Tupac Shakur - Me Against the World
I was 13 years old. Anticipation thrilled my mind and body as the sea air wafted through the window. My best friend and I were nearing the beach and the mini-van we had inhabited for six hours felt as though it was closing in on us. Thoughts of the beach, the simplicity, and the freedom had controlled my mind for weeks, even months prior to our trip to the beach. Harnessing my recent hormone attack was still a challenge and images of tan girls plagued my mind. Then it happened. A song came on the radio that became my motto for the week; however even though that week ended, the artist never left my life. The voice I heard was that of Tupac Shakur and the song was "I Get Around." The lyrics of the song were boastful and egotistical. I loved it. With Tupac’s display of masculinity as my inspiration, my chances of picking up some of those tan girls were great. Unfortunately, I didn’t and my determined mission was in vein; however to this day Tupac’s music, spirit and camaraderie still gives me inspiration. At the end of that wonderful week we were forced to pack up and leave the freedom and the warmth of the beach. With me I took many memories, and a new tee shirt with the slogan "I Get Around" boldly written on the back.
Years have passed. My best friend is still my best friend, but we rarely talk. Now, nearly nothing is quite the same. Friendships have passed; I've changed mentally and physically. Through all of the changes, Tupac has always been at my side. He elevates the highs in my life and illustrates the lows. Tupac Shaker is still influencing me, and I still own that tee shirt.
I never lost touch with Tupac. I bought the album with "I Get Around," and I bought his preceding album. In April of 1995, while Tupac was restlessly caged up in jail, Interscope records released his third album Me Against the World. This album dramatically changed my life. It acted as my life preserver in a time when I needed a lift from the swallowing waters of the world.
Before we progress, we must first digress about 25 years. Afeni Shakur, Tupac's unwed mother, is sitting on her jail cell bed, attempting to support the weight of her unborn child. Afeni's involvement with the Black Panther group landed her in jail, 8 months pregnant. She was determined to bring her child into this world. She felt the need to bring him into the world. She was once noted as saying, "This is my black prince. He's going to save the black nation" (Anson 245).
Afeni was acquitted a month before her black prince was born. She named her son Tupac Amaru Shakur. In Incan, the name means "shining serpent thankful to god." Tupac inherited the same determination and spirit that his mother personified. He never lost his spirit, it was with him in his songs and in his life. His attitude and spirit gained him a following of millions. (Anson 245).
"A coward dies a thousand deaths, a soldier dies but once..." begins Me Against the World....