Edd’s MANtra: Not To Speak Ill of the Dead, but…

Can you believe this past weekend marked 12 years since 2pac died from gunshot wounds suffered in a Las Vegas drive-by.

I remember being in school – senior year I think – watching the little news progam they broadcasted before class began covering 2pac’s death. I had no idea he would die. The fool got shot all the time; I figured he’d make another song about it, threaten Biggie, as usual, then make another movie. But his death changed the music industry forever as he has become a strange hip-hop martyr.

Recently Blender magazine pissed off 2pac fanboys by ranking him the most overrated artist of all time list in their October issue.

And you know what? Blender speaks the truth.

I think most of Pac’s mystique comes from the fact that he’s probably the first ‘conflicted rapper.’ He loves his momma and wants to save the world, but he’ll stab you in the eye and kill yo’ ho if you look at him wrong. That’s all well and good, but what about the music? Blender says Pac ‘larded records with self-mythologizing, mediocre filler.’ That sounds about right to me. The guy has like 300 albums, but can you name three albums that are as groundbreaking as people claim? Bet not.

I’m still not sure where talk of him being a ‘revoluntionary’ comes from. Yeah, he wrote a positive song or two, but DMX does that all the time and he’s probably passed out face-first in pile of cocaine right now. I’m kidding, X. I love that dude but I know he’ll kill me.

And that’s what I’m saying -DMX is one of my favorite rappers but I recognize he’s not a saint. So why pretend Pac would have been running for president with Joe Biden if he was still around?

What do you think? If Pac was here would he have changed the world? Or would he have made a couple more movies and gotten shot again? Guess which one I’m pickin’.



  1. If he were alive today…
    My guess, and this is purely speculation, is that his music would be outdated. I mean, what are the other people who were cuttin’ records at the same time as him doing now? Ice-T is a detective on Law and Order, Dr. Dre is a producer, Master P is now P. Miller, CEO, Coolio- well, I am not completely sure he’s still alive. The point is that the boy certainly wouldn’t be revolutionizing music-well, if he was taking the good advice of his friends he would learn some solid business skills and start making real money. At best he would have his own record company, which would consist of hip-hop artists that were his friends, or maybe his own line of street gear.

  2. LOL, it is sooo funny that you mention the Blender article. I read that article too, and wholeheartedly agreed, so as soon as I saw the title of this post I was hoping you’d reference Blender! But to answer your question, if Tupac were still alive, I too think he’d be pretty irrelevant if he was still ‘reppin’ Thug Life. To kinda piggy-back off of matthew thomas, He had incredible potential to be a thought-provoking, revolutionary artist, but I think he got caught up in all the glamor of the gangsta trend, and ran with it. Unfortunately he lost his life behind it. But as you can see all the other artists who made a name for themselves by hyping up the gangsta lifestyle have moved on. Thank GOD! With the exception of maybe Dr. Dre, only die hard fans would bat an eyelash at new albums from Master P or Ice T–it’d be a joke! It was a trend, hardly timeless. In all honesty, if Biggie were still alive?? That’d be a different story–but that’s just me.

  3. Will the real hip hop fans please stand up? As a true fan and appreciator of real hip hop, please understand that “real” hip hop is timeless. Tupac was revolutionary…his lyrics–when he wanted them to be– was thought provoking. His gift was that he had the ear of the street. As for those who think that he’d be irrelevant, please go download some real, old school hip hop and educate yourself immediately. Keep in mind, you can’t judge an artist via airplay. You have to listen to the catalog (and have seen live performances) before you make judgement.

    • He sucked. He acted like a complete idiot. He got shot because he was hangin out with other idiots. Good riddance, seeya lata!!!!!!!

  4. Of course ‘real’ hip-hop is timeless..And I agree, you hear Tupac’s real, true talent when you listen to his catalog in its entirety versus some of his mainstream released tracks. Hardcore fans of any artist knows that. But like you said, his lyrics were thought-provoking–when he wanted them to be. In my opinion, he got caught up in the trend, and just felt the need to prove to the world he was such a gangster. And for what? I honestly take nothing away from the ‘real’ hip-hop he did make, but it was his image and how it influenced SOME of his most popular music that would be irrelevant in 2008. No doubt he had a gift, but use it to influence the game for good, not to glorify a trend only to lose your life behind it.

