"When was the last time anyone told you how important you are? Did you know people stood on auction blocks and were bought and sold so that you could stay alive today?" ~Dr. Maya Angelou to Tupac Shakur on the set of Poetic Justice
On September 13, 1996, a generation said good-bye to a legend. In his 25 years, Tupac Amaru Shakur shaped the last decade of the 20th century. Twenty-one years after his death, his presence continues to be felt.
Tupac rose to prominence in 1991 as a rap artist giving voice to urban communities being decimated by politicians, unjust laws, and drugs. A product of the 1970s social justice movements, Tupac became the voice of Generation X during his lifetime. In the years since his unsolved murder, many regard him as one of our greatest prophets and visionaries. He became Hip Hop’s burden bearer. A trailblazer who unapologetically represented for the culture.
Before there was a Black Lives Matter movement or Nazi rallies in American streets, Tupac spoke truth that is coming to light over 20 years later. He offered perspectives that were difficult for the Greatest Generation and Boomers to hear, but resonated with those who came of age in the 80s and 90s. Through his lyrics and interviews, he offered insights that have aged well and even gained relevancy over time.
In the decades since his death, Tupac’s legend has grown to epic proportions. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all times. His professional career lasted only five short years, but his body of work has garnered a number of accomplishments including induction in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Tupac has sold over 75 million records worldwide, and his song “Changes” was one of 12 released by the seat of the Catholic Church for their website’s streaming web service.
Tupac’s legacy continues to influence every aspect of Hip Hop culture, including Hip Hop Therapy, Wellness, and Knowledge. Throughout his life and career, he spoke from the heart with unmatched passion, in and out of the studio. As a result, he left the world with quotes that continue to push us to be great. As we remember Tupac Amaru Shakur on the anniversary of his passing, check out 13 of his greatest quotes:
- “They have money for wars but can’t feed the poor.”
- “Everybody’s taught that from school, everywhere, big business. You wanna be successful? You wanna be like Trump? Gimme, gimme, gimme, push, push, push, push, step, step, step, crush, crush, crush.”
- “If the church took half the money they was making and gave it back to the community, we’d be alright.”
- “During your life, never stop dreaming. No one can take away your dreams.”
- “T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E.” (The Hate You Gave Little Infants F**** Everybody)
- “I got love for my brother, but we can never go nowhere unless we share with each other. We gotta start making changes. Learn to see me as a brother instead of two distant strangers.”
- “Don’t wanna make excuses ‘cause this is how it is. Unless we shootin, no one notices the youth. It’s just me against the world.”
- “It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes. Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live, and let’s change the way we treat each other. You see, the old way wasn’t workin’ so it’s on us to do what we gotta do to survive.”
- “We turn words into money.”
- “And although it seems heaven sent, we ain’t ready to see a Black president.”
- “When will I finally get to rest through this oppression? They punish the people that’s askin’ questions. And those that possess, steal from the ones without possessions.”
- “I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.”
- “The message I stress, to make it stop, study your lessons. Don’t settle for less, even the genius asks his questions. Be grateful for blessings. Don’t ever change, keep your essence. The power is in the people and politics we address.”
Rest in peace to the rose that grew from concrete.