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A poor, urban, high school dropout and book-devouring autodidact who'd quote Shakespeare in conversation, Shakur would also sing along to Sarah McLachlan. Dyson (I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.), a Baptist minister, reveals the complexity of Shakur and shows why even five years after his death his records, poetry and films continue to sell. "He was not hip-hop's most gifted emcee. Still, Shakur may be the most influential and compelling rapper of them all," writes Dyson. "He was more than the sum of his artistic parts." Complementing Dyson's articulate perspectives on the short life and extraordinary impact of the icon are his emotive interviews with writer Toni Morrison, actress Jada Pinkett Smith (Shakur proposed to her, but was turned down), rapper Mos Def and more than a dozen others. Most striking are the conversations about and with Shakur's beloved mother, a former Black Panther and ex-crack addict. Dyson uses themes in Shakur's raps to examine the larger ills of hip-hop culture such as misogyny and the new hostility between youths and elders without neglecting the rapper's positive acts and intentions. Shakur wanted to "combat the anti-intellectualism of hip-hop," Dyson persuasively writes. (Sept.)Forecast: This book will sell, for Shakur has a huge fan base that has only grown since his death. But more than a music bio, the book will draw the attention of socially conscious readers who are interested in how hip-hop affects society.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Ordained Baptist minister and DePaul University professor Dyson (Between God and Gangsta Rap, LJ 1/96) here analyzes the life of rapper/actor Tupac Amaru Shakur (1971-96) as a microcosm of black American life and culture. Placing gangsta rap in social and historical context, he thoroughly and thoughtfully considers its key elements as evidenced by Shakur's music and videos, exploring issues like machismo, the simultaneous contempt for and adoration of black women, and black-on-black violence. (Shakur himself was shot to death in a still-unsolved murder.) Dyson discusses these sensitive, controversial subjects with such noted cultural analysts as Khephra Burns and Stanley Crouch, creditably balancing the opinions of rap's supporters, rap's critics, and rappers themselves. Though marred by a few minor errors, this well-written, intelligent, and energetically investigative work will make a valuable addition to academic libraries. The extremely high level of writing renders it unsuitable for fan-oriented biography collections, for which Tupac Amaru Shakur, 1971-1996 (Three Rivers, 1998) is more appropriate. Bill Piekarski, formerly with Villa Maria Coll. of Buffalo, Cheektowaga, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Not much here -- basically just self-absorbed, ahistorical, post-modernist nonsense. If you want to read the ramblings of someone in love with Jacques Derrida, Foucault etc. Read morePublished on July 5 2008 by G. Boucher
I really enjoyed reading this book. I am 2Pac's #1 fan. I try to read everything that I can to learn more about 2Pac's life. His words are so real. His life has been amazing. Read morePublished on March 12 2004 by Jess
This book offer more than just a look at this undeniably great Poet called Tupac, it also looks at the HipHop-culture describing why so many black people uses the... Read morePublished on Jan. 18 2004 by D3strukchun
The author offers some insight into cultural issues, but for the most part, this is a very disappointing book that doesn't bring you any closer to understanding Tupac or the... Read morePublished on June 8 2003 by Madtea
...First and foremost big up to the Michael Dyson. When I first heard of da book over da net. I really wanted to read it right then and there. Read morePublished on Dec 17 2002 by Eugene K.
Nothing comes easier than talk about about what art needs: first of all, it is always arbitrary; second, it just provides theme for philosophizing, and furthermore relieves us of... Read morePublished on Oct. 6 2002 by YALD
I think the author spent more time with his face in his thesaurus then he did researching.
why can't writers just WRITE!? Read more
I really feel for Tupac. I feel like i understood him. Like there's a part of him in me just from reading his poetry. Anybody who doesnt like Tupac can go to hell. Read morePublished on June 4 2002 by Rebecca