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One of the themes discussed in Tupac Shakur’s songs is the never-ending black-on-black violence. Michael Eric Dyson explored this subject as well as the other themes in Tupac’s rap songs in his book, Holler If You Can Hear Me. Dyson delved into the life of Tupac Shakur and gave a quite more detailed biography of the artist. He even explored the artist’s view on certain issues concerning his identity, including the moral anchors of his rap songs as well as his perceptions on societal issues.
Among these issues, black-on-black violence became one of the topics (Grant).
Violence tends to be the major thread in most rap songs. Tupac never failed to deal with this issue in his songs. The society is aware of the discrimination and racism that the Blacks experienced during the early years. A good example of depiction of violence is in Tupac’s Soulja’s Story (Shakur) Every single one got a gun, that’ll smoke – pow! These punks about to get hit by the best I’m wearin’ double vest so aim at my fuckin’ chest I’ll be makin’ straight dome calls Touch the button on the wall You’ll be pickin’ up your own balls
I can still hear my mother shout, “Hit the pig nigga, break your bigger brother out” According to Dyson (2001), Tupac is expressing how every black person in his life acquires a gun and how he or she wears a bulletproof vest to protect him from being shot.
The lyrics also suggest that when a black tries to shoot someone, he knows not to aim on the chest but on the head, as vests are common. The verse ended with lines saying how a mother exclaimed to his son to shoot the “pig” which pertains to police officer to break his bigger brother out of jail.
This shows that even the police officers are not exempted on the violence of the Blacks. Tupac’s songs with violent lyrics faced strong opposition from different sectors; even the then vice president Dan Quayle expressed disagreement on Tupac’s album. Some actions even led to censorship attempts and lawsuits. These actions only show that the emergence of prominent Black writers is still perceived as harmful and dangerous. The violence depicted by many rap artists in their songs is a mere reflection of the truth. Black-on-black violence is happening in many parts of the United States.
The Blacks are commonly perceived as nuisance of society. However, the rivalry of gangs continues to haunt the Black community. Conclusion During his lifetime, Tupac Amaru Shakur touched many people. He seemed to understand the world around him by experiencing real immersion in the life in the lower class. He was quick to point out the flaws and the weaknesses of the society and the government. He also utilized his music to convey the messages to the people of what is really happening in the parts of the society where any other media failed to address or present.
He made significant contributions not only in the music industry but also in opening the eyes of his brave listeners to what is going on in the Black community that is often left out by the society and the government. His rap songs still echoed even after his death to provide contrasting views of the society through his obscene and explicit words that are mere descriptions and explanations of the issues happening, involving the lives of most people.
Dyson, Michael Eric. Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur. New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2001. Grant, Tracy.
September 2001“Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur – Review. ” Black Issues Book Review. 16 June 2009 <http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m0HST/is_5_3/ai_78226526/? tag=rbxcra. 2. a. 11>. “Hip-Hop Icon or Bearer of a Legacy – Tupac Shakur? ” 2009. Assata Shakur Forums. 16 June 2009 <http://www. assatashakur. org/forum/shoulders-our-freedom-fighters/31342-hip-hop-icon-bearer-legacy-tupac-shakur. html>. “Tupac. ” 2009. MTV Networks. 16 June 2009 <http://www. mtv. com/music/artist/2pac/artist. jhtml#bio>. Shakur, Tupac. Lyrics. “Soulja’s Story. ” 2Pacalypse Now. Atlantic/Interscope Records. 1991.
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