OPINION: If Pac Were Here Now

//DAVID ROBINSON//

In 2003, Eminem paid tribute to the late, great Tupac Shakur by remaking “Hail Mary” with 50 Cent and Busta Rhymes. In the hook, Eminem says,

“Come get me

If you motherf***ers want Shady

If Pac was still here now

He would never ride with Ja

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na.”

This hook was intended to be Busta Rhymes’, Eminem’s and 50 Cent’s response to Ja Rule for remaking 2Pac’s “Pain”, but I wonder if Eminem knew that what he is saying to Ja Rule in the hook of “Hail Mary” (2003) can still be applied today when it comes to mumble rappers.

I, obviously, never got the chance to meet 2Pac, but I am sure that he must be turning over and over again in his grave at mumble rappers and mumble rap.

Today, it seems that all rappers need to do to be successful is auto-tune their voices to Hell and back and throw a catchy beat onto the song(s). The lyrics and intent/message of the music does not matter anymore. The concept of rapping being considered a talent is slowly dying because “rappers” like Lil Yachty, 21 Savage, Future and Fetty Wap are giving off the false assumption that anyone who has autotune and “a dope beat” can become a rapper.

Now, before you attack me, let me just say that I am not saying all successful rappers working in the industry today are talentless mumble rappers. J. Cole, Logic and Kendrick Lamar, for example, have proved that music with deep, thoughtful messages and lyrics can be successful; they have demonstrated that one does not need to rely on autotune or beats to make good hip-hop/rap music. If Pac were still here now, I think he would be really good friends with these two and the dozens of other talented, creative and ingenious rappers. I highly doubt that he would want to be friends with “rappers” like Lil Yachty, however who do not care about the art, history, or impact of hip-hop/rap and just want to enjoy the fame, money, success and attention.

If we examine two different rap songs, we can clearly see how twisted society’s interpretation of hip-hop/rap music has become:

“It was all a dream

I used to read Word Up magazine

Salt’n’Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine

Hangin’ pictures on my wall

Every Saturday, Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl

I let my tape rock ’til my tape pop

Smokin’ weed and bamboo, sippin’ on private stock

Way back, when I had the red and black lumberjack

With the hat to match

Remember Rappin’ Duke, duh-ha, duh-ha

You never thought that hip hop would take it this far

Now I’m in the limelight ’cause I rhyme tight.”

This song, for those of you who have never heard a real hip-hop/rap song before, is called “Juicy” (1994) by the late, great Notorious B.I.G./Biggie Smalls himself. “Juicy” is all about Biggie looking back on his life before his rise to fame; he condemns and laughs at those who doubted him, reflects on his introduction to hip-hop/rap music, describes his life and illustrates his background.

Now, let’s compare “Juicy” to Lil Yachty’s and D.R.A.M.’s “Broccoli” (2016):

Hey lil’ mama would you like to be my sunshine?

N***a, touch my gang we gon’ turn this s**t to Columbine

Ice on my neck cost me 10 times 3

30, 000 dollars for a n***a to get flee

I just hit Rodéo and I spent like 10 Gs

I just did a show and spent the check on my mama

When I go on vacay I might rent out the Bahamas

And I keep like 10 phones, damn I’m really never home

All these n***as clones tryna copy what I’m on

N***a get your own, tryna pick a n***a bone

Weight tip the scale, boy I had a good day

Metro PCS trappin’ boy I’m making plays.”

You tell me what this song is about because these lyrics make no sense to me. I am guessing “Broccoli” is about getting money and utilizing success, but I am not 100 percent sure.

Do you see what I mean? These are two songs about success from two different time periods who are supposed to be in the same genre of music and, yet, they both say two entirely different things.

It ticks me off when mumble rappers say that they were inspired by rappers like 2Pac and Biggie Smalls and then completely contradict everything that Biggie and Pac believed about hip-hop/rap in their music.

Many rappers are passionately opposed to mumble rap and some believe that it should be a subgenre of its own, but I personally believe that this type of music should not even exist. It is, by Urban Dictionary’s definition, garbage and disrespectful to black people.

I would like to repeat Eminem’s message on “Hail Mary” to all of the mumble rappers out there, “If Pac was still here now, he would never ride with ja. Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na.”

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