2Pac’s Lyrical Themes and Influence on Rappers (2024)

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Rap music is one of the most diverse genres you can possibly come across, and we know that some of the most highly-respected rappers of all time (including the great 2Pac) have a history of creating impressive and almost poetic lyrics. Rap has a wide variety of different subgenres which may have their own lyrical themes, but in 2Pac’s music, there are certain themes we see time and time again.

Legends of rap including 2Pac and Biggie Smalls gave us some of these themes, and others date back even further than that, to the very first rappers in the 1980s.

2Pac had some songs that really tugged at the heartstrings, with tracks like Unconditional Love leaving a lump in the throat, and plenty of other lyrics dealing with love and romance (sometimes indirectly). Different hip-hop subcultures and subgenres have their own themes, and some focus more on the emotional aspects of life, including relationships. Rap songs talk about things like the excitement of meeting somebody new and falling in love, the journey through love, or even heartbreak.

Rappers don’t hold a monopoly on this, of course, and musicians of all kinds focus on relationships and heartbreak, which is a tale as old as time. Since music began (even before recording lyrics was common) songs were written inspired by the feelings of love and relationships.

Hip-hop breakup songs are something that potentially helps people through tough times, too. Heartbreak inspires musicians and artists of all kinds and has given us some of the best rapping we’ve ever seen. Stereotypically, some people think that rappers tend to deal with shallow topics, but they couldn’t be more wrong, with loads of rappers diving into matters of the heart, and 2Pac was one of the best at doing so.

2Pac is associated with West Coast Rap and has a strong sense of identity running through the music, including talking about his upbringing and family in tracks like Dear Mama. Rap music tends to come from certain locations around the world, and this can form a strong sense of community and identity, though people may think of America as the home of rap, there are a lot of other subgenres all over the world, including rap scenes in the UK, Asia, and elsewhere around the globe.

Rappers tend to have a strong idea of where they are from and the background they have, including the rappers who pioneered the genre and the people who forged a path for them to follow. Lots of musicians, producers, and people who made rap what it is today have come from difficult paths and this helps to build a strong sense of identity and community within the rap scene.

See Also 11 Rap Songs To Listen To While You're High

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2Pac even famously wrote a song that is entitled “Fame” and this is something he and many other rappers talk about a lot. Rappers tend to talk about fame in one way or another, some of them don’t seem to be too pleased about fame, while some other rappers are keen to be as well-known as popular. All Eyez on Me is one of 2Pac’s tracks that deal with fame and the attention this brings.

Rappers in the 1990s including 2Pac and Biggie had a mixed relationship with fame, fame usually means success for rappers, which means that they are getting sales, living the life that they want, and getting people to come to their shows, but fame isn’t always the most simple thing, and fame-based tracks like Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems by 2Pac’s contemporary, The Notorious B.I.G., show that it can be a double-edged sword for some.

You probably already know that there are a huge number of rappers who like to get involved in the nightlife scene, and many rappers talk about their exciting nights out, often painting an image of jumping in a limo and heading to a casino or nightclub. 2Pac was no different, and many of his songs talk about the nightlife of the 80s and 90s, he even rapped on a track with Snoop where the lyrics were “My dream is to own a fly casino”.

A lot of rappers are known to walk the walk as well as talk the talk, such as Drake, someone who is a big fan of 2Pac and his influence, and even owns jewelry once owned by the star. Drake is also not afraid to share betting slips and other examples of nightlife and online betting including playing cash casino games.

Hitting the nightclub after a show, or heading to the casino, is part of a stereotype about rappers, but it is certainly something loads of musicians get involved with, including 2Pac, there are even specific music and rap-themed casino games in some instances! Casino gaming and nightlife being such a big part of rapping and the culture, it is inevitable that this creeps into the lyrics.

Music can cover virtually any subject you can imagine, but there are themes associated with certain genres, and most people who listen to rap music will know that things like heartbreak, fame, nightlife, and more can lead to some of the most interesting topics for rapping. 2Pac is seen as one of the founding fathers of the genre, along with many of the early 90s stars, and his lyrics have been the foundation of a lot of rapping themes.

