Son of a Black Panther, Tupac Amaru Shakur was born to
fight injustice and rally for change. While other children told their teachers
that they wanted to be doctors, teachers and police officers when they grew up,
Tupac told his new pastor, Herbert Daughtry, that he wanted to be “a
revolutionary” (Golus & Gosgrove, 2006). His mother
surrounded him with strong morals and world beliefs deriving from her immersion
in the Black Panther Party. Tupac tried to understand his environment and
studied his experiences of violence and oppression when he tried to understand
the world around him. When this appetite for knowledge and a flood of
environmental conditions was presented, Tupac’s unique perspective was created.
With a poetry love and a need for a large audience, Tupac found his home in
hip-hop music. As he challenged the perception of Black America with his texts
and in interviews, his star value made him the goal of ongoing controversy and
criticism, which is still active over a decade since his death in 1996.
Traits Theories: The Big Five
According trait theorists,
characteristics or common patterns of behavior, thought and emotion are the
core components of a person’s personality. These characteristics are relatively
stable over time, and vary depending on the individual. Most importantly, these
personality traits affect the behavior. Gordon Allport defined personality: ” Personality is the dynamic organization
within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determines his unique
characteristics behaviors and thoughts” (Cloninger, 2012). According to the Big Five Inventory, there are
five main dimensions that can be used as a measure of personality: openness,
conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness
Openness(O)is defined by an inviting
attitude to new experiences, creativity, imagination and curiosity. Tupac would
rank high on the transparency dimension; He is described by many who knew him
as broad interests and tastes for all types of music and literature (Dyson,
2001). He was well-read in literature ranging from classics, history, feminist
literature, education systems, mystics, philosophy and so on. He wrote poetry
as a young teenager and channeled his creativity to rap music in his late
teens. He was curious about everything and tried to constantly understand how
the world worked and how we could do it better. His imagination is well-known,
in an interview when he made the interesting suggestion that President Ronald
Regan should help with the homeless epidemic by including some of the displaced
persons in the White House (Dyson, 2001).
Conscientiousness (C) can be defined as a lack of
impulsivity, in principle, accurate, hardworking, persistent responsible and
ambitious. Tupac would be judged moderately on this dimension. He was an
extremely basic person and driven to receive a message of reform and revolution
to the masses. He was really principled, took his work seriously and was
persistent in pursuing his musical career. He was, however, a very impulsive
person. His life was chaotic and his minute-to-minute decision was indicative
of his wild spirit. He once missed his flight to meet a young girl who he had
seen the news, which had been attacked by a dog and was at the local hospital.
His behavior was impulsive, but he continued to have a relationship with that
family to his death.
Extroversion (E) is described as the opposite
of introversion, as an outward, sociable, talkative, dominant, assertive,
external expression of a person’s personality. Tupac would be very high on this
dimension. He is described by many in this way, as a very sociable, dominant,
assertive, talkative spark of a person. He had spoken of his need to write his
music as a way for him to breathe; By putting the words on paper he could find
a release, and put his passion into something that could live beyond his time.
His sense of urgency and passion for his message is seen by his ability and
habit to write 4-7 songs a day (Dyson, 2001). Throughout, Tupac moved
extensively and used this energy and sociability to give the world during his
short career, the rock of music and a host of interviews that allow people to
continue analyzing their legacy after more than a decade.
Agreeableness is described as compatible,
trustworthy, empathetic, altruistic and modest nature. Tupac would be
considered moderately pleasant. He was extremely empathetic and felt the need
to tell the stories of all oppressed people in his music, where he was a voice
for. His altruism was uniquely boundless, he said he would bring someone to
meet him on the street, when his homes became supreme protection for all he
felt needed a hand. He was also a modest person. In his texts, there were
countless examples of explaining that he is not perfect, and not a model, just
the person who wants the world to wake up and care for young people so that a
model can be born. He noted his imperfections as he described that he was just
a product of his environment, in a world “he did not” and if someone
was insulted by their presence, they would be upset about the world in which
they live. But Tupac was all other than compatible and trusted (by authority).
He constantly urged people to resist oppression in all forms and fight for a
better future. Shakur was very opposed to compliance with all kinds of tyranny,
especially in the case of abusive law enforcement personnel.
Neurotics, characterized by emotional instability, anxiety,
hostility, depression and vulnerability, explain much of Tupac’s emotional
state. Although he could become a successful musician, he was in a constant
state of upsetting and desperate about his environment and surrounded himself
with thoughts that he would not be on this land long. He masked a lot of this
emotionality with marijuana and alcohol and used these substances to medicate
themselves regularly. Because he was high on the neuroticism dimension and did
not lead a structured life, his emotional instability resulted in ruthless
behavior that contributed to his premature death at the age of 25.
In summary Tupac’s dynamic
personality can be thoroughly analyzed by the great information about him and
his life after his death. He can be described as a very extroverted, neurotic
and open individual with some characteristics of a very pleasant and
conscientious person. He strived to understand his environment and immerse
himself in the struggles of his peers, became susceptible to extreme violence
and high incidence of premature death in that society.
Golus, C., & Gosgrove, M.
(2006). An introduction to the life and
career of the rap artist Tupac Shakur.
Dyson, Michael Eric.(2001). Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac
Shakur. New York: Basic Civitas Books,.
Powell, Kevin. (1997). “2pacalypse Now.” Light, Alan, ed. Tupac Shakur. New York: Three Rivers.
Shakur, Tupac A. “Unconditional Love.” By Tupac Amaru Shakur. Greatest Hits. Interscope/Amaru/Death Row, 1998.