Every generation has their icons that will always be remembered. We can't help compare who will be the next great? Who will capture our hearts? Who is the next artist to be remembered? Tupac Shakur is one of the greatest hip hop artists to ever hit mainstream media with his outspoken personality, charismatic charm and his diverse music catalog. In today's music scene we can't help but see another artist with those same characteristics. That artist goes by the name of Kanye West. Some hip hop purist might scream blasphemy at such a notion but Mr. West and 2Pac have similarities that are parallel and maybe to close to be ignored.
"The Dream Pushers"
Tupac was "The Rose that Grew From Concrete" and Kanye is "The College Dropout". Both are self proclaimed titles that are a testament to pushing through obstacles and achieving your goals. Respectively, these artist represented a different spectrum in life; Tupac told us in the 90's that you could overcome the street life, while Kanye told the millennials you could overcome the corporate slave life.
"Now I can let these dream killers kill my self esteem or use my arrogance as steam to power my dreams" - Kanye West
Have you ever heard a "Kanye rant"? Well he's trying to reach you, he's trying to motivate you, something Tupac almost always did when he was being interviewed. Kanye named his label G.O.O.D music which is a acronym for "Getting Out Our Dreams" this is a representation of who he is . Tupac once said " Happy are those who dream dreams and ready to pay the price to make them come true" I can't help but to think Kanye read that somewhere and ran with it, he like many other artist are students of 2Pac. Are both artist pushing the same dream? Well, No. Different times Different goals but the seed that Tupac planted helped Kanye west creative flower blossom.
"The Controversial Icon"
"Recollect your thoughts don't get caught up in the mix cause the media is full of dirty tricks" - Tupac Shakur
"Crazy" is a word that the media uses to describe a individual who doesn't follow protocol, a word used to describe 2Pac in the 90's and Kanye in the present day. The outspoken 2Pac called everybody out; from the corrupt police system to street legends such as Jimmy Henchman. 2pac never was afraid to hold his tongue which the media used as evidence to make Shakur look "crazy". Years later we see now 2Pac was far from crazy. Whether it was calling out police brutality in songs like "Trapped" or "Soulja's Story" which are issues still relevant today or claiming rappers are being extorted by street gangsters, Tupac was just being honest.
Remember when Kanye West said "George Bush doesn't care about Black people"? Well that was a very "2Pac thing to do". Kanye did what we believe 2Pac would of done: he was honest and spoke from his heart. In the recent years Kanye has called out Nike to Beyoncé with the backlash being ridiculed with internet memes and labeled "out his mind" or shall we say "crazy". Everybody hated Tupac for calling out B.I.G and Puffy similar to the hate Kanye receives for his recent call out of Jay z and Beyoncé. The motives are not the same but the actions are parallel in which a successful black artist is going against the grain and being crucified for doing such. The mere fact that these two are not afraid to bare their souls and opinions in front of millions is a testament to their impact on the culture. Who knows if any of Kanye rants will come to fruition, only time will tell. In 1996 Tupac said "I promise payback jimmy Henchman", in 2012 jimmy was convicted of running a criminal enterprise and was sentenced to life in prison. Tupac got his payback but it took 16 years to see it.
"The Diverse Artist"
"Go listen to my music. It's the code of self esteem. It's the code of who you are. If you are a Kanye West fan you are not a fan of me, you are a fan of yourself!" -- Kanye West
Lets be truly honest here, only 2 rappers made great songs about their momma's, one is Tupac (Dear Mama) the second is Kanye (Hey Mama). We could go artist to artist in hip hop and no other successful artist gets close to 2Pac's diverse catalog than Kanye West. Tackling Social commentary such as Kanye West on "Murder to excellence" ( "What's the life expectancy of black guys/ the system working effectively that's why") or the issues of police brutality ("I say Fuck the police that's how I treat'em /we buy our way out of jail but we can't buy freedom") on "All Falls Down" Kanye took off where Tupac left off. Tupac proclaimed his love for his home state with songs like "California Love" and "To Live In and Die In L.A". Kanye did the same with his ode to Chicago, "Homecoming". From party anthems, mama songs , conscious records, this pair of artists have no limit on the content they deliver. The overall honesty and passion in their records is the true consistency that makes me wonder if Kanye is the millennials 2Pac.
"I'm not saying I will change the world but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world" - 2Pac
So before we call Kanye crazy let's think about is he crazy or is the world we live in crazy? Imagine 2Pac if he would of lost his mother Afeni Shakur? What if 2Pac had Twitter? Can you picture the tweets now ? #Thuglife. Sometimes we don't appreciate the great artist we have until they are taken away from us such as Pac who left us way to early in his career. The impact 2pac left will probably be felt for years to come, I'm just glad Kanye felt that impact.