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The entire hip-hop world mourned when Tupac Shakur died. Even those who were born after his demise carry the stain of grief. Many music experts hail Tupac as a genius of his generation and consider him one of – if not, the – most important rapper to date.
It is important then to recognize his contributions to the genre.
He was real: What is music but the expression of our emotions? Naturally, the way we communicate what we feel can vary, but music is a good way to do it. That said, each genre has its own vibe, its own feel. Hip-hop is about rawness. It is about going deep into your soul and saying what life is really like. It’s not a dramatic appeal for pity. Tupac epitomized the rawness of his life, while still making very catchy tunes.
He was a poet: Few people know that before Tupac began his work as a rapper, he was a student at the Baltimore School of Performing Arts. He loved Shakespeare and appreciated the written word. His songs were a poetry of its own kind. This also cemented him a musical icon; his songs were more stories than anything.
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He expanded the genre: Hip-hop was notorious for just talking about difficult topics, yet Tupac used the medium to talk about his social work. The song “Dear Mama,” which he dedicated to his mother, provided the inspiration for the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation that supports young artists today. He showed that no matter the medium, messages can be delivered effectively and powerfully.
It is a shame that he was murdered more than two decades ago, but Tupac has left a timeless legacy of his greatness. He will be remembered forever.
Radha Singh loves hip-hop music. Learn more fun things about this musical genre by following her on Twitter.