May 18, 2005
Tupac Shakur Is Way Overrated
For some reason, a few readers of this site have labeled me as being a hater of the late Tupac Shakur. I know, I know, I’m from the East Coast and happened to be down with P. Diddy and the Bad Boy crew (no homo) during the middle of the East/ West coast beef, but I never saw myself as a hater. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite hip hop songs ever is “Hit Em Up” where he basically told me “fuck you too” for being down with Bad Boy. Anyways, I was extremely saddened by Mr. Shakur’s untimely demise back in 1996 and even commemorated his death by purchasing all of his cd’s that I didn’t own at the time. At the time of his death, there was a lot of talk about how dude was a poet, a leader of our generation and so on and so on. Of course I associated all this talk with the type of sentimental shit that’s said upon someone’s passing. As time passed though, I became intrigued by how dude was becoming some type of legend. I also became annoyed as fuck.
Last week, I was going through all my songs on my ipod and since all of 2pac’s material came up first, I decided that I would give dude a second chance and listen to his music, just in case I had been unfairly judging his status as a hip hop icon. I listened to his first lp, “2Pacalypse Now”, released in 1991, and believe me when I emphatically say that that album sounds like pure effin garbage and I’m somewhat pissed off that I shelled out some of my hard earned cash on this piece of possum shit. There’s like no decent sounding track on it and I can’t decipher what’s worse, his feeble attempt to rhyme or the piss poor sub par production. Even the “breakout” hit single “Brenda’s Got A Baby” was pure kaa kaa, but being that that was like the first rap song dedicated in it’s entirety to every hood rat ghetto single mother across the country, it was deemed to be prolific by every baby momma alive. Eff that, that shit was weak by any hip hop classic standard. “2Pacalypse Now” got a expeditious delete from my library and I realize I must have been pretty effin amped up a year ago, upon getting a new ipod , what with me importing trash like this unto my itunes library.
Next up was his 2nd Lp, “Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.S” released in 1993. First and foremost, the title deserves a huge NO HOMO sticker on the cd cover, what with some gay ass title like that. Secondly, I don’t know if the periods embedded in “N.I.G.G.A.S.” is supposed to mean something encoded or some strange Tupac form of Ebonics, whatever, I couldn’t give a rats scrotum about it’s meaning as it’s just plain stupid, then and now!!! The only song on that album that comes even close to being hot is “I Get Around”, but I always saw that as being a Digital Underground song featuring Pac as their weed carrying side artist. What with his first LP being all whack, the Underground decided they would help their lil homey out, similar to how Jay Z helps his lil homey Memphis Bleek out every now and then. Production on that song was tight, Pac’s flow improved dramatically overnight, but Shock G stole the show with his classic line “I’m Shock G, the one who put the satin on your panties.” The rest of the album really really really sucked much moose cock and once again I was pissed that I spent some cash on this vile piece of cat vomit. As I expeditiously deleted this crap from my library, I realized that I must have really been emotional when dude died, what with me including this shit in my music collection. Now I know this lp was released shortly after Pac’s “stunning” acting debut “Juice”, and a whole bunch of people got caught up in his portrayal of the “Bishop” character, but to me, his character suffered from a severe case of bi-polar based mental issues and since I actually knew cats like that back in the day in Brooklyn, I wasn’t impressed since they were all mental bitch made niggas until they had a gun in their hands. In addition, since “Juice” was Pac’s movie, why was the hottest song on the actual soundtrack “Know The Ledge” by Eric B. and Rakim? Sheet, Pac’s music was nowhere on the whole effin cd!!! A lot of people bought into it, but I for one didn’t sip the “juice”.
Next up was “Me Against The World” released in 1995. Now I gotta hand it to that nigga Pac, the hype surrounding this album’s release was incredible and effin unheard of at the time. First, dude got all shot up with five hot ones in his ass (no homo) in a New York studio in 1994 and SURVIVES!!! He then checks himself out of the hospital for “security” reasons and also, because he has to make it to court on a rape charge. I remember the image of Pac getting wheeled out of the courthouse days after being shot, all bandaged up with his middle finger pointed straight to the heavens and thinking “What a gully ass crazy muh fucker this dude is turning into!” He then gets sentenced to a bid in jail and starts blaming like the entire East Coast for all of his misfortunes and I’m feeling really sorry for dude, what with his little ass getting all plundered (no homo) all Oz style behind bars. Then the single “Dear Mama” comes out and it’s the first time dude has great production, rapping skills are intact and he’s saying some shit EVERYBODY can relate to. That song right there is genius in the same way Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” is geniuos, its an effin holiday song that will get played like forever and ever. An effin Mother’s Day song!!!! The only other song on there that’s worthy of a playback is “Old School” what with its tight production and Pac’s improved rhyme cadence. The rest of the album is ehh, lukewarm, not as bad as his prior two releases, but decent enough, especially since the hype behind it made it damn near impossible not to wonder what this crazy ass nigga was talking about!!! Other than the two aforementioned songs, the rest of the lp got deleted from my library.
