“Picture me rollin in my 500 benz….” It NEVER failed…Almost every Saturday morning my dad would bump “Picture Me Rollin“ from the 1996 album, All Eyez On Me while dropping me off to cheerlead for the Junior All-American football team. I watched my dad mouthing the lyrics as I bobbed my head to the beat. Because I was so young, I thought my dad wanted a 500 Benz instead of rolling around in his company vehicle. *shruggs*
Now I realize he was simply enjoying a cut from one of the best rappers of all time…Tupac Shakur. Today marks his 15 year Death Anniversay and fans are STILL playing his music. A day doesn’t go past that LA’s 93.5 KDAY radio station doesn’t play one of his classics. And today…mostly every station is remembering this rap legend. Tupac’s music still lives on. It’s been 15 years and we’re STILL talking about him and STILL playing his music. He had TIMELESS hits. He is missed.
What I admired most about 2Pac was his balance in music. He released party joints as well as songs that had a MESSAGE. I dedicate Dear Mama to my mother every Mother’s Day; He made a response to politicians in Wonder Why They Call U…; Discussed teen pregnancy in Brenda’s Got A Baby; Pointed out a woman’s worth in Keep Ya Head Up; Even wrote a Letter to [his]Unborn Child. Pac mentioned in one of my favorite songs by him, Changes, that we’re not “ready to see a Black President.” But in 2008 that all changed when Barack Obama was elected into office. I went out to celebrate with friends and the DJ kept playing that very line from 2Pac! Twelve years after his death, that fantasy became a reality. Even though I still believe the nation isn’t ready for a Black President.
On the flip side, he did have songs that made you want to dance such as How Do You Want It, or Toss It Up. And he even made the Westcoast proud with California Love and To Live and Die In LA. THIS is why I love listening to his music. You never knew what he was going to rap about but you knew it would be worth listening to.
Don’t get me wrong, I might be a bit biased because I enjoy his music! BUT, he did have a few hits where he spoke about violence, sex, guns, etc. I’d like to think it was simply for entertainment and to give people something to talk about. You can NOT sum 2pac up as an artist who only spoke about cash, clothes and hoes. Majority of his music made you think.
My dad always asks, “Where is the Tupac of your generation?”..thinking…still thinking…no one comes to mind. I can’t think of a current rapper or political leader who stands for the plight of African Americans the way Tupac did. Sad.
Unfortunately, as with any Black leader who fought for our rights such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, or Huey Newton, Tupac’s life was also cut too short. He spoke about death pretty often so he knew it was coming, but it was sad when it actually happened. He was only 25. Gone WAY too soon but made a huge impact in the music industry while he was here. He might ask, “How Long Will Your Mourn Me?” …the answer? forever. Fans will NEVER forget Tupac Shakur. Rest In Peace.