5 Christian rappers who were influenced by Tupac
Tupac Shakur, one of the most influential artists in hip-hop history, would have turned 45 today if he were still alive. To capture some of that influence, Rapzilla gathered five examples of Tupac’s influence on Christian emcees — although there could have been far more.
1. In 2013, HipHopDX asked Lecrae what the term “revolutionary” means to him and why he desired to be one.
“A revolutionary is a change agent,” Lecrae said, “and that’s really what I’m about. I’m about change. Hip hop has always been a social platform for change. If you think about any other form of music, we’re not really interested in One Direction’s backstory. But we want the backstory of people like Eminem and Jay [Z] because of the struggle and that sense of progress. That’s what hip hop has always been about, and that’s why there’s no better tool to use than hip-hop music to be a revolutionary. It allows you to be a change agent to talk about how our communities can be better and how life can be better.
“My mother, who was influenced by the Black Panthers, raised me. I was made to read all kind of revolutionary books as a kid. What 12-year-old do you know that sits and reads The Autobiography of Malcolm X? So that’s how I came up, and that’s why Tupac resonated with me so much. As gangster and thuggish as he was, he still wanted to be revolutionary. And that’s how I am. As clean and wholesome as I may be, I’m a revolutionary man. I want change to happen.”
2. Derek Minor (who was then known as PRO) named Tupac in his 2010 Redemption track “Know You”.
See I grew up like “screw the world,” it’s me against it
And if it’s life after death, then I don’t wanna live it
So confused man, 2Pac he discipled me, Biggie he made me classy
In a fatherless household, hip-hop became my pappy
3. In a 2004 interview, Rapzilla asked Reconcile what was missing in Christian hip hop, and he said, if anything, it was Tupac-like communication ability.
“The thing that stood out about people like Tupac was his ability to connect with the listener emotionally,” Reconcile said. “Whether I agreed with what he was saying at any given point was really irrelevant. I felt him!”
4. In a 2015 interview, Json said artists like Tupac, Scarface and Nas influenced his musical style and high regard of storytelling.
“They were content-driven,” Json said. “The current climate is melody-driven — not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
5. And just last year, Andy Mineo named Tupac in the hook of his Uncomfortable song “Vendetta”. “‘Pac did a lot more for me than Barack.’ Well, some people have been taking that literal, like I have some vendetta against Barack Obama, but that’s not the case,” Mineo explained on Rap Genius.
“You know, as a writer, I’m using archetypes to communicate big ideas. So Tupac is a hip-hop icon, and Barack is an icon for the new generation in politics and the structure in government. So I was just saying that hip-hop culture has done a lot more for me than the government has. As you hear in more in the lines, the artist are the ones who can connect with the heart of people. Because we speak honestly, we speak the language of the people.”