As I listened to the song entitled “Blasphemy” by Tupac Shakur I found myself thinking about how much of a Christian the man truly was. “We probably in hell already/ our black asses not knowing/ everybody kissing ass to go to heaven ain’t going.” Pac was a pastor preaching to an unsaved congregation in a manner that they could understand. He encouraged young black people to change our conditions here on earth as opposed to waiting for a paradise that was not promised to everyone. Tupac also instilled the significance of spiritual reformation “Do what you gotta do but know you got to change/ try and find a way to make it out the game.”
And after listening to this track for probably the 5,000th time and hyper-analyzing the lyrics I became downtrodden and embarrassed. I was ashamed to be a part of a culture that worships the THUGLIFE tattoo on his stomach while ignoring the holy cross that was permanently inked to his back. Twenty years after the man’s death and we still refer to him as a thug, a rebel, the GOAT, a hothead, and a real NIGGA but we never refer to him as a devout follower of Jesus Christ. For how long will we allow the media to tell us what to think about our prophets? At what point will we seek the truth for ourselves?
“June one-six seven-one, the day/ mama pushed me out her womb and told me ‘nigga get paid.’”
Sometimes I wonder what kind of father would Tupac be if he were alive today. If he were still on this Earth then Father’s Day 2013 would have marked his 42nd birthday. It’s difficult to conceive because he was so youthful when he passed away. He was rambunctious, vilified, and enlightened but seemingly lost. He often times performed shirtless and indulged heavily in drug use. Yet he is also America’s last ghetto hero.
No black man since Tupac Shakur has been completely comfortable both in the hood and on Hollywood movie sets. No artist since Pac has made outrageous behavior seem so relatable. Everyone has an opinion about Tupac because everyone feels like they knew him. One either worshipped his words or was repulsed by them—with Pac there really was no in between. However the fact that we often times fail to internalize is that when Tupac was assassinated that night in Las Vegas he was only 25 years old, rich, ridiculously famous, and without any children.
In Essence he only had to look out for himself. Imagine though, if he would have had a son. Would he be all right with teaching his growing boy how to live a thug lifestyle? Would he have smoked so much? Would he have been as abrasive? Imagine if Tupac would have had a daughter. Would he have ever made another record like “All about you?” Would he refuse to ever say the word bitch on a track like Jay-Z did once Blue Ivy was born? How would having a child impact his black male psychosis and the many references to suicide that he made on his albums?
“I smoke a blunt to take the pain out and if I wasn’t high I’d probably try to blow my brains out.”
Tupac definitely would have had one more fear of death in addition to being reincarnated and that would be the thought of missing his children grow up. One can assume that this responsibility would have caused such a compassionate young man like him to slow his life down considerably. Perhaps his fatherhood would have ultimately caused him to return to the activist roots instilled in him by his mother Afeni Shakur. Maybe he would have begun to transition his burgeoning thug nation into a political party designed to destroy the depressing inner-city circumstances that he bemoaned in his music. He may have even started to slowly abandon the ghetto mentality that he so often celebrated. Can you imagine how impactful it would have been to see Tupac posing for pictures on the cover of magazines with his beautiful black family as opposed to merely showing off his tattoos and jewelry?
The tragedy is that we will never have an answer to any of these questions because he was taken away from us so soon. We never got a chance to see him settle into himself. We never got to see him mature and we never got to see him as a loving father. We can, however, safely say that if he put as much energy into fatherhood as he did into his music then being a good daddy would have been the most powerful trend of all the trends that Tupac started. As is, all we can do is mourn the man whose music continues to influence the world on a daily basis 17 years after his unfortunate demise.