Sunday, 16 June 2013

"I'm not saying I'm gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world"- Tupac

Continuing my education into Tupac and concious rap, my younger sister's boyfriend recommended I watch the following documentaries and interviews:-

2pac- Thug Angel- Life of an Outlaw
and this interview, recorded shortly before his death

I'm finding it really insightful, Tupac was such a contradiction. On one hand he was this sensitive poet who believed passionately in education and empowering his community, but he had this whole other side that was violent, obsessed with guns and hustle.

 I totality respect how he gave a voice to people who were/are talked over or forgotten, but I'm also troubled by some of what he says. In the first documentary he talks about 'hustle' and the 'game' and how it is the reality for black people in America, which it is, but only to some extent, not all African-American's sell dope on street corners.

The prominent depiction of  young black men in the media (see HBO's very popular series The Wire), involves criminality, violence, and gang culture, and Tupac's comments seem to perpetuate this stereotype. At the same time, even though what he's saying in negative, I suppose it's positive that the hustlers and the gangsters are being represented, and the wider community gets an insight into what many people experience. See- these videos left me feeling very conflicted, I'm not sure I'm making sense!

I was unsure how much of Tupac comments about violence and his fixation with guns was part of a persona he adopted to sell records? He did however, have very real concerns about his personal safety, a fear that was proved to right, as he was murdered. Perhaps, all his talk about violence was defensive? He was beaten by police and in another instance shot two police officers in self defence.

Tupac was a very complex man. It is very interesting to see footage spanning from when he was 17 years old up to his death, these were obviously his formative years and there is clear change in his whole demaenor. What he experienced personally, and what he witnessed around him, obviously greatly affected his mindset and inspired his creativity.

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