Tupac: Resurrection provides an "autobiographical" take on the late gangsta rapper’s tumultuous life, yet those who don’t believe in the holiness of Tupac – this reviewer being one of them – will find the documentary’s gushing adoration for its subject annoyingly one-sided and misleading. Lauren Lazin’s film charts the rapper’s rise to stardom with montages of old photos, news clippings and performance footage, and the central gimmick is that Tupac himself narrates his own story via carefully edited archival interviews. Unfortunately, he’s an untrustworthy storyteller, and neither provides satisfactory explanations for his misogynistic lyrics and “Thug Life” persona – which he lamely attempts to describe (by redefining the word “thug”) as a lifestyle of rebellion rather than one of criminality (um, sure) – nor really confronts his own responsibility for his notoriety and problems with the law. Tons of great concert clips and a wealth of lucid discussions (including a lengthy one with former MTV newswoman Tabitha Soren) reveal Tupac to be a well-spoken, intelligent, funny and charismatic guy. But his attempt to depict himself as an unjustly persecuted truth-teller doesn’t jibe with his juvenile and shallow glorification of the unlawful life, and Tupac: Resurrection’s unwillingness to balance its reverence with criticism of Tupac’s infatuation with guns and drugs ultimately leads to a dishearteningly incomplete portrait.
Redefining "Thug" life is idiocy, like how "pimps" and "players" can supposedly respect women and "gangstas" aren't criminals.
Oh, he was a fun guy? Wow. So was Charles Manson look at all the drugs, pussy and music in his world he was also just plain evil.
But the real question to me is not how or whether Tupac was able to reconcile these gross contradictions in his mind, or in his fans' (I mean, look at all the people who still love Michael Jackson).
The question to me, is: what is the big deal? Why should we give a fuck about Tupac? Because he was a good rapper? Because he was handsome? Because he was from the streets? Because he died young? All of those are trivial, exaggerated or irrelevant.
Personally, I never liked Tupac's work much, or understood why he was such a big deal before he died. (Why he was big after he died is obvious; the same reason Biggie Smalls is a legend and Big Daddy Kane is living in obscurity.) His guest verse on Digital Underground's "Same Song" was rightfully praised; it was all downhill from there.
I would imagine that this recap of his career would leave me similarly unimpressed.
Posted by: Joe Grossberg | February 21, 2005 at 11:07 PM
I couldn't agree with you more. If he hadn't died, he would have been a popular rapper with some decent skills. That's about it. Not being a hip-hop connoisseur like you, I can't really say how great he was on the mike - I think some of his songs are ok, though nothing mindblowing - but I'm hardly of the opinion that he was a musical diety.
I guess I wanted the film to address the contradictions it raises because there's something telling about 2Pac's story as it relates to hip-hop's infatuation with "gangsta" nonsense - how a guy who has a rough childhood but never sees or suffers any police brutality starts rapping about it (after admitting his source material was other friends) and then tries to pass himself off as an unjustly persecuted guy who's only guilty of telling it like it is. Where's the criticism of his phoniness? His own primary role in all his problems? His own responsibility for getting shot like the hood he pretended to be (and then was)? And the fact that he was glorifying a "thug" lifestyle that deserved our disgust?
Anyway, I think you're right to say that the film would leave you unimpressed. In fact, Tupac: Resurrection might leave you quite mad.
Posted by: Nick | February 22, 2005 at 09:42 AM
Motherfuckers u dont know notin about tupac. Plz dont chat bad about him when u dont know notin about him deep in the flesh. U obviously havn't heard his "good" side songs have u. How many people tupac has touched when he was alive and amazingly after he was gone. Know matter how bad u think his "thug" life is u gotta know dat people change after studying his lifestyle and after listening to his music. Tracks like "dear mama" or "keep your head up" don't come so easy. Especially from a so called "thug". So plz study him a bit better before u give u final verdict motherfuckers !!!!
Posted by: John | September 02, 2005 at 07:48 PM
Plz dont chat bad about him when u dont know notin about him deep in the flesh. U obviously havn't heard his "good" side songs have u. How many people tupac has touched when he was alive and amazingly after he was gone. Know matter how bad u think his "thug" life is u gotta know dat people change after studying his lifestyle and after listening to his music. Tracks like "dear mama" or "keep your head up" don't come so easy. Especially from a so called "thug". So plz study him a bit better before u give u final verdict. Thank you.
