Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
Beyond the shadows of any comparable doubt; Tupac Amaru Shakur is a legend.
He has transcended the human experience and ascended to immortality – perhaps even more so than Elvis, Bigfoot, & John F. Kennedy. In some instances, he may be more revered than Jesus. Well, maybe not Jesus, but at least as much as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, if not more so. The man’s polarizing abilities reached far beyond rap music. People worshipped Pac. Still do. And in that vein, it puzzles me why there aren’t more kids named Tupac.
With that said, recent accounts of his
family “estate” finally opening their gates to let the rest of the world into its heavily guarded compound is a bit absurd to me. Absurd because, after so many years, with an abundance of opportunities collectively shat on over a span of about 20 years, now they want to release “new” music and poetry? This smells fishy. And not the good kind of fishy, either. Like a Filet O’Fish. It’s the same smell when I see or hear that God-awful Michael Jackson Jeep commercial.
Pac has 11 platinum selling albums, 7 of which were released after his death. Maybe that was his decision since he’s apparently living in Cuba, but I doubt it. Sounds more like ghostpimping if you ask me.
Take the Jacksons, for example. MJ couldn’t even find the peace to rest in before his holographic corpse was moonwalking across our TV screens. Within the blink of an eye – sorta – he was hawking SUVs from the grave. Ghostpimping. The fact that Tupac released more albums from his urn than your favorite living 40-year-old rapper says more about Tupac’s handlers than it does about the dude who’s still alive and able spit raps. Ghostpimping.
Beyond shaming the seemingly obvious grab for cash – as a Tupac fan – I will say that I’m not interested in hearing Tupac rapping with 2 Chainz or Chance the Rapper or having some 25-year-old “enemies and Hennessey” verse fused with a trap rap beat. Tupac is dead. He’s unable to record new music. Shouldn’t we just enjoy his legacy instead of zombifying the poor guy, again?
I understand that folks have to eat, but really, though. Don’t bring me leftovers and expect me to grin while I chew. Especially if I’m not hungry.
This isn’t to say that he’s not worthy of infinite billing. From music to movies to interviews, Pac’s “entertainment” value will only increase over time. His face is forever etched into the patchwork of modern American culture, like Football and graffiti. But between 13 albums, a handful of movies, and hundreds of “remixes” and song guest appearances we’ve been blessed with, I’d venture to say that the towel has just about been wrung dry.
On top of that, the elusive “Tupac Movie” has bumped Dr. Dre’s make-believe Detox album from its throne atop Hip Hop urban legend. Ageless, colorless music fans across the galaxy have long grown impatient waiting for some biographical movie detailing half-assed eyewitness accounts about what they think they saw Tupac possibly doing at some point during his life. Fuck all that. If Notorious taught us anything, it’s that rap movies often taint the fond memories we stubbornly cherish so deeply. In fact, John Singleton has momentarily stepped away from Tupac’s movie. That’s a terrible omen, if you believe in those sort of things.
If it’s bottom-lined as just wanting to get Pac’s art out into the world, why not give it away? Why so top secret? I understand that folks have to eat, but really, though. Don’t bring me leftovers and expect me to grin while I chew. Especially if I’m not hungry. If Pac could speak I imagine he’d tell them to give it away, too.
So as the world prepares for the second or third coming of Tupac – via market campaigns, remixed or archaic songs, and God-knows what else, I say, “Phooey. Let that man rest in peace.”
Words by Tony Grands
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