Compositions & Coffee Presents: "Creative Soul Digest"
Beast Coast Wednesday
What up what up welcome to the Hump y’all and get ready to BEAST!!!!
A west coast native myself I rep West Coast rap all day errryday! My exposure to the west coast sound was none other than the legend himself Tupac. I still remember where I was when Dear Mama was played (and Boys 2 Men’s Mama, I Love You) on Mother’s Day. After that he was the TRUE in my eyes and to this day I spend a day just listening to Tupac. So you can guess where this is going….YUP…this week we are exploring the music of Pac.
Tupac Amaru Shakur
We all know him as 2Pac or Pac but his birth certificate actually reads Lesane Parish Crooks. He wasn’t born in California but moved there when he was 17 ultimately landing in Los Angeles in 1993. His debut album 2Pacalypse Now in 1991 made him a notable figure in the West Coast hip hop scene. What set him apart were his lyrics centered around social issues and more specifically injustice in the inner cities. He became a symbol to many of, resistance, and rallied many to become activist to fight against inequality.
His drive to speak out against injustice may have came from his families involvement in the Black Panther’s. Both of his parents were active Black Panther Party members in New York in the 1970s (I would have loved to hear their conversations at the dinner table). His step-father and godfather were both arrested and put in prison due to their involvement.
Besides his early experience with political movements he also loved theater and performed a few of Shakespeare’s works in school. Many also described him as having a great sense of humor, a diverse taste in music, and vibing with just about anybody he met. All of this was apparent in his short career that many believe was just beginning.
What Made Him A Legend
2Pac was a master storyteller and some of that influence was drawn from background in the performing arts, Shakespeare, and the music he listened to. He gained some early inspiration from politically-charged music like that of Public Enemy and Ice Cube. His voice was like someone on a megaphone sounding off. His producer, Thug Angel, put it like this “Slick Rick rhymed from the nasal palate, Nas from the back of his throat, and Pac from the pit of his stomach, which is where his power came from” (abc.et). He drew his inspiration from powerful speakers like Malcom X and Marin Luther King and you can hear the urgency in his voice. Pac sampled legends for his songs, artists that ranged from Herbie Hancock, Pink Floyd, Parliament, Joe Cocker, Public Enemy, and Stevie Wonder. Each artists and song had meaning to him in some way and would be expressed somewhere in his lyrics. For example, Bruce Hornsby and the Range’s The Way It Is on his hit song Changes. The 1986 track The Way It Is addressed issues of poverty, classism, and racial segregation which were all things 2Pac experienced firsthand.
In 2002 he was inducted into the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame and in 2017 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has been voted greatest MC , Top 10 Best of All Time, and named one of 100 Greatest Artists by Rolling Stone. His hit Dear Mama was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry, and is only the third rap song there amongst Public Enemy and Grandmaster Flash.
I can go on and on about all the things that make this man a legend but that’s not why we are ultimately here today. We are here because of what his music stood for and how it pulled many of us into wanting to call for change. His lyrics spoke to his people in the struggle acknowledged it, addressed it, brought others into see it for what it was while still saying CHANGE IT.
3 songs that have always been powerful to me were Changes, Keep Ya Head Up, and Dear Mama. All 3 songs addressed everything about what black men and women face and called for us to stand together, heal each other, and force them to see us as a force to be reckoned with. He explained how we came to be this way by painting the picture and the fact that it’s all been for survival and our way of fighting against the injustice but we need to stand together and start changing it. Here are some of my favorite lyrics:
Some say the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice I say the darker the flesh then the deeper the roots.
Since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman, and our game from a woman, I wonder why we take from our women, why we rape our women, do we hate our women? I think it’s time to kill for our women, time to heal our women, be real to our women, and if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies that will hate the ladies that make the babies. And since man can’t make one he has no right to tell a women when and where to create one. So real the real men get up I know you fed up ladies but Keep ya head up.
They got money for wars but can’t feed the poor they said there ain’t no hope for the youth but the truth there ain’t no hope for the future.
I was given this world I didn’t make it.
Ain’t no woman alive that can take my mama’s place.
I finally understand for a woman it ain’t easy tryin to raise a man.
There’s no way I can pay you back but my plan is to show you that I understand you are appreciated.
Cause through the drama I can always depend on my mama and when it seems that I’m hopeless you say the words that can get me back in focus.
I got love for my brother but we can never go nowhere unless we share with each other we gotta start makin changes learn to see me as a brother instead of two distant strangers. And that’s how it’s supposed to be how can the devil take a brother if he’s close to me?
I see no changes all I see is racist faces misplaced hate makes disgrace to races we under wonder what it takes to make this one better place let’s erase the wasted.
It’s time for us as a people to start makin some changes let’s change the way we eat let’s change the way we live and let’s change the way we treat each other you see the old way wasn’t working so it’s on us to do what we gotta do to survive.
Bump these songs for Black History Month Fam let that West Coast sound create a fire in your spirit as we are reminded to love each other, support each other, spread and inspire change. We gotta continue to do better and as Pac said “It’s time for us as a people, the old way wasn’t working.” Check out the recommendations below and I’ll see you back here for Back2Style Journey Thursday...
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