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Eng. 270 - Tupac, Immortal Technique

Eng. 270 - Tupac, Immortal Technique

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Hartz1Scott HartzEng. 270Dr. GuzzioThe Acceptance of Death and the Fight with God: Tupac, Immortal Technique, andTraditional African American MusicIf we look into the lyrics of traditional African American songs and comparethem to the lyrics of music by contemporary African Americans and other non-whites we can find similarities in their subject matter and the treatment of theAfrican condition. Lyrics from "Soon I Will be Done," an old African Americanspiritual song, have similarities to Tupac Shakur's poem "In the Event of MyDemise". Contemporary Hispanic rapper Immortal Technique employs ideas about God similar to those used in the African American gospel song "Freedom in the Air."These works and others hold similar ideas about God, oppression of blacks, and thedivide between people of different color. By drawing these comparisons we can seethat the struggle for equality between people is still ongoing, despite years of reformand attempted mending."Soon I Will Be Done (With the Troubles of the World)" is an AfricanAmerican spiritual song. The speaker repeats many times that their "troubles" willsoon end. We can infer that the writer has become so worn by their trials that theyhave grown comfortable with the idea of death ("I want t' meet my Jesus, I'm goin' tolive with God"(17-18). The speaker welcomes death because it provides a relief from "the troubles of the world." Tupac Shakur evokes a similar sense of acceptingdeath in his prescient poem "In the Event of My Demise" when he states that he has
 
Hartz2"come 2 [sic] grips with the possibility [of death] and wiped the last tear from[his]eyes." Shakur feels that he will "die before [his] time because [he] feels theshadows depth." Although I cannot find the date that Tupac's poem was written, it proved to be prophetic because he was tragically murdered not long after it waswritten. Both lyrics reveal an acceptance of death, and in one case it is evenwelcomed because of the speaker's "troubles." These ideas about death andembracing God are further explored in other songs by people of non-white ethnicity.The African American gospel song "Freedom in the Air" concludes that "theremust be a God somewhere (23)". The speaker's idea that there is "freedom in the airover [their] head" indicates a questioning hope from God for relief from earth-bound suffering. Hispanic rapper Immortal Technique (Felipe Andres Coronel)states in his song "Internally Bleeding" that he "was chosen to speak the words oevery African slave" thereby placing himself in a position to win some kind of retribution for those souls who were "[d]umped in the ocean/ stolen by America" byrapping about their former and current oppression. In his own internal conflict withGod, Andres Coronel says that 
 
"[his] mother told [him] that placing [his] faith in Godwas the answer" but then replies with the assertion that "then[he] hated God 'causehe gave [his] mother cancer"(citation needed), thus questioning his own trust in Godbecause of his mother's illness. Both works present a torn image of God as bothsavior and antagonist because of His power to give, take, and influence people'slives. Although they do not explicity state that their problems stem from theirethnicities, the voices, in this case, come from Black and Hispanic people.
 
Hartz3In "Internally Bleeding" Andres Coronel also reaffirms the prevalence of death in his life by stating plainly that "the things [he has] seen in life will make youchoke by surprise" and that "death is another part of life" (citation needed). Thisconnects to the acceptance of death in both Tupac Shakur's "In the Event of MyDemise" and "Soon I Will Be Done." Andres Coronel further explores his feelings of impending death as he raps "[t]hese are my last words, I'm having difficultlybreathing/Dying on the inside, internally bleeding/ Angel of death dragging meaway while I'm sleeping/ Watching my world crumble in front of me, searching formeaning" (citation needed). It is sad to look here at these recurring themes of accepting death in works that span time and include two different ethnic groups (inthis case, African American and Hispanic). They point to a need for change in thetreatment of people who don't have the privelege of being white, and it is evenworse that being white today may still give someone an advantage over someonewho isn't white.It is appropriate for the songs of any human to include themes of death andsadness, but why is it so prevalent in the strains of African American tunes? Weshould all work to give people something happy to sing about, especially those whohave a history in our country as slaves. Songs about death and sadness will neverdisappear, but we can at least endeavor to give people more reason to move awayfrom songs about forthcoming death and divide between men; let us work rather togive each other songs to sing of co-existing life and brotherhood. As John Lennonwrote in his famously hopeful song "Imagine": "Imagine no possessions/ I wonder if 

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