Let me say first, that my intention in writing this is not to convince anyone of anything, but only to give you a better idea of the man I believe Tupac to be.
Many of us know Pac’s life well & have a good established Idea of his personality, mentality & thought processes. We use this to deduce meaning out of various lyrics, interviews & so forth. Though we may often disagree on the meaning of his words, we can all agree that Tupac most definitely had a message, many messages really. What they all were & what they mean combined; well, that really remains to be fully discovered.
Another thing most of us can agree on is that Pac was a prophet of sorts; he seemed to know his fate & predicted it, among other things. Now myself, I truly believe he knew he was going to face a death. Why? Because, he himself said it, he knows what it will be like when it’s really happening, that’s how he discerned he wasn’t finished in 94’.
I have noticed a clear shift in mind state & character that occurred sometime during his imprisonment. The stress of the media & his court case combined with the conformation of his suspicions that yes, some one is most definitely trying to kill him & the fact that he knows he has a fate to face produced a kind of paranoid mind state. He knew what lay ahead, but he feared & was uncertain of it. He didn’t seem to yet understand what its purpose truly was or, how to use it. Examples of this theme/mind state can be found throughout the MATW album on songs such as “If I Die 2Nite”,”So Many Tears”, “Fuck the World” & “Death Around the Corner” to name a few.
Most of us are aware of the wealth of books Tupac read during his imprisonment. Some of the most prominent & promoted by the Shakur’s being Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince & Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Both great books filled with masterful strategy which can be readily applied to almost any position of power. Pac said it himself, Machiavelli is his father figure & he is now Machiavelli Thus, the change in aliases. We can argue how this change occurred exactly or what he really chose to believe but, I would like to attempt to show you now with the use of various materials from Pac himself & the two above mentioned titles, that Pac truly absorbed these strategies & used them.
I would like to possibly give a new deeper definition to his actions. I will use a mixture of NM: The Prince as it is the most relevant to what I would like to call the “Makaveli mind state” &, ST: The Art of War as it stands very closely in stature to it.
2pac discovered something in prison, I believe he discovered himself. I believe he discovered his true potential & how to take hold of and wield the hand he had been dealt. And most importantly, I believe he discovered a way to identify & defeat all of his enemies. “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles” but, “to win a hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.” A different man emerged from that dark imprisonment, one with a renewed understanding of the world & how to accomplish the task that lay before him.
Soon after 2pac bails out of prison he releases his double AEOM album quickly followed by his infamous “Hit em’ up” track. Both of which, feature a seemingly different 2pac or Makaveli rather. No longer filled with this fear & discontent for the world and the fate it’s given him. A new fire replaces it; He openly attacks & taunts his enemies. If you really listen to Pac’s post prison tracks, he seems to be talking in riddles, speaking to those who are “in the know” in regards to specific events and workings of the world; often openly taunting them in a blatantly dangerous fashion. This as I will attempt to demonstrate, was all strategy.
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” Though, this strategy works both ways in Pac’s situation since the enemy is aware of & uses these tactics as well. So, one must appear to be able to attack so the enemy may believe you are weak, when in reality you are prepared. “Pretend to be weak, so that (your enemy) may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”
It was also no less important for him to “Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.” This strategy can be contributed to Pac's supposed “Untouchable & wild” attitude; A mere act of strategy. After all, Pac is a great actor.
In regards to the “Hit em’ Up” track, the strategy there was to “murder” biggie “lyrically” because “Men ought either to be indulged or utterly destroyed, for if you merely offend them they take vengeance, but if you injure them greatly they are unable to retaliate, so that the injury done to a man ought to be such that vengeance cannot be feared.”. Thus, the blatant assault style of the song. Which biggie never replied to & actively denied ever making any kind of reply.
These strategies were applied even more heavily on the 7 day theory album, as this album was “for Pac” & not “for Suge”. From the title, to the intro, to the very last words spoken the whole album is full of blatant taunts to various enemies coupled with some more of Pac’s eerie predictions of things to come. Like I said before Pac seemed to know his fate & did not originally understand the purpose of this knowledge. I believe he realized “that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and (he was) able to turn both to (his) advantage” & “the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general (Pac) conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge.”
Plan, plot, strategize & bomb first. State your Ambitions as a Ridah “Rise from one ambition to another: first, seek to secure yourself against attack, and then attack others” for “the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined for defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.”
Pac always openly admitted his fierce work ethic was due to him “preparing for his death” but I believe this preparation goes far further than recording a couple “insurance albums”. I believe he prepared & thoroughly planned for his “death”. He realized it was not an obstacle but an opportunity, an opportunity to be reborn & reach a new level.
Pac knew the score for radical leaders of political & social change, he is a “black panther prince” after all. “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things because, the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions.” He was fully aware of this, & played into it. He planned to “die” to secure his place as an eternal legend & martyr while in all actuality being safely alive in secret to accomplish his mission of Change. “O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands.”
There are many advantages to being “dead” to your enemies; it offers a very unique position of power. “To be without ascertainable shape then the most penetrating spies cannot pry in nor can the wise lay plans against you.” It allows you to easily “be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness, (To) be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness.” & for Tupac it meant a real chance at those Better Dayz he often dreamt of.
Many argue Tupac would not “run & hide” like that, but to that I say “He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.” “The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.” Many also argue that Tupac wouldn’t lie like that. Well to that I say “Occasionally words must serve to veil the facts” “A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise.”
I’ll say as I’ve said before, He did it not only for himself & his family but, for all those who look up to him. To give the world hope that for once, A Great Man who’s only wish was to help us, was not stolen from us by those who cower in the shadows & feed off others misery. To give us all hope that real change is truly obtainable in this world.
I will finish with this... “No proceeding is better than that which you have concealed from the enemy until the time you have executed it. To know how to recognize an opportunity in war, and take it, benefits you more than anything else.” “Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.”
So now we wait & wonder, what’s next for Mr. Makaveli?
Shouts 2 Cush Love for inspiring me to do this.
Masterful analysis, well written, and fleshes out and makes clear a lot of what many of us either didn't know or took for granted. The ending quote you finished with is brilliant, reminds me of when someone on here told me that Intuition itself is strategy.
The reflections are deep here, when I'm trying to imagine the various positions 2pac took when released from prison. Reflections and Mirror are words that pop into my head as I think about this post.
Pac's supposed “Untouchable & wild” attitude; A mere act of strategy. After all, Pac is a great actor.
VERY NICE READ ! VERY WELL WRITTEN!
@Cush thanks 4 blessin the discussion homey!
@gbo thank you very much!