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In the song Trapped by Tupac, Tupac created a song that brought to light the large amount of prejudice that surrounds communities of minorities in America. Tupac was a rapper that came from the rough and tough streets and witnessed many things. Due to the amount of crime that typically comes from low-income neighborhoods, and the racism that ran and still continues to run deep in America, one can become trapped in a certain lifestyle. This is a world that unfortunately, if you are a minority, you must work hard to prove your worth. Tupac wrote this song because he knew that his struggles and mindset could relate to a larger audience. This “community”, by which he refers to the black community, was a place that Tupac described through his lyrics, to be careless, violent, and every man for himself. However, even though Tupac immersed himself into the music, he still was surround by the violence running the streets. With that being said, I would like to make the argument that it doesn’t matter where you came from, it matters what paths you chose in life that creates your success.
Tupac starts the song off by stating, “you know they got me trapped in this prison of seclusion. Happiness, living on tha streets is a delusion.” This is a statement that negates any statement that might paint the “thug life” into a glamorous aspect. Gang related violence was extremely high in the United States at the time that this song had been released. Tupac was rapping about an instance that was very real to him, and after hearing the song and analyzing the lyrics, I felt that I was being taken through the streets with him. It’s incredible to listen to the lyrics that he has written to describe being trapped and labeled as a minority, and then look at a time line of his life and really see how much success he had. I feel like the word “trapped” has two meanings. Trapped, meaning trapped in “the streets” where he came from and trapped in his own skin. In the song he states that he “can barely walk tha city streets without a cop harassing me, searching me, then asking my identity.” Because Tupac is a black man living in “the streets” he is going to always be a huge target for the police. Tupac isn’t just rapping about himself, he is rapping about many of the same instances that occur all over the nation to many different types of people, many different races. Tupac raps that, “then I said I had enough, there must be another route, way out to money and fame, I changed my name and played a different game, tired of being trapped in this vicious cycle.” According to my argument, Tupac was trying to find a way out. He recognized that there was a better life out there, one with money and fame and away from the gangs and the cops that he had always known. He had an idea in his head and decided to not give up. Richest of the rich, or dirt poor, you can’t help the financial situation that you are born into. However, with the opportunities that surround you, depending on what you do with them, you can create a bright future for yourself. The article titled “Getting Unstuck: Why some people get out of poverty and others don’t” by Michael De Groote, talks about the mindset or situations people can be in to achieve a better quality of life than how they grew up. According to the article, “seventeen percent who were born in the bottom fifth of income make it up to the middle as adults. Nine percent make it up to the fourth highest fifth and a measly 4 percent climb to the top fifth of income in the United States.” The author then goes onto describe just what makes these people different from their friend’s and family’s finical situation. The article states many things that can be easily controlled by people who are looking to have a better life such as education, dual earnings, employment, and saving money. The article does mention, however, that race can get in the way of success when they state that “whites were two times more likely to leave the bottom fifth of income than blacks. Forty-five percent of blacks got out of the bottom versus 68 percent of whites.” These statistics depend on a great variable of circumstances. If one is driven, and utilizes all of the tools and opportunities one is given, the chances of success are going to be much higher.
After listening to Tupac’s song “Trapped”, I was able to better understand some of the feelings that one might have growing up in the streets. Tupac poetically paints the picture of the violence and racism that he had been trying to escape for a very longtime in order to connect to an audience. The things he mentioned are very real and are things that still effect people. Tupac was able to step out of a world of rough violence, hate and racism and use what he could to escape and to create a success of his own. It didn’t matter that he came from the streets, it mattered that he was able to escape and make his dream a reality.
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