Monday, December 30, 2013

Was Tupac Amaru Shakur a Prophet?

Many people say that Tupac Shakur was a prophet that predicted his own death and several other pivotal events in American history such as the L.A. riots, but the title prophet seems to be a little far fetched doesn't it? Although Tupac is recognized as a great rapper, song writer and poet, would it be fair to elevate his status to such a dignified and important rank? Perhaps. But in order to accurately determine the answer to this question, it is first necessary to understand the definition of a prophet, and although I have my own opinion, I will not use a Western system of thinking to lead you, the reader, to my conclusion. Instead, I will rely on the true form of education. The type of education that compels the observer to draw their own conclusion based on their cognitive abilities of reasoning and logical analysis.

It is therefore neccesary to begin the examination and analytical conjecture on this question with the definition of prophet:


  1. A person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God: "the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah".
  2. (among Muslims) Muhammad.
seer - soothsayer - diviner - augur - oracle - predictor

We can see that, according to this definition, a prophet is not only someone who has the ability to "see" or "divine" the future, they must also claim to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and to speak for them.

However, these are not the only qualitatively-specific characteristics of a prophet. One must also consider the fact that various religious institutions have individually-unique prerequisites for this title. For example, in the Christian faith, a prophet is considered to be someone who is commissioned by God to deliver a message for a specific purpose. Generally, this purpose must not include the elevation of an individual for their own glory. Instead, the glory of God is exemplified, and through the prophecy, people are compelled to turn to Him. However, there are exceptions to the rule. For instance, [Elisha and John the Baptist]  were called to deliver a personal message, yet they are still considered prophets by many Christian sects.

Although this is not a religious analysis, I will examine the subject through the lens of Christianity because it is the most widespread religion in the world. The English word prophet is derived from the Greek word prophetes (profetes), which signifies, in classical Greek, one who speaks for another , especially one who speaks for a god. Therefore, in the classical sense, a prophet was an interpreter. The notion that a prophet is a predictor is a post-classical one. The Greek word prophetes (profetes) is the equivalent of the original Hebrew word navi or nabi , which signifies properly a delegate or mouthpiece of another (see Ex. vii. 1), from the general Semitic sense of the root, "to declare," "announce." Hence, when the Israelites spoke of a prophet, they were referring to a spokesperson who delivered God's messages and relayed His intentions for the world.

It is also also a common misconception that all prophets were of Jewish origin. The Talmud reports that there were prophets among the Gentiles (most notably Balaam, whose story is told in Numbers 22). The first Hebrew prophet was Moses, who is widely considered to be the greatest of all the prophets. But Moses was not only a prophet, he was also a political leader, as well as a civil and religious director. And so, herein we have a man that is a role model, brings the Law of God to the Isrealites, and delivers God's chosen people to the Promised Land. By many standards, Moses is the quintessential prophet and more. So how do you compare someone like this to a man like Tupac? 

You can't, but do you have to be "religious" or "holy" to be a prophet? Like it or not, there are prophetic truths that are delivered to nations by the most unlikely people. Tupac's message, as an adherent to the Black Panther philosophy, was one of self-determination, self-defense, morality, justice and revolution. He saw American society for what it was and is, a society of violence, corruption, injustice and social inequality. And although many of Pac's lyrics were violent in nature, his overarching goal was not to promote violence but to exemplify the way in which a violent society breeds more violence, hence, the gangster persona he took on in proclaiming the "THUG LIFE", an acronym for The Hate You Gave Little Infants Fu*c*ks Everybody. Even this gangster persona is a strategy used to enhance his popularity among the impoverished masses in order to spread his underlying messages of solidarity, struggle and survival.

In fact, THUG LIFE actually has a code of ethics behind it authored by Pac' himself. In it he delineates a code of morals for "thugs"(who can actually be more accurately described as the lumpen-proletariat class). Tupac is much like the prophet Elijah in the sense that Pac' calls for "his people" to hold themselves and their community to a higher moral standard, he demands change and he publicly defies a corrupt government, just as Elijah exhibits a public attitude of opposition to king Ahab for displeasing God, ready even to promote a revolution in order to purify morals

Throughout his career, Tupac created two different kinds of music: positive music and angrer-filled music. Upon careful analysis of nearly all of Tupac's known works, I have determined that all of Tupac's music on 2pacalypse Now was used as a vehicle to increase political awareness in undereducated youth, produce a greater sense of community and unity among Blacks, improve the family dynamic in single-parent homes and otherwise, etc. Much of his subsequent work focused on the same goals. When Tupac creates this type of music I believe he is being a spokesperson of the Almighty, which is why I consider these messages to be prophetic. 

No comments:

Post a Comment