Tupac was no lyrical assassin. Tupac was no “MC.” I can name twenty (20) rappers that would s#*t on Tupac’s rhyme-scheme—Nas, Biggie, Jay-Z, Big Pun, Rakim, LL Cool J, MC Lyte, Lauryn Hill, Canibus, Eminem, Twista, JadaKiss, Busta Rhymes, Chuck D, KRS One, Andre 3000, Big Daddy Kane, Kanye West, DMX—and yes, Lil Wayne aka Lil Tunechi! (Follow me and don’t get side-tracked by my list of rhyme-spitters!)
Having said that—Tupac Shakur was the greatest rapper ever! Great, in terms of his effect on hip-hop culture/rap. He didn’t have the rapid-fire raps of Twista and Busta Rhymes. He didn’t have the punch-lines of JadaKiss, nor the metaphors of Andre 3000, but what Tupac did have was the spirit of a griot—a raconteur—a story-teller who had the ability to make you see his rap truths. (The saying, “Sometimes less is more” has never been truer.) Tupac’s rhymes were simple and to the point. He didn’t mince words or do subliminals or try to rap over our heads like Canibus or get historically deep like KRS-One.
When it came to diss songs, Tupac’s “Hit ‘Em Up” was probably the best tongue-lashing ever!
Arguably the most influential rap artist the world over—Tupac was an iconoclast who seemingly knew that his lifespan would be cut short—eerily similar to Dr. Martin Luther King, who, so bravely told us that, “I’ve been to the mountaintop! I’ve seen the Promised Land. I might not get there with you, but we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!”
Enter Lil Wayne aka Tunechi.
Over the 2013 NBA All-Star weekend in Houston, Lil Wayne tried to convince us that he was “Tupac-cian”—“Tupac-esque”—yea, the “second-coming” of Tupac by boldly proclaiming, “I ain’t Tupac! I’m the new ‘Pac!” Listen to his braggadocious proclamation!
“I Ain’t Tupac! I’m the New ‘Pac!” Wayne insists.
The problem with self-proclamations is that they aren’t cosigned by the masses. A true iconoclast doesn’t big-up himself! The people big you up! The people proclaim your greatness! The people put you on a pedestal! The people invoke your name in the pantheon of (in this case) rap gods!
I’ve never read of Jesus proclaiming to be the “next Moses” (or Abraham! In fact, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am!”)—or Muhammad proclaiming to be the “next Jesus”—or in our modern era—Jesse Jackson proclaiming to be the “next MLK” or Malcolm proclaiming to be the “next Elijah.”
And certainly Tupac didn’t aspire to be the next Rakim!
With all the money, adulation, fame and poontang that Lil Wayne gets—he still strives for that which is unattainable in the physical realm—greatness. He fails to realize that it is only through death that the masses will consider your greatness. Even with Tupac, no one had put him in the pantheon of great rappers when he was walking the floor of the MGM Grand Casino and stomping niggas out! Tupac was just another rapper doing ig-nant rapper s#*t. Oh, but in death, Hip-Hop began to assess his place as a great rapper—and shortly thereafter—when the mythology, martyrdom and that romantic yearning for a ghetto hero kicked in—like a phoenix rising from the ashes of Hades—Tupac ascended to the top of the rap pantheon.
“I Ain’t Tupac! I’m the New ‘Pac!” Wayne insists.
Tupac was shot five times! Lil Wayne was shot once by a self-inflicted wound at age 12. Tupac had records that spoke the truth about ghetto life—“Dear Mama,” “Brenda’s Got A Baby” “So Many Tears,” “Keep Ya Head Up,” “Holla If Ya Hear Me,” “I Wonder If Heaven Got A Ghetto,” “Hail Mary,” “How Long Will They Mourn Me?”, “I Ain’t Mad At Cha,” “California Love,” “Thugs Mansion,” “To Live and Die in LA,” and ”2 of Amerikkka’s Most Wanted.” Tupac’s discography was solid! Tupac dealt with the ills, which plague the hood—teen pregnancy, black-on-black crime, ghetto life, gang violence, losing love, death, the spirituality of heaven & hell and the religiosity of things to come.
