Monday, April 25, 2005

Because it was sunny....

my mood improved. Does that not prove that I have SAD!!???

Watched Tupac Shakur: Resurrection last night. Did you know his mother was an active Black Panther? Sophisticated, smart, articulate, passionate, outspoken... and ultimately poor. So poor that despair just rode in and hitched its wagon to her life.

By the time Tupac grew up, she became addicted to crack. Crack!

The ghetto robbed her of her spirit.

Tupac expresses so much of that life and angst in his lyrics. His rap is easy to listen to. He's complex - hard to categorize, to accept or reject. What struck me about the movie is that it was almost entirely his own words. The editing managed to piece together a narrative relying solely on his interviews. Powerful.

The "night side" of history is still making me depressed. We watched "The Little House on the Prairie" and saw with greater clarity the backhanded treatment of the Native Americans. My professor said we made and broke 257 treaties with the Native Americans. Is it any wonder they'd like some reparations?

I think everyone should have to give at least a year to hearing blacks and Native Americans express reality from where they live.

Here are Tupac's lyrics about his mother:

Dear Mama

You are appreciated...

When I was young, me and my mama had beef
17 years old kicked out on tha streets
though back in tha time, I never thought I'd see her face
ain't a woman alive that can take my momma's place
suspended from school, scared ta go home
I was a fool with tha big boys breaking all tha rules
shed tears with my baby sister
over tha years we wuz poorer than tha other little kids
and even though we had different daddies
tha same drama when things went wrong we blamed mama
I reminised on tha stress I caused, it wuz hell
hugg'en on my mama from a jail cell
and who'ed think in elementary, heeeey i'd see tha penitentiary
One day
running from tha Police, that's right
Momma catch me--put a whoop'en to my backside
and even as a crack fiend mama,
ya always was a black queen mama
I finally understand for a woman
it ain't easy--trying ta raise a man
ya always wuz commited, a poor single mother on welfare,
tell me how ya did it
there's no way I can pay ya back
but tha plan is ta show ya that I understand.
you are appreciated......

Laaaaady, don't cha know we luv ya
Sweeeet Laaaady, place no one above ya
Sweeeet Laaaady, don't cha know we luv ya

Ain't nobody tell us it wuz fair
no luv for my daddy, cause tha coward wuzn't there
he passed away and I didn't cry
cause my anger, wouldn't let me feel for a stranger
they say i'm wrong and i'm heartless
but all along I wuz looking for a father--he wuz gone
I hung around with tha thug's and even though they sold drugs
they showed a young brother luv
I moved out and started really hang'in
I needed money of my own so I started slang'in
I ain't guilty cause, even though I sell rocks
It feels good, putting money in your mailbox
I love paying rent when tha rents due
I hope ya got tha diamond necklace that I sent to you
cause when I wuz low, you was there for me
ya never left me alone, cause ya cared for me
and I can see ya coming home after work late
ya in tha kitchen trying ta fix us a hot plate
just working with tha scraps you wuz given
and mama made miracles every Thanksgiving
but now tha road got rough, your alone
trying ta raise two bad kids on your own
and there's no way I can pay ya back
but my plan is ta show ya that I understand
you are appreciated.....

Laaaaady, don't cha know we luv ya
Sweeeet Laaaady, place no one above ya
Sweeeet Laaaady, don't cha know we luv ya

pour out some liquor and I remenise
cause through tha drama, I can always depend on my mama
and when it seems that i'm hopeless
you say tha words that can get me back in focus
when I wuz sick as a little kid
ta keep me happy theres no limit to tha things ya did
and all my childhood memories
are full of all tha sweet things ya did for me
and even though I act craaaazy
I got ta thank tha Lord that ya maaaade me
There are no words that can express how I feel
Ya never kept a secret, always stayed real
and I appreciate how ya raised me
and all tha extra love that ya gave me
I wish I could take tha pain away
If you can make it through tha night, there's a brighter day
everything'll be alright if ya hold on
it's a struggle
everyday gotta roll on
and there's no way I can pay ya back
but my plan is ta show ya that I understand
you are appreciated.......

Laaaaady, don't cha know we luv ya
Sweeeet Laaaady, place no one above ya
Sweeeet Laaaady, don't cha know we luv ya, Sweeeet Laaaady


(Tupac Shakur)


my15minutes said...

Love those lyrics. I'm sure I've probably heard something by Tupac, but I'm not familiar with him (other than knowing that he died tragically young). What put you on his trail?

julieunplugged said...

My black theology class of course. :) This week we're looking at hip hop and black culture as well as the role of faith in hip hop lyrics. Really interesting. Makes me want to start collecting rap albums! :)

Tupac was shot five times in Las Vegas and livedin critical condition for a week and then died at age 25. Truly tragic.

His story is worth viewing.

Dave said...

Wow Julie, you put forth a very complex figure by introducing Tupac into the discussion. I have been aware of his music, image and influence for a number of years, going back to when he was still alive and making headlines as an emerging star in the gangsta rap scene. Though I don't hear young people speak about him as much these days (2Pac is "old skool" by now), back in the day he was viewed reverentially by most of the clients I work with in residential treatment.

For the most part, he and his colleagues were seen as a very negative influence and overall, my assessment of him is that his was a misguided talent. But I have come to respect and appreciate him more as I've looked into his story and lyrics.

How much of 2Pac have you listened to - for every "Dear Mama," you will find a few tracks like "Wonda Why They Call U Bitch," "Whatz Ya Phone #" and "Run Tha Streetz" which, to put it mildly, don't present a very respectful regard for women.

I wish he had the chance to grow into adult maturity, and I don't hold it against him that he provides a negative role model to many at-risk youth who want to emulate his lifestyle and values (even though they haven't had anything close to the hard knocks life he did.)

Like I say, Tupac Shakur is quite a complicated man and his impact on culture doesn't easily reduce to a simple thumbs up, thumbs down appraisal, at least for me.

julieunplugged said...

Dave, you are right that he is complex and often viewed negatively. I can see why.

I am doing an oral report with two twenty-somethings tomorrow night. Both have all of his CDs and one of them said to me that Tupac has songs with meaning and party songs. He feels that the movie Resurrection doesn't present a balanced picture of Tupac (which means that there is more bad to come out since that movie felt more like an apologetic for his life and work).

We are reading about hip hop and the social commentary it began as (but has morphed into something else in the popular culture).

Hope to post more about this soon. I'm with you - I don't know what to make of his impact. Too early for me to tell. But clearly he was a genius in his genre and had a potent voice.


ShoeHound said...

When I do my music unit, I have the kids sign a contract that says they must be objective when listening to all types of music. I also sign it which is very hard for me. I have to say, I am not a fan of Tupac. Many of my kids love him to this day. I smile and nod, but I just can't get into him. But, I do appreciate his talent.