WATCH: 5 reasons why Tupac's legacy lives on

Today on Salon 5, we're celebrating the legendary rapper who was recently inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame

By D. Watkins

Editor at Large

Published April 22, 2017 2:00AM (EDT)

This Salon Talks video was produced by Kevin Carlin

Tupac Shakur was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. The rapper, who died in 1996, has roots in Oakland and New York, but spent some years and attended high school in my hometown of Baltimore, so we claim him as a local treasure. We also feel like his passion, courage and ability to walk in any room, screaming the truth at the top of his lungs, making anyone and everyone uncomfortable is a Baltimore thing. Pac means the world to us — not just locally, but to young people around the world.

I never had an adult teach me about the horrors of police brutality. I had to learn the hard way from the cops, and from many other young people just like me who felt we were being targeted because there was something wrong with us. Then 2Pac came through and let us know that we don’t need to be fixed — the system does:

Cops give a damn about a negro
Pull the trigger, kill a nigga, he’s a hero
Give the crack to the kids: who the hell cares?
One less hungry mouth on the welfare!

The same goes for the way in which we treat women. Before I learned manners or ever heard a lecture on or even terms like street harassment, Pac was spitting bars like:

And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it's time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women

Today on the Salon 5 we’re going to examine some of Tupac's best songs and continue to keep the legend alive. Please comment with your favorite 2Pac songs.

By D. Watkins

D. Watkins is an Editor at Large for Salon. He is also a writer on the HBO limited series "We Own This City" and a professor at the University of Baltimore. Watkins is the author of the award-winning, New York Times best-selling memoirs “The Beast Side: Living  (and Dying) While Black in America”, "The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir," "Where Tomorrows Aren't Promised: A Memoir of Survival and Hope" as well as "We Speak For Ourselves: How Woke Culture Prohibits Progress." His new books, "Black Boy Smile: A Memoir in Moments," and "The Wire: A Complete Visual History" are out now.

MORE FROM D. Watkins

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2pac Hip Hop Music Original Video Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Tupac Shakur