On this day in Hip Hop history, we celebrate the birth of a man who changed the culture forever. From the way he rapped, to the way he dressed, to the way he articulated himself, Tupac Shakur left a permanent mark on Hip Hop, constructing the template for the ideal rap icon. His platinum album sales, global tours, and never ending influence speak volumes for the success of his rap career; but, there was however a side to Pac that was less publicized. Unknown to most until after his death, Tupac was a well established poet, having penned enough original work to fill multiple volumes that are available today.
Starting during his days at Baltimore School of the Arts and continuing on until his untimely passing, Pac wrote poetry giving the world an alternate vantage point from which to understand the message he was presenting in his music.
In honor of his birthday, here are five of 2Pac’s most popular pieces taken from his personal journal.
The Rose That Grew From Concrete
Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s law is wrong it learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else ever cared.
Sometimes when I’m alone
Cause I am on my own.
The tears I cry are bitter and warm.
They flow with life but take no form
I Cry because my heart is torn.
I find it difficult to carry on.
If I had an ear to confiding,
I would cry among my treasured friend,
but who do you know that stops that long,
to help another carry on.
The world moves fast and it would rather pass by.
Then to stop and see what makes one cry,
so painful and sad.
and no one cares about why.
Ambition over Adversity
Learn from their misfortune
Learn from their pain
Believe in something
Believe in yourself
Turn adversity into ambition
Now blossom into wealth
Today is filled with anger
fuelled with hidden hate
scared of being outcast
afraid of common fate
Today is built on tragedies
which no one wants 2 face
nightmares 2 humanities
and morally disgraced
Tonight is filled with rage
violence in the air
children bred with ruthlessness because no one at home cares
Tonight I lay my head down
but the pressure never stops
knowing at my sanity
content when I am dropped
But 2morrow I c change
a chance 2 build a new
Built on spirit intent of Heart
and ideals based on truth
and tomorrow I wake with second wind
and strong because of pride
2 know I fought with all my heart 2 keep my
u r the omega of my heart
the foundation of my conception of love
when i think of what a black woman should be
its u that i first think of
u will never fully understand
how deeply my heart feels 4 u
i worry that we’ll grow apart
and i’ll end up losing u
u bring me 2 climax without sex
and u do it all with regal grace
u r my heart in human form
a friend i could never replace
There was a prominent duality present in everything 2pac did. Over the entirety of his career Pac genuinely perpetuated his “Thug Life” lifestyle while remaining a conscious and positive role model through his opinionated speech on social issues. Through his poetry, the world was able to see a side to ability that rapping could not allowing his true fans to understand his genius that much more.
From everyone here at The Source, Happy Birthday Tupac. We thank you for all that you’ve done for Hip Hop. May you rest in peace.