  5. Real talk from Ms. Jungle.

    Yes, you could say Pac’s stuff timeless, but the Electric Slide is timeless. That don’t mean it’s revolutionary.

  6. i am feeling this completely. the iconic status of Pac is highly inflated. i mean, you basically have to ignore everything he ever did and said the was contradictory to his “we are the ghetto world” rap songs. it is almost like he is 2 separate artists. i applaud the good songs he had but reject the notion that one of the 2 isn’t a huge fraud. it isn’t as if he was on some crazy stuff then had a Damascus experience and turned his life around. he stupidity was in the midst of it all. the dude was bi-polar. God rest his soul…

  7. Why does Tupac have to be a fraud because he was an artist who didn’t meet/live up to your standards? Most people I know do not live in suburbs–they live in ghettos. And when did we stop considering music as art? I see music as art… in Tupac’s case… I’d group his music as either contemporary (a.k.a. “trendy”) or classic. Every good artist has some “classics” but not every song is classic. I think his evolution as a man is revolutionary in a sense because he documented it through his music and shared these stories with “the streets.” If anything, I’d consider him a trailblazer.

  8. i agree, he is very much a trailblazer. he blazed a trail for other artist to follow him into the world of confusion, allowing people to feel as if it is ok to promote the ills of the world in one breath and then talk about how it needs to get better and we can change it in the other. he would be a great politician. i am not imposing some crazy standard upon anyone. not once did i say that i feel as if he was partially fraudulant because of a “standard.” i did, however, suggest that maybe, just maybe, one of the “Two Pacs” was not genuine. he was a man divided. he wasn’t a man teetering on the edge; he was fully engulfed in both worlds. artistic indeed…i think thesbian would be the best word for him.

  9. Gimagus,
    “he was a man divided.” he wasn’t a man teetering on the edge; he was fully engulfed in both worlds.”

    -Welcome to the world of the average black man. Oh, if you could count the faces we put on just to live in this society.

  10. Your royal Southerness,

    You have a good point about the masks we wear. You know as well as I do that as early as middle school there’s great pressure for young black men to put on masks – ‘thug’ mask, the ‘womanizer’ mask, the ‘slacker’ mask.

    If you want to be acceptance from your boys and if you want attention from the ladies, you have to be something you’re not. Where do you think all these fake rappers get their inspiration?

    And the way I see it, 2pac is one of the main figures who made frontin’ an art.

  11. so, what you are saying is that Tupac is a great icon because he represents the majority of misguided black males in society? and he should be praised for it? well if that is his claim to fame, then get the parade route cleared and strike up the band. you are doing a better job at making my point than I am. this is precisely why i say that Pac was not as great as his legend suggests. If he were someone who TALKED about the ills of life but expressed views of wanting to see it better, then I would be in his corner. However, he PROMOTED the ills, a completely different thing.

  12. G,
    I think you’re reading too much into what I’ve said… I’m not saying Tupac is an “icon.” I’m saying he’s first and foremost a man, but he’s also a gifted ARTIST. His opinion (and artistic expression) is just that-HIS. It doesn’t have to be “PC” or positive, or justified according to your beliefs or what society believes. If you want to get on Tupac for glorifying “THUG LIFE”, put some effort into getting at those THUGS who “promote ills” on Wall Street, too!

  13. well southern miss,
    i am not certain you understand what the term icon means if that is your counter arguement here. also, if we happened to be discussing wall street, i would chime in on them as well. However, we aren’t. we are talking about Pac, who was a total advocate of ill. i am agreeing with the original post that Two Pac was a conflicted man and overrated. to be a pioneer of something doesn’t make you the best. most die hard Pac fans would say he was the best. i don’t see many people clamoring for the return of the motel T car but it was an original.

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