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It’s long been said that Tupac Shakur was a visionary, but now perhaps we have the most definitive proof yet for that claim: his lasting influence on popular culture. Exactly 21 years to the day after his still-unsolved murder in Las Vegas, Pac’s spirit not only remains embodied in the lyrics from todays top rappers, it also still shines a light on the struggle to confront social justice in America, arguably the most important issue facing Black people today.

Pac survived multiple instances of police brutality during his brief, legendary existence, and he also fought back and never held his tongue when expressing his opinions on controversial topics like systematic discrimination in the criminal justice system. Those attributes nearly mirror those of the movement for Black lives.

Pac documented those experiences on wax before a biopic brought his life to the big screen. They also may have helped to inform Black Lives Matter leaders when they were beginning to organize events to demonstrate against racial injustices.

As such, below are lyrics from five songs in 2Pac’s massive catalog of music that show just how verbally committed he was to the cause of uplifting Black people and quashing racism.


“You know they got me trapped in this prison of seclusion
Happiness, living on the streets is a delusion
Even a smooth criminal one day must get caught
Shot up or shot down with the bullet that he bought
Nine millimeter kickin’ thinkin’ about what the streets do to me
Cause they never talk peace in the black community”

Keep Ya Head Up

“Some say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
I say the darker the flesh then the deeper the roots
I give a holla to my sisters on welfare
2Pac cares, if don’t nobody else care
And, I know they like to beat you down a lot
When you come around the block, brothers clown a lot
But please don’t cry, dry your eyes, never let up
Forgive but don’t forget, girl, keep your head up”

So Many Tears

“Lord knows I, tried, been a witness to homicide
Seen drive-by’s takin’ lives, little kids die
Wonder why as I walk by
Broken-hearted as I glance at the chalk line, gettin’ high
This ain’t the life for me, I wanna change
But ain’t no future right for me, I’m stuck in the game
I’m trapped inside a maze”

I Wonder If Heaven Got A Ghetto

“Here on Earth, tell me what’s a black life worth / A bottle of juice is no excuse, the truth hurts / And even when you take the shit / Move counties get a lawyer you can shake the shit / Ask Rodney [King], LaTasha [Harlins], and many more / It’s been goin on for years, there’s plenty more / When they ask me, when will the violence cease? / When your troops stop shootin n****s down in the street…”

White Manz World

“Apologizes to my true sisters, far from bitches
Help me raise my Black nation, reparations are due
It’s true, caught up in this world I took advantage of you
So tell the babies how I love them, precious boys and girls
Born black in this white man’s world”

SOURCE: Rolling Stone


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