In connection with the current protests in the USA against racism, a letter written by Black Panther member Afeni Shakur from 1969 appeared on Instagram. She wrote the letter in prison, where she spent 2 years, during which she even became pregnant. Her son was none other than the American westcoast rapper and poet Tupac Shakur, also known as 2Pac. Coincidentally, he would celebrate his 49th birthday today.
A rapper brought up by revolutionaries
The American rapper 2Pac, who is considered one of the most successful rappers of the 1990s, has been talked about more recently than ever before. The reason is the current protests against racism in the USA or the just mentioned published letter from his mother Afeni, who survived her son by more than 20 years. It was 2Pac’s mother Afeni who instilled in the promising rapper ideas about revolution and the fight against racism and police brutality, which was later reflected in his work. For example, the 1998 song Changes reflects all these influences.
A letter written by his mother in 1969 recently appeared on the official Instagram 2Paca, which was subsequently published by the political organization Black Panther Party in its newspaper. 2Pac’s parents were active members of this controversial movement at the time, which was characterized by organizing militia and monitoring police behavior towards African Americans, in order to prevent police brutality. 2Pac was therefore essentially part of the resistance against racism from birth, which he felt, for example, by being regularly investigated by the police. His godfather, Elmer Pratt, was in jail for murder, and his stepfather, Mutulu Shakur, was one of the most wanted people on the FBI list in the 1980s for helping his sister escape from prison, where she was to spend her entire life.
Black Panthers were founded during the Vietnam War and sought to fight for better conditions for blacks in the United States, and their slogan “Power to the people” was and is notorious around the world. All because he appeared in songs by James Brown, Public Enemy or Big Mountain. The slogan also appeared in the letter from Afeni.
When 2pac’s stepfather Mutulu was captured by the FBI in 1986, the family decided to move from New York to Baltimore. At that time, the young Tupac had been attending NY State High School for 2 years, so moving to the Baltimore School of the Arts was a shock to him. He began to study poetry, jazz or acting there. He even performed in several plays within the school theater.
At the same time, he began to discover hip-hop and it didn’t take long for him to be accepted into the music band Digital Underground, where he was a backing dancer and rapper. He even appeared on their 1991 album This is an EP. In the same year, he decided to go his own way. He released his solo album called 2Pacalypse Now, which was also of interest to the distribution company Interscope Records. In his texts, basically everything he lived in from an early age appeared – politics, the poor social situation of African Americans and especially racism. He applied the same to his second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.AZ. from 1993. During his life he released a total of 6 records, which, however, was nothing compared to how much he released posthumously. His texts later included, for example, criticism of the social system, egalitarianism or Afrocentrism.
The most controversial in Tupac’s life is, paradoxically, his death. As he was leaving Mike Tyson’s Las Vegas boxing match on September 7, 1996, a white Cadillac arrived at the intersection of Flamingo-Koval streets, from which an unknown shooter began firing. Tupac and music producer Suge Knight were sitting in the car. While Suge Knight was only wounded, 2Pac caught 4 bullets. After six days in hospital, he died of his injuries at the age of only 25.