This written task consists of an interview with
Tupac, a prominent rapper who is known for his raps about racism and about the
black lifestyle. I have opted for this type of writing style in order to give
the reader a personal reflection into the life of Tupac, since an interview
combines spontaneity in the interviewee’s answers with follow-through questions
by the interviewer (myself); this has enabled me to shed light on particular
areas of Tupac’s life that were revealed for the first time.
In addition to discussing Tupac’s childhood,
this written task touches upon the use of African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) in his songs which makes
them as impactful as they are. It also shows how Tupac makes use of his own unique
dialect to convey a powerful message to his fans and to try and influence their
views on the African American community.
this written task sheds light on the particulars of the community that Tupac
lived in and his own views on the state of affairs of the African American
Community, through the lyrics, style and dialect of his songs.
In this written task, Tupac’s responses have been edited for
clarity and some formality to fit the standards of a structured interview.
Word Count: 206
An exclusive interview with Tupac:
Interviewer: Thank you for being with us today,
it is truly an honor. How are you today?
Tupac: It’s my pleasure.
I’m doing well thank you.
Interviewer: It is no secret that you have been
victim to countless conflicts and hardships in your life; but is there any
specific event that stands out, that hurts more than the rest?
Tupac: I lived an
overwhelmingly sad childhood filled with unordinary events that a child isn’t supposed
to witness. From the legion of crimes within the community I was raised in, to
the numerous quarrels in my household, the roadblocks I faced in my early life
were just immeasurable. For one, my stepfather was a source of permanent
distress and uneasiness at home. You see, he was on the FBI’s list of the 10
Most Wanted Fugitives. He was eventually imprisoned for murder in addition to
involvement in several robberies, and it was honestly a relief that he was put
away. But it was probably the most horrible part of a life consistently
intertwined with violence and crime; heart breaking for the child I was, but I
eventually got used to this lifestyle.
Interviewer: Most of your songs describe scenes
that seem to reflect the hardships you’ve experienced in your life; would you
say that your music is a form of self-expression, a depiction of your own
identity? Are you the person you describe in your songs?
Tupac: I see rapping and singing as a matchless
way to express myself and to describe my crime- and violence-infected life. At
the same time, I think that my songs speak for the thousands of people from my
community who have lived or known similar experiences, and my songs go to them
as much as they are about me. You know something, I started at the very bottom,
and I was fortunate enough to be able to turn my hardships into the elements
that caused my success. It all started about me, but now it’s about many more.
That’s what my music means.
Interviewer: Your song “My Block” seems to be
exactly that, it tells about your innermost feelings, doesn’t it? Would you
share with us your choice of lyrics, and was going on inside of you when you
Tupac: “My Block” is a
depiction of my struggles. It was about everyday life in my neighborhood:
gunshots were common, violence and crimes were the norm, and at some instances
I was actually a witness. The first time I saw a man getting shot in front of
me left me scarred forever, even though I witnessed several other such
incidents later in my life. We lived in constant anxiety and worry, always
wondering who is going to die next. One of the lines in the song goes: “A
single mother with a problem child, daddy free.” This highlights the dreadful
truth about the split and chaotic household I grew up in, as was the case with
thousands of children like me. My primary intention therefore was to instill
hope in anyone listening to my songs. My songs are tied to my roots, my
African-American roots, and I do my best to be truthful to my roots no matter
how hard and dark they could be. This is who I am, this is my true identity,
and I do not try to hide it. My songs reflect my dialect; we say “gon” instead
of “going to” and “ima” instead of “I’m going to”. That’s how we say it, and
I’m proud of it.
Interviewer: How do you feel about the
discrimination against the black lives, and all the buzz about this? Do you
have hope that this situation will one day change?
Tupac: As I said in my
song “Changes”, I currently see no change to this unfortunate situation, I am
not too optimistic, to be completely honest. However my hope will never die, we
should never lose hope. In the second verse, I rap: “I see no changes. All I
see is racist faces. Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races we under. I wonder
what it takes to make this one better place.” Here I describe the situation,
and I call for change. Being a well-known African American that my fellow
people relate to, it is my duty to spark a change and constantly call for hope;
my people desperate need it. Most and foremost, I need to be truthful to my
identity as an African American; and we should not sugar coat the situation: we
are being discriminated against, and I have to reflect that in my songs. At the
same time however, I am urging my listeners to keep hope, to persist, never to
give up, to always strive for what they aspire to. Those are the messages that
I actively try to spread through my music. My music therefore serves more than
one purpose, but one of the key incentives is my knowledge that I can project
positive messages through my work and instill hope in whoever is willing to
Interviewer: This is really inspirational, and
your music travels well beyond the boundaries of the Afro-American Community to
whom and about whom you sing. I am personally a big fan. Your success, your
rise from the bottom to the top of the rap game, is truly impressive. It is
truly outstanding how you could turn your miseries into one of the greatest
Tupac: I believe that
anybody can do something in life, even if he or she comes from an impossible
background like mine. This is the other message that I want to convey to all
people everywhere. You are not, and should never accept to be, a victim of your
Interviewer: This is fascinating. Thank you
again for being with us today, it was a real honor. I wish you the best of luck
in your future projects.
Tupac: Thank you, the pleasure was all mine.
Word Count: 990
“2Pac – My
Block.” Genius. N.p., 15 Aug. 1995. Web. 10 May 2017.
(Ft. Talent) – Changes.” Genius. N.p., 13 Oct. 1998. Web.
10 May 2017.