Thug Love


Someone once asked me many years back, “if you could have dinner with any three people dead or alive who would they be?” My first candidate was offered with little hesitation… Tupac Shakur.

As an admitted privileged white kid from the coastal upper-class suburbs of San Diego, I am aware of the social gap that exist between my life experiences and that of Tupac. I think what made Tupac such a successful, iconic and still relevant artist today though, was his ability to reach and resonate with people of all backgrounds with his lyrics.

At 35 years old 2pac would still have to be in my top 3 ‘dinner dates’ and to this day my favorite Obey poster with a portrait of Pac still hangs in the living room of my apartment despite my girlfriends protest. There’s just something about the way his eyes penetrate into my soul that inspires me. 

I can still recall the first time I watched Tupac Resurrection and felt the way Tupac proclaimed, “I may not change the world, but I guarantee I will spark the brain that changes the world.” It was said with such a conviction and truth that really changed the way I not only looked at 2pac, but also at myself and the way I wanted to look at the world and my environment. What I admired and respected about Tupac’s position that he not only was capable of influencing society, but that he had a responsibility to.

In the early days of developing Y B ÷, we had the opportunity to co-sponsor an event where I was introduced to Ray Love who had a close friendship with 2Pac. Ray was immediately drawn to our logo which just happened to be placed on a poster between Tupac & Biggie I had displayed and it was quickly established that he wanted be involved with the energy we had going on. While filming for a project, Ray surprisingly declared that “Y B ÷ is Tupac’s message” which was the most humbling compliment I could have ever received and really helped fuel my already ignited passion for Y B ÷. 

What many people might not know about Tupac was that his involvement  was critical in facilitating a truce between the renown crips and bloods gangs proceeding the L.A. riots of 1991. Tupac was instrumental in getting the ‘powers that be’ to the negotiating table and was an extraordinary example of his diplomatic and community building abilities. Although the truce eventually dissolved, Tupac’s ‘Thug Life’ code of ethics was adopted in these negotiations and are believed to have contributed to the dramatic drop in Los Angeles gang violence over a significant period of time. 

Tupac will always remain a source of inspiration for Y B ÷ and the power we know its message holds. “I’m not saying Y B ÷ will change the world, but it will spark the brain that will change the world.”

Rest in peace Pac – 

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