Posted by: John | September 02, 2005 at 07:50 PM
"The question to me, is: what is the big deal? Why should we give a fuck about Tupac? Because he was a good rapper? Because he was handsome? Because he was from the streets? Because he died young? All of those are trivial, exaggerated or irrelevant."
You should care from any perspective, Tupac's death is symbolic of the premature deaths of many urban youth in the United States. You must remember that Tupac wasn't just an actor/rapper but was becomming some what of a political activist, ... dieing at the age of 23... didn't give him much time to fully mature or explain the contradictions which plagued his life.
Posted by: john | September 03, 2005 at 01:47 AM
Man how could you say he's got "good" rapper skills how many of these new niggaz can rap about guns drugs and then rap about their momma. He's one of the only REAL rappers that was true. True to himself and his fans.
Now the only new shit i hear is hoe this nigga that.At the beggining of the mellenium rap has had alot of fakes start.
Posted by: Brody | November 28, 2006 at 08:49 PM
"I would imagine that this recap of his career would leave me similarly unimpressed."
Your ignorant, closed-minded, idiotic review of this great documentary would leave me typically unimpressed.
Posted by: Hit Em Up | February 02, 2007 at 01:21 AM
Hahahahah! man, i ain't never seen a more ignorant, ridiculous forum---a bunch a fat assed middle-aged white(yeah dat's da operative word) beeyatches raised on a diet of dat fat overrated 'cholesterol on legs' mothafucka( yeah, y'all know who i'm talkin abt) rock bands dat expired b4 dey retired( i mean c'mon, now seriously...just how old is keith richards---295 or 294?( i can neva remember) badmouthin' da Ghetto Star, Makaveli, Black Jesus himself!
You bitches don't know shit abt tupac---how can u sit dere typin' shit on your fuckin' keyboards about someone u know NUTHIN' about? N by da way, 2 whoever runs ur site----ur reviewer really sux man, i mean c'mon what kinda reviewer doesn't listen 2 "Dear Mama" or "Life Goes On" or "So Many Tears" or "Outlaw" or...shit i could go on n on... n then tries 2 analyse Pac?
N his misogynistic lyrics( Have u EVER heard "Keep ya head up")? Pac came up in a world where women were forced 2 sell their bodies fer food...he became a star in a world where women sell their bodies 4 fame n glamour n where groupies were more common dan guns in Compton...his lyrics as he himself repeatedly emphasised were related 2 what HE saw n da world as he saw it...he neva tried to assert dat his perspective of da world or indeed his own world for he was big nuff 2 have one of his own (unlike da rest of u beeyatch reviewers) n his music was an expression of his emotions n his opinions---what right have u beeyatches 2 dis da personal convictions of ANYONE leave alone a Rap God like Pac? Dis was sposed 2 be a review of Resurrection, not an analysis of Pac---there's a distinction, idiots.
Coming back 2 Pac, dere's no doubt dat he was n 4eva will be da greatest rap-writer n his flow was divine---add 2 dat the bundle of contradictions( an intellectual and a thug, an baller n someone who could identify wid da poor n da deprived, a fighter who relished a battle ( n kicked biggie's ass all over New York too by da way---2 da bitch who thinks biggie was bigger dan Pac--biggie was a pussyass coward, yo! n a pro-peace prophet) and a strong recalcitrant streak, powerful convictions n u have a potent mixture---a cauldron bubblin' over wid new ideas, new song-themes----Tupac Amaru Shakur da greatest rapper, nay, musician dat ever lived.
But 2 you reviewer beeyatches---shit i can't help but feel sorry 4 u if u can't appreciate Pac 4 what he was rather dan what u see him as from ur priggish narrow-minded angles---ur missin' out on one of da most ingenious, incredibly creative n complex personalities da 2th century ever bore witness to.
Posted by: Sujit | February 18, 2007 at 12:49 PM
It is a disgrace to see people blatantly taking shots at one of the best MUSICAL artists of all time. Yes, Tupac was a thug...However, he grew up in the lifestyle and struggled to get out of it due to the ongoing racism and profiling in American society (and yes, I am white). For all of the people who decided to "down" Mr. Shakur, maybe you should dig deeper into the music and find what his lyrics really mean and the message he is attempting to send. Tupac proabably loved his mother more than any of you punks ever will, so quit baggin on him and actually study his music..I promise you will find that he is something good to say in almost all of his tracks.
Posted by: klutch | November 27, 2007 at 03:02 PM