September 13th, 1996 – Doctor’s say Tupac Shakur, professionally known as 2Pac, will indeed make a full recovery. The ‘Death Row‘ rapper was wounded in a drive-by shooting on the night of September 7th in Las Vegas, Nevada…
Death Row East/One Nation
Recently, on his King’s Disease 2 LP, Nas mentions ‘Death Row East‘: He mentioned that he and 2Pac planned on meeting up before Makaveli’s passing. This was not the first time we’ve heard this concept label referenced. Pac himself laid out his plans for the start-up imprint in his March 1996, with MuchMusic on the VMA red carpet. “Do you believe in God? Believe in Death Row East.“, the Killuminati Don uttered in the ’96 clip.
D.R.E rumored artists include his cohorts Boot Camp Clik, Melle Mel and Treach, with Eric B. serving as President (no pun intended).
The Notorious B.I.G
Many theories and stories point to Biggie’s passing in direct correlation with 2Pac’s murder. If the “So Many Tears” rapper survived his 2nd batch of gunshot wounds, maybe our beloved B.I.G would still be here, in the flesh.
Between Jay Z’s latter albums and Nas’ run of the last 3 years, they are showing Hip-Hop artists how to grow up while maintaining their essence. Other superstars such as DMX didn’t make such a seamless transition; Or 50 Cent, who seemingly hasn’t even tried.
2Pac’s content was always mature, as his very first single, “Trapped“, detailed the perpetual cycle of crime and subsequent jail time in the Black community.
How would Tha Outlawz boss have evolved musically? What about sonically? Would he have adopted a piece of the ultra-lyrical styles of Canibus and Big Pun in the late 90’s? Or would he have adapted to the jiggy sound of the early 2000’s 106 & Park era?
It’s well-known that our hero attended Baltimore School of The Arts, with his real-life love interest, Jada Pinkett (no Smith yet). They both would go on to star in a string of early to mid-90’s classics. Juice, Poetic Justice co-starring Janet Jackson, and Above The Rim were all iconic roles and first round ballot in the “Black Hollywood” Hall Of Fame.
Tupac Shakur was such a powerful and impactful actor, it’s hard to see a world where he doesn’t become Hollywood elite! He was arguably a better actor than rapper. Just imagine if he actually got to star in John Singleton’s Baby Boy, a role written for the late legend.
Some marginalize Tupac’s impact, citing his death as a large part of his legacy. No doubt that martyrs are plenty influential but Shakur’s blueprint may have been followed regardless. It’s just too good of a formula. Which brings us to our next topic…
Ja Rule, DMX (…and Lil Zane)
There can only be one gun-toting, bald headed, shirtless crooner in town! DMX though, was actually “out” long before Pac’s fall and felt HIS style was being bitten by the Thug Life rapper; Even dissing 2Pac in the original rhyme to his first single, “Get At Me Dog“. He would change out the name for another rival, K-Solo (bleeped).
Ja Rule is more clearly influenced by the rapper/actor. On his recent Verzuz battle with Fat Joe, Ja played “So Much Pain“, a direct ripoff of “Pain“; A bonus track from the Above The Rim Soundtrack. No way Ja is doing that with Makeveli alive.
Other less noticeable jackings include Jay Z and Beyonce‘s “03 Bonnie & Clyde” from his Blueprint 2 album. The single borrows from Pac’s “Me and My Girlfriend“. Then, there’s Lil Zane, who was the greatest imitation 2Pac possible. If Zane had the signature “gruff” in his voice, they may be indistinguishable!
Overall, this excerpt would have to be at least 100,000 characters to cover most of the ‘All Eyez On Me‘ rapper’s footprints. Easily top 5 most influential Hip-Hip artist of all-time but… What if he lived?