“2Pacalypse”: The Hip-hop legend’s legacy 20 years after his death


Photo Courtesy of Biography.com.

This past week marks the 20th anniversary of hip-hop legend, Tupac Shakur’s death. The rapper was fatally shot in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 7th, 1996, and passed away six days later on September 13th. Shakur is best known for his honest lyrics and larger than life personality. It’s hard to go to a sporting event and not hear “California Love,” and it wouldn’t be Mother’s Day without 50 percent of your friends posting Instagram pictures with captions quoting “Dear Mama.” Everyone from Justin Bieber to J. Cole to Olympian Kerri Walsh-Jennings to former NBA star Allen Iverson to acclaimed writer Lin-Manuel Miranda credit Tupac Shakur for influencing their careers.

To this day, Tupac’s death remains a mystery. Many people believe that his death is related to his feud with East-Coast hip-hop legend, The Notorious B.I.G. whose death also remains a mystery. Although both rappers seemed to be at the top of their game when they died, many believe that they still had a very long, prosperous career ahead of them. There is still a dispute over who the better rapper is.

So, in honor of Tupac and his genius, here is a list of his songs that prove why he is one of the best to ever enter the rap game:

“Brenda’s Got a Baby”: This was Tupac’s solo debut. It shows off his storytelling talent and strong lyricism. This song also shows Tupac’s ability to connect with his audience and shed light on the difficult circumstances people face on a regular basis. Many of us are fortunate enough to not know someone like “Brenda,” but it encourages people to be thankful and to not take things for granted. Tupac became a voice for those who were struggling and needed hope.

“Do For Love”: It’s difficult to find a song that talks about going through the challenges of relationships and yet still finding it within yourself to fight for that love. The last verse says, “I wanna take your misery, replace it with happiness / But I need your faith in me, I’m a sucka for love.” With a sample from Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do For Love,” this posthumously released song is not one of Tupac’s more popular hits, but it is definitely one of my favorites.

“I Ain’t Mad At Cha”: Have you ever heard of DeBarge? Probably not, and that is quite all right. DeBarge made a song in 1983 called “A Dream” which Tupac sampled in “I Ain’t Mad At Cha.” Tupac manages to talk about evolving friendships, the difficulties of living and how much our lives change as we transition from childhood to adulthood. Your childhood may not have been anything like Tupac’s, but this is a message that we can all relate to.

“Thugz Mansion”: Many of us wonder what heaven is like. We often try to imagine the activities and the people that will be in heaven. Tupac’s lyrics paint a vivid image of what a “thug’s” heaven would look like. “A space to spend my quiet nights, time to unwind / So much pressure in this life of mine.” Sometimes we just need a place to breathe and relax, and Tupac does a great job of inviting us to his “mansion.” It may not be all of the things that you and I hope for. I mean, I will be okay if I don’t get to “see a show with Marvin Gaye,” but you do you, ‘Pac.

“Changes”: This is, perhaps, the most popular song on this list. It’s the only posthumous song to be nominated for the Best Rap Solo Performance Grammy award. This song references changes that need to happen in this world to make it a better place. The topics in this song include the war on drugs, racism, poverty and the overall feeling of hopelessness that often accompanies all of these issues. “Changes” was released in 1998, and many people still reference this song today when talking about the struggles that we continue to face.

Tupac Shakur challenged people to stand up for their beliefs. Many people wonder what Tupac’s career would have been like if he hadn’t been killed. His legacy continues to live on through his movies, television appearances, music (including posthumous songs and albums), and he continues to live on through artists and performers whom he continues to inspire. Unfortunately, our world continues to struggle with the topics that Shakur tackles in his music, but we can make the world a better and more peaceful place if we come together.

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