community. Tupac Amaru Shakur Tupac Shakur or popularly known as 2Pac was the son of two Black Panther members, an African American organization established to promote Black power against the Whites.
His parents were separated before he was born and his mother moved around the country with his sister. He grew up in poverty and was denied of various luxurious things. Tupac managed to get in the prestigious Baltimore School of the Arts during his teenage years. He unraveled his creative side when he was still at school and he began acting and writing rap lyrics (“Tupac”). He released his debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, when he was still in the group of Shock-G, the leader of Digital Underground. The album become a word-of-mouth hit and reached the R&B Top 30 and the record went gold.
However, many moral watchdogs criticized the blunt and explicit lyrics of the songs included in the album. The album was quickly followed by an acclaimed performance in the film, Juice of Ernest Dickerson. The following year, he also played the lead role to another movie, the John Singleton’s Poetic Juice. By the time that the film was shown, 2Pac released his second album entitled, Strictly 4 My N. I. G. G. A. Z. , which became a platinum album. He began to perform in other Hollywood films later on in his career (“Tupac”).
Although Tupac Shakur is enjoying high-selling records and gaining positive remarks for his music and acting, he experienced serious altercations with the law and was involved in various cases. While he was still in prison serving his sentence, he released his third album, Me Against the World which entered the music charts at number one, making him the first artist to enjoy a number one record while serving in prison (“Tupac”). However, in September 1996, his life was cut short by a senseless violence.
Up to the present, his murder remains unsolved (“Hip-Hop Icon or Bearer of a Legacy – Tupac Shakur? ”). Tupac was shot four times at the Las Vegas strip as he was riding the passenger seat of Suge Knight’s car, the president of Death Row Records. He was admitted in the University of Nevada Medical Center. Six days later, he died and the whole music industry mourned for the loss of one of the greatest rappers in history. Many believed that his death would finally end the East Coast/West Coast hip-hop rivalry and drastically reduce the black-on-black violence (“Tupac”).