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Tupac Shakur - Essay Example

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Summary
The life of Tupac Shakur was an integrated mix of contradiction and conformity. His life was his art and was a reflection of the world he lived in and the society that shaped it. In his song "Can't C Me", 2Pac tells of the pressure of the streets that he came to live in, "and I ain't stoppin', till i'm well paid, bails paid, now nigga, look what hell made, visions of cops and sirens, niggas open fire, buncha Thug Life niggas on tha rise, until I die"…
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Tupac Shakur

This art form glorified violence, misogyny, and brutality to foes and hos. To the mainstream media, Gangsta Rap is readily exploited for its commercial value as entertainment or news, but continues to be misused to demonize black males by the patriarchal norms of the culture in which it exists (hooks 1994). Black males have taken Gangsta Rap as a necessary means of male expression. However, hooks contends, "Without a doubt black males, young and old, must be held politically accountable for their sexism" because they are being "... forced to take the "heat" for encouraging, via their music, the hatred of and violence against women that is a central core of patriarchy". Gangsta Rap lives up to the expectations of the norm.
2Pacs love of Gangsta Rap did not spontaneously appear. It was the culmination of his childhood and the experiences he endured as a young man that had been bludgeoned by life as an adult. He was born into a black revolutionary family as the son of two members of the Black Panthers. His parents were never together after 2Pac was born and he lived with his mother and sister for all of his childhood. Their influence can be seen in one of 2Pac's earlier songs called "Brenda's Got a Baby". 2Pac writes, "Well let me show ya how it affects tha whole community. Now Brenda never really knew her moms and her dad was a junky, Went in debt to his arms, it's sad, Cause I bet Brenda doesn't even know, Just cause your in tha ghetto doesn't mean ya can't grow, But oh, that's a thought, my own revelation, Do whatever it takes ta resist tha temptation". 2Pac had not yet succumb to the black male stereotype and the song shines through with non-condescending sympathy and reason.
2Pac's childhood was based in poverty, yet he was drawn to books and read at length on sociological theory. He was able to gain acceptance to the Baltimore School of Arts. He did well in this environment where he developed his rap music and acting. Before he could complete his studies, his family moved and he was forced to drop out. This unfortunate move took a young man that was serious about his art and at the age of 17 threw him into the streets of Marin City, CA.
He soon hooked up with the Digital Underground and appeared on two of their albums. His mentors were people like Shock-G, Ernest Dickerson, and director John Singleton. During the period of 1991 - 1993 he released two albums and appeared in 3 movies. By all appearances 2Pac was a successful artist, educated, and had escaped the streets and the mold of the patriarchal norm. However, something was changing and it was reflected in his altercations with law enforcement.
He was arrested in 1992 for his involvement in a fight that resulted in the death of a six-year-old. In the summer of 1993 he assaulted director Allen Hughes and was sentenced to 15 days in jail. In October of 1993 he was arrested for shooting two off-duty police officers in Atlanta. The charges were later dropped. In November 1993 he was charged with sexually abusing a female fan. In 1994, he was found guilty of sexual assault. The day after the verdict was announced, he was attacked and shot while at a recording studio. Shakur was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison on February 7, 1995. After serving an 8-month ... Read More
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