Tupac was an avid reader and through his reading of such subjects as the “apocalypse” and the reading of “Machiavelli”—Tupac was able to apply that to his own life and record classic albums like “2Pacalypse Now” and “The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (Makavelli).”
Juxtapose Tupac with Lil Wayne, who has a slew of hits and bangers, but most are club s#*ts that will be forgettable in the coming years. Lil Wayne probably has more collabos and hits than Tupac, but they are fluff. The only song that I can possibly think of as “Tupac-esque” would be Wayne’s feature on The Game’s “My Life.” That was some introspective and heart-felt sh#*!
Tupac was in classic films like, “Poetic Justice,” “Above The Rim,” “Juice,” and “Gang Related.” He had great acting chops! Lil Wayne has been in what movies? (Crickets)
Tupac had a Movement—Thug Life, which represented the everyday man struggling in an unjust world. Tupac had a philosophy—T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E.—”The Hate You Give Little Infants F#\ks Everyone.”* Tupac had a mission: End gang violence and curtail drug dealing. Tupac had a street code.
Lil Wayne, thus far hasn’t even begun to stick his big toe in Tupac’s shoe! He’s all about that party life, that f#*kin’ bitches life, that snitchin’ on his dick life (“I f#\ked Chris Bosh’s wife!” Did Wayne say that because Tupac said he boned Biggie’s wife?),* that braggin’ about his wealth life and his skateboard life. Tupac has a revolutionary pedigree—being the son of a Black Panther and having lived in Oakland, the most revolutionary city in American history! Lil Wayne is a spoiled brat from New Orleans’s 17th Ward (Hollygrove).
50 Cent is a far more worthy candidate of the Tupac legacy. He is feeding the hungry in Africa. Fiddy has thrown off the shackles of South-Side Jamaica Queens and is becoming a world-wide brand. To become “Tupac-cian”—one must transcend the rap genre and become a world-wide iconic figure—not simply a rap star. As it stands, only in death will Lil Wayne’s place in Hip-Hop history be cemented. But right now, he’s just a whining, childlike, immature, imbecilic little imp with a
short man’s Napoleonic Complex the size of the Miami Heat Big Three!
Lil Wayne’s first step on the way to becoming “Tupac-esque” is to clear his head. Put that lean-purp-promethazine-sizzurp down! Erry’body knows you’re on that styrofoam cup! All this “Pop a molly I’m sweatin’ whooo!” ish gotta stop! I don’t need a medical degree to know you’re killing yourself with these drugs. Stop it! Your recent seizures are a combination of that weed, lean and not getting proper rest. As a fan of your music and a man who speaks truth, I wanna see you win in the game of life, but I ain’t gonna give you that
watered-down milquetoast convo like these other industry folk. I said, “Stop it or you’re gonna die!” That’s the problem with fans–nobody wants to challenge your drug addiction until you’re taking a dirt-nap! I’d bet a pretty penny that Baby & dem are covering up ish and blaming Wayne’s seizure on “work”–as if what he does is harder than the man working two jobs to support his family!
If you wanna be great–change your life, find a cause worth getting deep about and spit that ism! That’s what Tupac did!
Yes! Lil Wayne is a better rapper than Tupac was, yet Tupac is the greatest rapper evaaaar! (A case of one plus one equaling three, eh?) It isn’t Tupac’s wordplay that made him great. Nay! It was his delivery and subject-matter that makes him great!
Perhaps Lil Tunechi is right! “I Ain’t Tupac! I’m the New ‘Pac!” By his works, we have to assume that A.) Lil Tunechi is unaware of Tupac’s progressiveness and revolutionary mind or B.) that the “New Pac” is a self-absorbed bastard. What say you?
Khalil Amani writes for DJ Kay Slay’s Originators Magazine & Straight Stuntin Magazine. He is the author of six books, including the ground-breaking book, “Hip-Hop Homophobes…” (iuniverse.com 07). Amani is gay hip-hop’s self-proclaimed straight advocate. Visit The Coonerific One at http://www.khalilamani.ning.com Follow on Facebook/Twitter @khalilamani. Youtube @ yahweh 12