18. TUPAC SHAKUR
By: N. Jamiyla Chisholm
Tupac Shakur, the world’s most controversial and beloved MC was as much an enigma as he was a Renaissance man (activist, thespian, poet). His writing was as brash, bold and brutally honest as he was. Never afraid to hit ‘em up, Shakur repped the disenfranchised (“Pour Out a Little Liquor”), broke down the love of a son aware of his mother’s strengths and weaknesses (“Dear Mama”), and advocated social consciousness with stark realism (“Brenda’s Got a Baby”).
‘Pac got women to love his thug passion, and men to embrace his Thug Life. It was this universal love that allowed him to not only become the first rapper to release a full-length double disc (All Eyez on Me), but sell five-times platinum in two months. His body of work united and transcended generations across the globe, rippling from the favelas of Brazil to the MARTa Museum in Germany, where his statue stands. The Black Panther Party never made as great an impact.
Scarface, rapper and friend of Tupac says:
“I would be in the studio all day, all night. [Pac] would come in like ‘C’mon nigga, let’s go.’ And I’d be like ‘Pac I’m not going no where with you. I’m working on my shit.’ And he would get so furious because it took me so long to make my songs. He’d say, ‘You taking too motherfucking long 'cause you’re trying to find singles. Just make records and the single would come.’ He’d say, ‘Brad, you got to get across to these bitches without offending them. And the niggas want what the bitches want.’ Pac had the perfect combination. He was a phenom; and he never really died.”