by Staff Writer Nunneh Nimley
If there was ever a time we needed 2Pac it would be now. Not that the community is worse today than it was in the early 90s, with crack cocaine and 12 consecutive years of a republican in the White House. It's much deeper than that, there was something that Pac offered that we haven't seen since. Not only did he have the power and influence to sell millions of units, his way of thinking, ideology, attitude and fearlessness absolutely scared the shit out of white America. That's what hip-hop and black America has been missing since September 13th of 1996.
As it's been said time and time again, Pac was more than just a rapper. It could be argued that he was the most important person of the last 50 years. I don't know anyone I could even put in that category with him. Who else had the power to mobilize those in the streets, suburbs, prisons, music consumers? At the same time having his named mentioned not only in the halls of congress but by former Vice-President Dan Quayle, all before the age of 25.
Today marks the 19th anniversary of his untimely death, but his words and songs are just as relevant today as they've ever been. As you heard on Kendrick Lamar's "Mortal Man" ('To Pimp A Butterfly') it's almost as if Pac was talking about Baltimore. The album was released almost 6 weeks before Freddie Gray's death while in the custody of the Baltimore police, but the audio is over 20 years old. While many artists pray for their music to be seen as "timeless", Pac's thoughts have proven to be just that.
Before #BlackLivesMatter was the "in" thing, Pac questioned aggressive policing by simply stating, "can't make a black life/ don't take a black life". His message is almost inescapable. Content wise, 'Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z." sounds as if it could've been recorded a week ago. Whether it's "Holler If You Hear Me", which plays like a war call for those on the street to rally against those who threaten our well being as people of color. Or "Last Wordz" which features the aforementioned lyrics, he also takes time to inform blacks and Mexicans that we need to be working together and not against one another. Is that not relevant to the many murders that have occurred between black and brown in the past 15 years in Southern California. And of course you have "Keep Ya Head Up", which to this day may be the best dedication track to black women. Reality never goes out style. The truth doesn't change, and that's what Pac's catalogue has working in its favor.
Every few generations we get a culture transcending prophet of sorts, all signs point to Pac as being ours. True he had his shortcomings, but what great man or woman didn't. His many mistakes played out in the public, but where the media tried to demonize him, it only made him that much more lovable. He was experiencing everything those he spoke to/for were going through from being in and out of courtrooms, jail cells, and emergency rooms. The human side of Pac is what he'll be remembered by most. Physically 2Pac doesn't have to be here for his words to serve as life lessons, prophecy never gets old, it gets better.