The Triumph Of Thug Life
Dedicated to Lakeesha Malone and Kim Jackson
This past Sunday Dr. Dre and Snoop Doog achieved an impossible: they brought Tupac Shakur back to life! Using hologram technology, the musicians have awakened a level of consciousness that many would argue died with Tupac. However, the performance at Coachella 2012 is not merely an extension of Tupac’s legacy, but changes the reality of life and death.
History has been made. My own memories of this phenomenon began yesterday morning and I predict that it will move me for years to come. Between the realistic presence (of Tupac) that the hologram captures and the unthinkable collaboration that Snoop reinvents, I’m obsessed with the new conditions of death. For men and womyn alike—a feat due to the misogyny of Hip Hip—Tupac in his lifetime inspired people to keep living. Since he served such a spiritual role, the actions of Snoop and Dre are intensified on the historical level.
When I watch the performance, my mother and womyn like her come to mind. My mother gave birth to me in 1992 as a teenager; before her devotion to Christianity, there was Tupac’s “Brenda’s Got a Baby” and “Keep Ya Head Up”. These two songs in particular gave her direction, which she pursued with the fiery spirit of Tupac. So I think about death: when an individual’s life ends, the reflection of that individual’s labor intensifies their power, their ability to converse with the emotions of another.
Perhaps the world can witness Tupac impart knowledge once more, with the same amount of charisma that he left behind in 1996. If not, I can imagine a mass revisit of Tupac’s music, lyrics and poems. Whatever the means of this renaissance, I feel that the continued struggle of political prisoners, both outside and inside the prison system, will find relevant direction. No one can doubt that Tupac initiated this new epoch of knowledge for people of subjugation. Post-modern racism, sexism, and other isms are the trials of a THUG LIFE.