SANYIKA SHAKUR contemplates Thug Life
This, the shooting death of my dear friend Tupac, is beyond being explained away with a simple cliché such as “Live by the sword, die by the sword.” These sorts of excuses are invoked by the tepid in order to overstand (fully realize) the actuality of our existence here in amerika – and, subsequently, the virtual stranglehold that this entails.
Collectively, we are dying a slow, agonizing death, almost as if by strangulation. Such a death as strangulation, ending with suffocation, is a terrible way to die. So, rather than face forward, seemingly leaning into the clutching palms of this hostile force, we tend by some atavistic character defect to turn and run backwards, We run headlong in the direction opposite of progress towards some nonexistent nostalgic Utopia. And in order to attach some sense of logic to this abnormal behaviour, we parrot inane cliches which consequently (supposedly) absolve our foolishness – cliches such as “the good ol’ days”,”back in the day”, etc. This form of dementia was coined “colonial warfare mental disorder” by Dr Franz Fanon. As a colonized nation, we suffer en masse the effects of such conditioning.
In his material, Tupac did not so much prophesy his own death as the slow, agonizing death of us all. On fist glance it would appear that Pac, with his lyrical fusillade, had the uncanny ability to foretell coming events, as if indeed he were an adept of some esoteric theosophy. And, in all honesty, he did tend to buzz about as if he alone were privy to some deep secret that would soon unveil itself. However, upon closer examination of his material and indeed his actions, it would appear that he was just in tune to the maniacal machinations of this menacing society. And, as a consequence of his overstanding this, he chose to be a formidable menace himself. A menace to the society – of which he was keenly aware – that activated thuggery on every level.
Tupac was, and recognized himself to be, an outlaw. Every colonial subject must reconcile themselves with one day becoming an outlaw; it is the nature of the threat to create laws to exclude us. Pac functioned outside of established law because he overstood that amerika as an empire was founded on gangsterism – that, in fact, amerika is a gangster nation headed up by international thugs. He had no respect for them, for to recognize their legitimacy or even the legality of the amerikan empire would be tantamount to condoning. Our national oppression, therefore – every law the empire instituted – Pac clearly, often violently, opposed.
And to further antagonize the already tenuous relationship between the colonizer and the colonized rebel. Pac began his own peculiar form of thuggery and called it Thug Life. Thus by dint of practicality and symolistic activation, millions were awakened to its existence. Unlike the amerikan thugs, who veiled their criminal activity in well-to-do cloaks of “democracy,” etc. Pac flaunted his, and the people responded with overstanding.
Without a doubt, Pac was a rider, a courageous young brother and a street soldier who represented what he wrote about. He was not simply a “camera” which recorded a scene and relayed it. He was a practitioner of his prose. Perhaps if he had been butr a studio gangsta, a wax banger like most, he would still be among us physically. However – and ironically – his death is testament to his authenticity. A most unfortuante way to prove a point.
Languishing here as I do, having incurred the extreme disfavour of my captors, there is no access to electronic appliances, newspapers, magazines, etc. It is utterly frustrating, therefore, having to rely on unsure sources of crucial data. Although Pac was shoth on the seventh of September, it wasn’t until the 11th that a corrections officer came to me and said, “You know they shot your boy, huh?” I asked whom he was referring to and he said, “Tupac Shakur.” When I pressed for details, he had none to offer. I slid back into my darkened cell and paced the curt space. Like most, my thoughts went to the East Coast and I knew, just like in the early ;80s when another lethal conflict took my youth, that I’d have to administer some of my military expertise to quell this threat. And it’s ironic, really, in two ways, because I told Pac that this thing was getting too hostile – that either he had to smash his foes or they’d smash him. Now it seems, however, that Pac was shot by some indigenous Westerners. Crips, the word is. Is there then a possible connection with the earlier brawl in the MGM parking lot, which was with some South Side Compton Crips, and Suge Knight’s Piru affiliation? Did Pac underestimate the nature of indigenous Westerners thru some Death Row-orchestrated illusion? We are left to contemplate these issues.
Although Pac was a bona fide street soldier, it’s obvious that his actions as of late in conjunction with Death Row had taken him out of his element. Most, if not all, of his former connections with Cato and Mental’s homies from the Inglewood Village Crips had been cut. And it was obvious – even before he’d gotten the MOB tattoo – that he was leaning dangerously close to the Piru Mob in Compton. The initial clash (and here I’m merely speculating) could have occured as a consequence of Red and Blue rivalries, which again would have taken Pac out of his element.
As it happened, I was notified of his death about 10:30 pm. The C/O simply said, “Oh, yeah, Tupac passed away today at 4:03 pm.” I sent my thoughts for his spirit to the ancestors and felt comfortable in their infinite wisdom to accept him warmly. I’m hurt, yes. He was my friend. He an I, along with Mike Tyson, exchanged many letters while we were prisoners. We had plans of constructing a youth organization of which he was the progenitor. Just Us is what he called it. Now, more than ever, Mike and I have to work to make this, his vision, live. In closing, I’m reminded of the last conversation I had with his mother, Afeni. She said, “Sanyika, it’s strange, ’cause we’ve been having such good luck lately. We’re just hoping it lasts; but at the same time we are bracing ourselves for whatever.” None of us could have envisioned it to be this hard. To Sista-Mother Afeni, your immediate family and the whole Shakur Tribe: “Keep ya head up.”
Haki Kweli Shakur 6-16-52 ADM ATC-NAPLA New Afrikan Independence Movement MOI @Haki_Kweli_Shakur Instagram FB Haki Kweli Shakur www.youtube.com/hakikwelishakur