1996 was the year “All Eyez On Me” hit the streets. With this lp, the world was introduced to the “new and improved” Tupac Shakur. Now down with the infamous Suge Knight and signed to the most dangerous record label of all time, Death Row Records, Pac was geared to drop a classic, especially since he was now armed with one of hip hop’s greatest producers of all time, Dr. Dre. In addition, Pac single handedly orchestrated the weird but historical East/West coast beef and spit venom in every interview about Bad Boy, Diddy, B.I.G. and almost all things East related. Man, dude was like one unstoppable train wreck, impossible to turn away from. Album wise, dude was at the top of his game with the instant classics “Ambitionz As A Ridah” and“Hearts Of Men” (no homo), but now that dude has demonstrated that he has finally learned how to rhyme, he fucks it up by putting too many corny sounding weed carriers on his album. Yeah, cats like Snoop, Richie Rich and even Nate Dogg I can understand, but what in the eff is a Big Syke and a Rappin 4 Tay doing on this joint? Even “Got My Mind Made Up” featuring Method Man and Red Man sounds forced what with Pac declaring civil war on New York. How the fuck did they end up on that track? Finally, I don’t know whose idea it was to make this lp here a double cd, but with too many cuts and too many effin weed carriers, shit just got confusing along the way and would’ve been a better (not classic) cd with like only ten songs.
Finally “The Don Killuminati, The 7 Day Theory” recorded right before and released right after his death in 1996. (I in no way count the hundred or so other albums released after this one, since dude is dead and who knows what the fuck type of “studio magic” went into putting those other shits together.) I have to admit, this was really Tupac at his best, with his new character Makaveli sounding all raw and angry, dude really let you know he had gone way the fuck off the deep end and had become one crazy mother fucker!!!! Beats were tighter than anything ever produced for him, dude had rabid venom in his voice like he was infected by rage, and boy did he let everyone have it, from Jay Z on down to his own producer and label mate Dr. Dre!!!! No one was safe from his insane verbal ass whipping. This was the closest dude had to having a classic album. The reason it fell short? 25 more unknown weed carriers included in almost every effin joint!!!! If I were Pac and had blazing tracks like “Hail Mary” or “Intro/Bomb First”, there’s no way in hell I would allow my whack ass lackey’s to be featured on those tracks, NO EFFIN WAY!!! That being said, this lp had like four solid joints on it, the two I just mentioned along with “Toss It Up” (no homo), “Me And My Girlfriend” and “Against All Odds” which was the perfect song to end his career with. Throw in my favorite “Hit ‘Em Up” which was also recorded around the time this album was being produced (sans weed carriers off course) and you have a decent discography of like 16 strong records (actually 10 strong records once weed carrier and side artist elements are factored in).
After taking all of this in, I can understand the Tupac hype, which comes down to two points:
1) Tupac, if he deserved any accolade, was that throughout the course of his career, he never let go of his initial acting role in “Juice” and lp by lp, he perfected that role until he eventually and actually became that psycho bi-polar crazy ass nigga “Bishop”. If anything, he should have been nominated for a new type of Oscar, one where the actor really and truly becomes the character like five years after the movie came out.
2) You know how every chick with mental/emotional issues loves Sade? Well Tupac touched (no homo) every gangbanger, thug and thug wannabe with mental/ emotional issues. I’m sure most of those dudes are pretty eff’ed up in the head what with them losing homey after homey every other week in ‘da hood due to gunfire and gang warfare. Instead of going to see a therapist (which I can’t even imagine those dudes ever doing) ‘Pac became like their Sade. I even remember some dude posting on this site about how he sits in his truck, listens to Tupac and starts crying like a lil bitch. So yeah I get it, Tupac is like a thug’s Sade,, difference being that Sade dropped like 4 classic albums
That being said, the late Tupac Shakur is waaaaaaaay overrated.
Byron Crawford a/k/a Bol is the celebrated author of several books, most recently NaS Lost: A Tribute to the Little Homey.
- Amazon (Paperback)
- Amazon (Kindle)
- CreateSpace (Paperback)
- Smashwords (ebook)
- Barnes & Noble (ebook)
- iTunes (ebook)
- Kobo (ebook)
Posted by combat jack at 09:53 AM | Permalink
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Tupac Shakur Is Way Overrated: