Happy Birthday, Tupac — Here’s What You Left Behind

By Rahman Dukes

Tupac Shakur‘s physical being may have left the earth well over a decade ago but his spirit remains stronger than ever. Today would have been the iconic rapper’s 38th birthday, and if you didn’t know any better you’d probably let the media convince you that ‘Pac was spotted out somewhere celebrating it. Seriously.

It was only weeks ago that a recent photo of a man looking like ‘Pac surfaced on the Web, once again igniting the tired rumors that Mr. Shakur is not deceased and freely walking the streets of L.A. Stop it. Afeni wants her son to rest in peace.

The one thing that will never die is ‘Pac’s soul. I think my position on Tupac sometimes gets misconstrued. In the beginning I was one of his biggest ‘Pac fans, pre-”Juice.” But after a few silver screen appearances (plus that whole rap case drama), homie transformed into another individual I wasn’t quite feeling. I’m a huge East Coast hip-hop connoisseur and the way he was going in on B.I.G., Nas, Jay and the Mobb caused a divide amongst fans (the line about Prodigy’s sickle cell — “N—a you’re barely livin, don’t you got sickle cell? See me have a seizure on stage, you ain’t feeling well” — remains one of the most ignorant disses of all time). Despite the potshots he lobbed at the New York giants, ‘Pac is still considered by many to be the greatest MC ever. B.I.G. gets my vote, but if my girl had her way today would probably be a national holiday to salute arguably the most controversial rapper ever.

In honor of Mr. Shakur, I’ve outlined the top five trends he left behind.

» Stomach tattoos (Nas’ “God’s Son,” the Game)

» Performing shirtless to show off your abs (50 Cent, Ja Rule, DMX, you name it)

» Dis records aimed at rappers’ girlfriends (Jay-Z’s “Super Ugly” dis at Nas)

» Double albums (Biggie’s Life After Death, Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Eightball’s Lost)

» Military/war raps (Nas, 50 Cent, Capone N Noreaga … you name it.)

With that being said, I’d like to tip my hat to you, ‘Pac. Happy born day. Your memory lives on.