Without flow and a well-produced track behind it, of course, it isn’t worth much, but the best rappers tend to be known for their great lyrics which are relatable for the average member of society; one of the reasons they can be so popular.

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2Pac’s Lyrical Themes and Influence on Rappers (2024)


How did Tupac influence rap? ›

Tupac was one of the first hip hop artists to incorporate elements of soul, funk, and jazz into his songs, and his influence can be seen in the music of current artists who combine different musical genres in their work.

What was Tupac's poetry mainly about? ›

Tupac Amaru Shakur was a well-known artist that used his platform to depict African- American discrimination in society. Through his poetry he raised the issues of black oppression, white supremacy, police brutality while maintaining a stereotypical view of women.

What is Tupac's rap style? ›

Tupac Shakur
GenresWest Coast hip hop political hip hop gangsta rap
DiscographyTupac Shakur discography
LabelsInterscope Death Row
Formerly ofDigital Underground Thug Life Outlawz
16 more rows

What impact did Tupac's death have on society? ›

“His death caused people to really magnify what he was doing musically and when they saw it, they were like, 'Oh my Lord,'” said Greg Mack, a radio programmer who helped bring hip-hop music into the mainstream on the West Coast. “We didn't know that's who we had.”

What is the Tupac effect? ›

The “Tupac effect” is subsequently used for any rap artist of note who meets an untimely demise, including the Notorious B.I.G. (Born Again), Big Pun (Endangered Species), Big L (The Big Picture), and J Dilla (Jay Stay Paid). 8. He recorded a staggering amount of material.

What made Tupac a great rapper? ›

Tupac was best known for raw lyrics laced with violence, sex and profanity describing life in the ghetto. Widely regarded as one of rap music's greatest and most versatile artists, he rose from a childhood of poverty in Harlem to become a bestseller.

What artists did Tupac inspire? ›

  • Kendrick Lamar.
  • Lil Boosie.
  • Lil Wayne.
  • DMX.
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton reminded him of Tupac)
  • Eminem.
Jul 24, 2023

What is Tupac's music known for? ›

Tupac Shakur's music often glorified the violent, misogynistic, drug-filled “thug life” led by many 1990s gangsta rappers. However, several of Shakur's songs signaled the bleak and racist reality of the ghetto that forced black youth down that path.

Who were Tupac's greatest influences? ›

  • Ice Cube.
  • Kool Moe Dee.
  • Roger.
  • Slick Rick.
  • Schoolly D.
  • George Clinton.
  • Digital Underground.
  • Play the complete artist's influences playlist!

What was Tupac's last word? ›

Tupac's Alleged Last Words Before His Death: "F--k You" - IMDb. Some may not find this surprising. It's been nearly 18 years since the world said goodbye to legendary rapper Tupac Shakur, however new information about his death continue to be released.

Who is the king of rap? ›

Jay-ZKing of RapUnited States
JayaPhilippine Queen of SoulPhilippines
Noor JehanQueen of MelodyPakistan
Cui JianGrandfather of Chinese RockChina
14 more rows

What was rap influenced by? ›

A great number of different people contributed to the birth of hip hop, most especially R&B, funk, soul, jazz, and rock and roll performers and musicians.

How did Tupac influence Kendrick Lamar? ›

Tupac inspired me just the simple way of how he put his words together,” Lamar said. “You really felt them, you felt the passion behind them. They meant something, not only to him, but when you heard it, you actually got a full experience rather than just words. You actually felt his words.

Was Eminem influenced by Tupac? ›

Eminem was a big fan of Tupac and often listened to his song as an inspiration.

What inspired rap music? ›

Precursors to modern rap music include the West African griot tradition, certain vocal styles of blues and jazz, an African-American insult game called playing the dozens (see Battle rap and Diss), and 1960s African-American poetry.

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