By Brianna Davis
A lot of people are familiar with the late Tupac Shakur but are not fully aware of his other talents besides his rap career. Outside of the music industry, Tupac spread his talents through poetry and acting. He appeared in movies like Juice, Gridlock'd, Above the Rim, and one of my personal favorites, Poetic Justice, which starred Janet Jackson.
Being the inspirational individual he was, Tupac influenced a lot of rappers in today's Hip Hop Generation. With his strong, broad mindset, Tupac explored so many of society’s points of view during his time while including his own perspectives. His audience can visualize a story being told throughout his songs, and that is what makes his music so intriguing. Society’s reactions to his lyrics were controversial, attention-getting, and thought-provoking. Interview after interview, Tupac was asked about the reasoning behind his use of blunt lyrics. Never biting his tongue, he let reporters know that there were problems in the world that were being ignored, and he took it upon himself to bring them to attention in his songs.
After some time, a massive percentage of people have heard Tupac's music and within months, his music had spread from the east to the west coast.
Kendrick Lamar, an up-and-coming rap artist from Compton, California, shares his life experiences and tells stories through his lyrics just as Tupac did. Lamar is a perfect example of how Tupac has influenced rappers to express who they are and what they've been through in their lyrics. Much like Tupac, Lamar is a lyricist. He talks about growing up and what he's seen as a child, and puts his experiences in a context that gives a better understanding of where he's coming from.
I could never compare any artist to Tupac because he was just too talented for his own good. However, Kendrick Lamar being new in the music industry has given rap a new approach. Unlike various other "rappers," he raps more than about just how much money he has, or his clothes, or jewelry, or women. He has a few mix tapes out which is how he first became popular. Lamar's first album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, debuted with 242,122 hits, putting him at the #2 spot on the Billboard sales chart. Along with the great album reviews, Lamar has been named male artist of the year. Only 25-years-old, Lamar’s young career is on the rise, and he undoubtedly has other music projects in store for the near future.
It is so amazing to see how the music industry fluctuates along with the styles of new artists. A few years ago, there was some discussion that hip hop and rap was "dead" in a sense. Now that we have music geniuses like Kendrick Lamar, Wale, J. Cole, and Drake, though, hip hop and rap have opened new doors. This is because they have found something other than material things to rap about. They share stories, real world issues, and emotions that are important to them. The shift in lyrics is what saved the hip hop and rap generation because now, artists like Lamar are taking a different and better route from their predecessors.
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