Compare and Contrast
2Pac & Saint John the Baptist
Although they lived in very different times, Tupac Shakur and Saint John the Baptist had many commonalities. Both became extremely famous for expressing what they believed. The media's portrayal of Tupac Shakur as a tattooed thug has focused public attention on his accused crimes instead of his music. This rapper, raised in Marin City, California, by a Black Panther mother, is more complex than his enemies like to admit. Shakur (who performs as 2Pac) was a talented lyricist with a gift for storytelling and getting his point across to our youth. He continued to grow as a writer on his hard-hitting album, “All Eyez on Me” which benefits from West Coast-style production by such artists as Dr. Dre. Recorded shortly after Shakur was released on bail from a prison sentence for sexual assault, the double album shows a relatively contemplative rapper who's ready to make peace with some of his demons.
The following list of positive lyrics from Eyez and 2Pac's previous albums certainly doesn't make him a saint, but it does reveal surprising emotional depth:
1. "Life Goes On," All Eyez on Me : In one of the most touching moments on his new album, the rapper with "Thug Life" tattooed on his chest shows that he isn't insensitive to the loss of those he loves: "How many brothers fell victim to the streets / Rest in peace young niggaz / Is there heaven for a G? / Be a lie if I told ya that I never thought of death / My nigga, we the last one's left / And life goes on."
2. "Dear Mama," Me Against the World : An insightful 2Pac repents the stress that he's caused his mother: "Mama, I finally understand / For a woman it ain't easy trying to raise a man / You always was committed / A poor single mother on welfare / Tell me how you did it / There's no way that I can pay you back / But the plan is to show you that I understand. / You are appreciated."
3. "Keep Ya Head Up," Strictly 4 My Niggaz : With a kind of compassion that is rare from any performer - let alone a gangsta rapper - 2Pac advises: "Be real to our women / And if we don't we'll have a race of babies / Who hate the ladies / That make the babies / And since a man can't make one / He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one." Hard to believe this is the guy who wrote "Wonda Why They Call U Bitch."
4. "Brenda's Got a Baby," 2Pacalypse Now : This tearjerker from 2Pac's first album tells the story of a 12-year-old trapped in the hopelessness of ghetto life and a teenage pregnancy. "Now Brenda never really knew her moms / And her dad was a junkie putting death into his arms / It's sad because I bet Brenda doesn't know / Just cuz you're in the ghetto / Doesn't mean you can't grow."
5. "Can U Get Away," Me Against the World : Playing the knight in shining armor, 2Pac expresses his love for a woman who is mistreated by another man: "I refuse to give up / Because I believe in what we share / You're living in prison /...