2pac’s Best Isms

While he may be most known for being the “West Coast” in the East Coast/West Coast rap war, Tupac Shakur was actually from East Harlem. It wasn’t until he was 17 years old–well past his formative years–that Tupac moved to Marin City in Northern California. And so perhaps it is his bi-coastal duality, in addition to descending from some militant Black Panther members, that made the rapper/MC so poetic.

Keeping it real
Keeping it real
“Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.”: Taken from the song, “So Many Tears,” off the Me Against the World album, this is undoubtedly what most people tell themselves to get through the day.

“I’m everybody’s child. Nobody raised me; I was raised in this society.”: This quote comes from “Lord Knows,” also off Me Against the World. Tupac brings up a valid point as ultimately we’re all simply by-products of the system.

“Behind every sweet smile, there is a bitter sadness that no one can ever see and feel.”: Again, Tupac reveals his softer side (he was really just a teddy bear on the inside, you see?) by identifying with the unknowable pain of others.
The young 2pac, pre-jaded
The young 2pac, pre-jaded
“Even the genius asks questions.”: Although I would like to believe this is a subtle dig at arrognat white men of the past, it’s more than likely a reminder for Tupac to stay humble in spite of his belief in his own genius.

“It’s the game of life. Do I win or do I lose? One day they’re gonna shut the game down. I gotta have as much fun and go around the board as many times as I can before it’s my turn to leave.”: Extracted from one of his great opuses, this is easily Tupac’s most salient observations on living and how best to do it.