Random Question of the Day

04.30.10 7 years ago 95 Comments

Is 2Pac overrated?

Before the Hip-Hop Police break into my condo and take my West Coast pass, let me say clarify that I’m only asking this question in the “devil’s advocate” tradition.

During the LL Cool J argument the other day, naturally a lot of people named 2Pac as their G.O.A.T. pick, or at least had him in their top three. Although I was listening to ‘Pac ever since he was ad-libbing and getting half-verses with Digital Underground (check This Is An E.P. Release and Sons of the P), he’s mostly resided just outside my top three, right behind Biggie, Ice Cube, Jay-Z and one or two others. But make no mistake, ‘Pac is elite.

Still, despite his deity status in many circles, I know a lot of people who stand by their claim that 2Pac wasn’t THAT nice. And I can kind of see where they’re coming from.

‘Pac was undeniably a great performer who had passion for the art form and was prolific as hell; he’s had enough “lost tapes” material to consistently make albums more than a decade after his death. Like Cube, he could mix politics, sobering imagery and positive messages with banging tracks. But was 2Pac’s raw rhyming ability on the same level as B.I.G., Eminem, Rakim, Big Pun, Lil’ Wayne, even Beanie Sigel?

Plus, you have to consider the influence that an artist’s death has on their legacy. It happens in sports, music, visual art, writing, acting … basically any talent our society values. When someone passes away, their respect level automatically goes up. Would 2Pac be held in such high regard if he hadn’t died so young and so violently? Has 2Pac become overrated posthumously? Is he overrated and overhyped, period?

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