Monday, September 13, 2021

The Day The Music Didn't Die

Today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of Tupac Shakur's death.

Twenty-five years! I cannot believe how long it has been. 

As I've written in the past, of all the rappers I've appreciated - it has to be 2Pac number one. At this stage of my life, I cannot see anyone overthrowing him. Mainly because I am not into that genre of music anymore.

Back in the day, listening to rap music was the cool thing to do. It wasn't as mainstream as it is nowadays. 

My introduction to 2Pac's music came in 1994. This was during the summer when Warren G and Nate Dogg came out with 'Regulate'. I bought the single. There were two additional tracks on the CD. Both featured 2Pac.

I loved those two songs - 'Pain' and 'Loyal to the Game'. The reason why 2Pac featured on the singles was because 'Regulate' was the soundtrack of the movie Above The Rim, which starred Shakur.

Even though I liked the two songs, I didn't hear anything else about 2Pac until later in the year when I read in the newspaper - during my little job as a newspaper delivery boy - that he had been shot in New York. Shortly after that, once again while delivering the newspapers, I read that he had been imprisoned.

Fast forward to the summer of 1995 and 2Pac had released a new album - Me Against The World. It featured a song that was played quite a lot on MTV while I was preparing for my GCSEs. It was 'Dear Mama' and is a classic, if I say so myself.

The title track also plays a part in this story of 2Pac memories because I can vividly recall walking away from my high school - on results day - and a car driving up the school gates opposing my direction. It was blaring out that song.

Quite a soundtrack to play as my group of friends and myself left the school gates for the very last time, eh?

By late 1995, and thanks to MTV News, I was aware that 2Pac had been released from prison. He was also signed up to my favourite record label - Death Row Records, which funded his bail.

What a coup.

Death Row released Pac's first album as a labelmate - All Eyez On Me - in early 1996. It was the birthday gift my parents bought me that year. I listened to that double album so much back then. 

As the summer turned to autumn, I remember being at an old school grounds with friends. One of them told me that 2Pac had been shot. I didn't think much about that. Shakur had survived the New York shooting two years earlier, so I just thought he would recover again.

Days later, while trying to find a copy of WWF Raw Magazine in the middle of nowhere, the very same friend - who was on his lunch break from his Saturday job - popped up at the petrol station I was seeking the missing magazine for my collection.

'Did you hear that 2Pac died?'

I hadn't.

And that's really where my interest in 2Pac's music intensified. I ended up buying his previous albums and would even find some 'rare' stuff that would pop up in HMV. Some was not so good, but there would be one or two decent songs along with the trash that Pac evidently didn't want released otherwise it would have been out there during his life.

I also disliked the concept of putting 2Pac's voice to other artists' and creating duets. It seemed tacky to me, but I still ended up having those songs in my collection. 

After all - it was still 2Pac music.

Even though I am not a keen on the posthumous content, my favourite 2Pac album of all time was released a couple of months after his passing. To this very day, I find myself listening to Pac's last studio album - The Don Killuminati: The Seven Day Theory, which was released by Shakur under his Makaveli alter-ego, from start to finish from time-to-time. 

I'm going to listen to it after I finish writing this post.

As noted, over the years, my interest in rap music has regressed to the point where I am close to not knowing anyone. I can't say I would have still been interested in it now even if Pac was involved in the game. However, there are times when I wonder what 2Pac would have been doing in this day had he survived.

He was an actor first and foremost which leads me to conclude he would have been in TV by now.

I can absolutely picture him rollin' on some cop series. Can you?

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