Some of today’s hip-hop supporters are obsessed with the aspect of “being real”. Present day, fans judge you less by what you say and more by how they see you live. I’m apart of a lot of threads on FB, where the conversation may start as “who’s the better emcee” and somehow, someway, someone will throw in a “man, this rapper PU$$Y though” or “he came to my block and kicked it with me, so he the best rapper out and the realist ni**a in it!” To be honest, I had no idea that those type of moments held weight in the “emcee criteria”, but to some, it truly does. *Kanye Shrug*
I was in a conversation last week, where Drake came up and “Why people hate him?” was asked. Of course, we got the “cause he light-skin” and “he pu$$y” comments, but a couple really stuck out and got me thinking. To paraphrase, one person said Drake can’t be real or at the top spot in hip-hop cause, he played a kid in a wheelchair. Another person elusively brought up “The Disney Channel”. I got totally confused. Children usually play children, in television programming geared towards children. Drake is now a grown man in his late 20’s, who is now capitalizing off of another aspect of the entertainment industry. Him doing that and the reaction to it in this generation, made me think of the late, great Tupac Shakur.
Pac went to a music and performing arts school and his classmates were Omar Epps and Marlon Wayans. Sometimes I wonder, would his passion for art and music be ridiculed if specifically acting been the world’s first introduction of him.
What if the first time we seen Pac wasn’t him doing the Humpty Dance and his verse on “Same Song” with Digital Underground? [Come to think of it, I doubt many people under 25 realize any of those events happened, but stay with me.] What if our grand introduction to the artist that was Tupac Shakur, was the movie “Gridlock’d”? A movie where he plays a Drug addict, guitar player, whose friend dies of overdose on her first time trying drugs with him. What if that character image was first and then he drops “2Pacalypse Now”? I wonder if some of these hip-hop fans theories on who Pac is/was would change. I wonder would people say stuff like “MAN! Pac ain’t no real ni**a! That ni**a came on the seen playing a fiend and now he trying to rap on some Thug Ish”
What if Juice and Above the Rim happened after Gridlock’d and Poetic Justice? Because Lucky was just a young black man with a job and a daughter, who was trying to get his cousin “on” in the rap game. Not exactly a “thug” by quick description, although he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, but that’s just being a man in general.
What if all the movies happened, then he started making music? Would people say, “Man, this ni**a want to be Bishop in real life so bad” or “New Pac album? Here we go with ni**as, really thinking they Birdie in Above The Rim, smh.”
The obvious thing to do here, is sit here and tell me “but it didn’t though” and that’s not the point. I’m trying to understand what makes a man or woman “fake” to” the people” in this industry? Is it because they are taking advantage of every great opportunity they are offered in the entertainment industry? Let’s be honest. Through the radio, TV and movie screens, you know just as much about Pac in real life as you do Rapper Rick Ross, Drake and Iggy Azalea. Now, it’s completely ok to just not like someone or their form of entertainment. That’s fine and respected, but when you say something like “This rapper pu$$y” but your logic is, “because they started out as a child star”, that’s sounding more like envy than fact.
Even though I feel Pac Stans are the worst human beings on the planet, I’m not going to credit or discredit his realness by what I watch in movies or heard happen. I didn’t know him personally and every story that we hear about him has two sides and some of those times, those stories don’t match up well. You can blame legacy protection or you can say, they trying to downplay his realness, but the bottom line is this is pre World Star Era and we can only hear from the people who say they were there. Either way, that didn’t change my personal opinion about his music and movies.
However, let’s be clear, a lot of you “Thugs” got your tattoos, started posing with guns for cameras and giving the middle finger in your pictures because you seen him do it first. Under that logic in place, how real are you? Pac wasn’t rich from the jump, but he was a public figure and an entertainer. I’m just stating fact. What can’t be denied is a lot of you took his persona and ran a little too far with it and didn’t really understand the totality of his movement. Unfortunately, he died at a young age and his “coming of age” isn’t explained or executed correctly.
Real is subjective. Being pu$$y is subjective. I’m sure Bill Gates is more likely to walk away from a fight than Maino. I’m sure Maino would love to develop a software system, to better his families life for generations, so they never have to do, what he felt he had to do, when he was growing up. So who’s “what”?