I Aint A Killer, But Don’t Push Me

Coincidentally or maybe not, AllHipHop.com and

theGrio.com partnered to discuss Hip Hop and Politics during the same

week that

many recognized the day of birth of arguably one of the most influential


of a musical genre; he who may have well been the last rapper thus far,


simultaneously displayed the ability to successfully merge Hip-Hop and

politics. On June 16, 2010 homage

was paid to Tupac Shakur by those who recognized what would have been

for him,

if he was still living, the equivalent of the amount of time that both


and Martin lived before being assassinated, thirty-nine years.

Tupac embodied all of the attributes needed to


and influence the masses through a Hip-Hop medium, positively or


politically or otherwise. He was

intelligent. He was

articulate. He had firsthand

knowledge of the struggle, trials and tribulations suffered and endured

by his

community. Nor was he scared. And

he had the ability to capture the

ears and more importantly the hearts of rambunctious youth who could


with him. Hell, he single-handedly

waged war against a coast, which caused uproar in the country, purposely


and incited by the media and supported and defended by individuals whom


only knew from his music. Just

imagine if he would have lived long enough to influence, we the people,


funnel that same amount of energy into a cause that would have directly

benefited our community? I’m

certain the thought alone in the mind of the wicked, would have been

enough to

kill him. Reminds me of the scene

in Spike Lee’s movie depicting the life story of Brother Malcolm when

the cop

mumbled, “that’s too much power for one man to have.”

I want them to love me like they love Pac.

I pray there is a Hip-Hop artist out here, or

more than

one, at least I’m hopeful, who could ask the question as Tupac once did,

in a

manner that only he could, “Tell me, can you feel me” and have the

people answer

in unison, “yes.” When I answered

yes to Tupac, I simply was saying that I feel his pain because the face


familiar to the one I’ve seen and I was moved by the passion he used to


his message. Also, I could feel his

joy because I aspire for the same happiness. Either

way, I felt something. Which entail, motivated

me to do

something. This makes me think of a

quote from the great Maya Angelou which simply states, “I’ve learned

that people

will forget what you say to them, people will forget what you did, but


will never forget how you make them feel.”

I reference that because admittedly there are many other artists

that I

can quote lyrics from because they’ve said some pretty cool things, even

more so

than Pac, but none have been able to invoke the same emotion in me as

him. And I’m positive that I’m not the only

person who feels that way. Those of

us who argue that Tupac is the greatest of all time (which I have in the


are often basing that decision on how he made us feel through his music

and not

necessarily how his lyrics were composed; which is twofold, because it

makes a

person argument strong with passion and conviction, but weak in


almost like religion. Frankly put,

Tupac had a voice and a candid

ability to communicate and relate to people.

Black male misunderstood, but it’s still all


Even through his complexities, we didn’t see

contradictions, instead we saw his honesty. Sometimes

he spoke as a Black activist

and other times he spoke as a Black gangster, simply put, depending on


situation and the message he wanted to convey and the audience he was


to, he spoke accordingly. Two

things that great orators should know and Tupac was a master of are (1)


and (2) the audience they’re speaking to.

It didn’t appear to be an audience that Tupac could not


with. He was intelligent enough to

talk to the “intellects” and smart enough to talk to the “thugs.” Though he wasn’t from the “streets” he

was still comfortable enough to maneuver there while engaging the most

disenfranchised in a comprehensible manner about some of the most


subject matter such as politics, religion, police brutality and other


ills affecting the community in which they lived. In

addition to all of that, he had the

knowledge and the wherewithal based on the likes of the strong minded

individuals he had the privilege to learn from directly, who had already


the work to politicize and strengthen our community with Afrocentricity


Black Nationalism, through movements such as the Black Panther Party and

others. So when I ponder the

question, when will Hip-Hop return to politics, with the hopes of being

able to

influence change? It saddens me to

say that Tupac appeared to be the only one who could have pulled it off. Then I’m comforted by his words when he

promised that “he may not change the world, but he guarantees that he

sparks the

mind that will.” Since his death,

there have been many who adorned the bandanna around their head and got


across their stomach, but failed miserably at trying to reincarnate


because what they lack isn’t the appearance, but instead his spirit and


gift. Maybe if they stopped trying

to be him and just be inspired by him, one of his last premonitions

could come

to fruition which will be for the betterment of us all. Who

will that be?