A Poem For Tupac: Hail Mary “Makaveli’s Army”


As we continue to celebrate the life and legacy of Tupac Shakur this month, VIBE reached into the vault to rehash a moving poem dedicated to ‘Pac and his mother.

READ: 20 Years Later: Tupac Is Hip-Hop’s Prophet Of Rage And Revolution

Hail Mary: Makaveli’s Army
by Tayllor Johnson

Soldier to the Lieutenant never met
Only heard through blood boiling, beats split
I was possessed by the West Side prophet.
The moment I claimed me Los Angeles,
I was given the fight fatigue to beat concrete boxes
crafted by systems that gave us labels as misfits
then guide us to six feet pits
Like my Lieutenant

Lip synced as legend by the time I was conscious,
His name was a war cry for the war-torn masses
My side was chosen, my loyalty embroidered
to the man who spoke many languages

He spoke Black Man
He spoke Black American
He spoke growing up in Black American’t
He spoke fatherless and motherful
He spoke redemption
He spit like glass under rioting shoe soles
and black batons on back bones
I stood by him before I knew how universal our demons were

My Lieutenant had an assignment he never got to finish
When blackness meets consciousness
and consciousness meets rhythm
then rhythm meets bullets–
I had my mission: Create Artistic Friction

My existence is an anomaly to this country
My influences stunted yet preyed upon,
cut short like weed smoke sucked back into the lungs of a crack head origin–
I had no choice but to grow out, grow loud, grow force
Use my Black voice to make friends with uncomfortable
And define my madness for myself

Tupac Shakur forced a world to remember
Even if his last bar was cut short,
They had it memorized.
And still they listen for his last words,
which I can tell you from the front lines, will never come
all you are gonna hear is the stomping feet
of his next generation…

Tayllor Johnson is a poet, writer, and activist. Originally from Los Angeles, California, Tayllor has dedicated her life’s work and artistic process to to find new ways spoken word can empower the voiceless, soothe the wounded, disturb the status quo, and set us all on a path to freedom. www.Tayllorjohnson.com