On June 16, 1971, in the Bronx, New York, Tupac Amaru was born. Although his early death was a tragedy (September 13, 1996, in Las Vegas, Nevada), he will always be remembered as one of hip-hop’s greatest lyricist. Tupac Amaru Shakur lived a successful yet violent and abbreviated life. He sold more than $90 million worth of records and appeared in several films. He also had repeated altercations with police on charges including assault, weapons violations, sexual assault, and probation violations. From an early age, Shakur lived with people who were convicted of serious criminal offences and who were imprisoned. His godfather, Elmer Pratt, was convicted of murdering a school teacher during a robbery although his sentence was later overturned. His father, Mutulu, spent 4 years in prison being one of America’s top ten most wanted. He was arrested because he helped Tupac’s sister escape from a penitentiary in New Jersey. Tupac’s life was not the ideal life of an American Dream. At the age of 12, Tupac enrolled into Harlem’s 127th Street Repertory Ensemble where he played a major role in the act A Raisin in the Sun. Afterwards, Tupac and his family relocated to Baltimore, Maryland. He then transferred to Baltimore School of The Arts. Here, he studied poetry, acting and also did a little ballet. At this school, Shakur created a strong bond with Jada Pinkett that would last his whole life until his death. In the 1980’s his family moved to the west coast where he joined a rap group called Digital Underground which had a hit called The Humpty Dance. He had a difficult childhood, moving frequently around in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and the Bronx. Shakur received an education in radical politics from his mother, but he also saw some of life's hardships through her struggles with substance abuse. Tupac’s mom was a crack cocaine addict. While she was pregnant with him she was in jail for a bombing act. Despite all of these struggles and obstacles, Tupac took all the negative energy around him and used it to motivate himself for songs, plays, movies and even a couple pieces of poetry. (“Tupac Shakur”).
“A lot of people, black, white, Mexican, young, old, fat or skinny, have a problem being true to their self” (Powell 38). Tupac’s American Dream was influenced by his parents. Both of them were Black Panther activist leaders. So he was exposed to a lot of racial prejudice and lots of violence. Once Tupac noticed that he was alone in the world, he vowed to himself that he would stay true to himself. “They have a problem looking into the mirror and looking directly into their own soul. The reason I sell 6 million records, the reason I can go to jail and come out without a scratch, the reason I can walk around, the reason I am who I am today, is because I can look directly into my face and find my soul”(Powell 72). Aside from rap, Tupac would be the one in the group that would stay quiet unless he was involved. Although he was very friendly, he knew when to separate himself from certain people and groups (Tupac Shakur). “It's right there. It's not sold. I didn't sell it. It's still within me. I still feel it. My heart is still connected to my body, so any character, I'm going to bring that intensity, that truth, that honesty to it, because I have to repay for that blessing”(Powell 45). During the research, most information came to the conclusion that Tupac’s American Dream was however famous or poor he was, he wouldn’t change for anybody or anything. The least to say he wanted to true to himself (Powell 88). But, Tupac’s path to riches was far from crystal clear. His worst enemy was his conscience and his mental stability.
Tupac’s worst enemy was his mind and personality. He is a bit skeptical, somewhat irritable, and others found Tupac Shakur quarrelsome or nagging. His nervousness seems to stem from his tendency to over-work himself, and he shouldn’t have tried to make more demands on others than they are able to handle. When under stress, he is likely to become overly focused on himself and his own little world. Instead of “how will this affect us all?", Shakur's focus always tended to shift to "how will this benefit or hurt me?" .Ideally, Tupac Shakur needs to strike a balance between doing for himself and doing for others, by discovering how his unique gifts can benefit other. Shakur is somewhat shy and tends to feel inferior when he is with others. Tupac Shakur is inclined to establish relationships with weak or sick people and is always willing to help or take care of them. Growing up on the streets of New York also had something to do with his (“Tupac Shakur”).
Tupac grew up on the streets of New York and California where he got involved in street gangs and selling drugs. These experiences provided Tupac with the knowledge that he needed to developed his skills of rapping about the trials and tribulations of the ghetto. He had to face many of the ghetto's evil. However, the greatest evil that he had to face was perhaps his mother’s addiction to crack cocaine. This hurt Tupac tremendously and perhaps drove him deeper into the streets. Another thing that bothered Tupac was that he never had a male role model. He wrote about this aspect of his life in many of his rhymes (Powell 22). In December 1993, Shakur and others were charged with sexually abusing a woman in a hotel room. According to the complaint, Shakur sodomized the woman and then encouraged his friends to sexually abuse her. Shakur vehemently denied the charges. He had prior relations days earlier with the woman who was pressing the charges against him. She performed oral sex on him on a club dance floor and the two later had consensual sex in his hotel room. The allegations were made after she revisited his hotel room for the second time where she engaged in sexual activity with his friends and alleged that Shakur and his peers had mass raped her, saying to him while leaving, "Why you let them do this to me?" Shakur said he had fallen asleep shortly after she arrived and later awoke to her legal threats. He later said he felt guilty for leaving her alone and did not want anyone else to go to jail, but at the same time he did not want to go to jail for a crime he didn't commit. Shakur was convicted of sexual abuse. In sentencing Shakur to one-and-a-half years in a correctional facility, the judge described the crime as "an act of brutal violence against a helpless woman" (“Tupac Shakur”).
Tupac was one of many who lived a short life. His American Dream was more than accomplished. After his death in 1997, Tupac won the American Music Award. In 2005, he won the ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Award. Later the same decade, he was nominated for many other awards as in the Soul Train Awards, and the MTV Music Awards. In a span of four years, Tupac was also nominated for five Grammy Awards for all the acting he did. Titles such as Juice, Above the Rim, and Poetic Justice climbed the charts in the movie industry. Tupac never changed for anybody. If there was a situation where Tupac needed to change, he would simply remove himself from the situation. Although his mind was his greatest enemy, he used to his advantage. He took all that frustration and experience from when he was younger and used it to perfect his craft. Tupac loved the people he was around. He did whatever he could to make sure they were settled. Tupac said, “Only God Can Judge Me That which does not kill me can only make me stronger. I don’t see why everybody feels as though that they gotta tell me how to live my life” (Powell 125).
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