Son of a Black Panther, Tupac Amaru Shakur was born to fight injustice and rally for change. While other children told their teachers that they wanted to be doctors, teachers and police officers when they grew up, Tupac told his new pastor, Herbert Daughtry, that he wanted to be “a revolutionary” (Golus & Gosgrove, 2006). His mother surrounded him with strong morals and world beliefs deriving from her immersion in the Black Panther Party. Tupac tried to understand his environment and studied his experiences of violence and oppression when he tried to understand the world around him. When this appetite for knowledge and a flood of environmental conditions was presented, Tupac’s unique perspective was created. With a poetry love and a need for a large audience, Tupac found his home in hip-hop music. As he challenged the perception of Black America with his texts and in interviews, his star value made him the goal of ongoing controversy and criticism, which is still active over a decade since his death in 1996.
The Big Five According trait theorists, characteristics or common patterns of behavior, thought and emotion are the core components of a person’s personality. These characteristics are relatively stable over time, and vary depending on the individual. Most importantly, these personality traits affect the behavior. Gordon Allport defined personality: “ Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determines his unique characteristics behaviors and thoughts” (Cloninger, 2012). According to the Big Five Inventory, there are five main dimensions that can be used as a measure of personality: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Openness(O)is defined by an inviting attitude to new experiences, creativity, imagination and curiosity. Tupac would rank high on the transparency dimension; He is described by many who knew him as broad interests and tastes for all types of music and literature (Dyson, 2001). He was well-read in literature ranging from classics, history, feminist literature, education systems, mystics, philosophy and so on. He wrote poetry as a young teenager and channeled his creativity to rap music in his late teens.
He was curious about everything and tried to constantly understand how the world worked and how we could do it better. His imagination is well-known, in an interview when he made the interesting suggestion that President Ronald Regan should help with the homeless epidemic by including some of the displaced persons in the White House (Dyson, 2001). Conscientiousness (C) can be defined as a lack of impulsivity, in principle, accurate, hardworking, persistent responsible and ambitious. Tupac would be judged moderately on this dimension. He was an extremely basic person and driven to receive a message of reform and revolution to the masses. He was really principled, took his work seriously and was persistent in pursuing his musical career. He was, however, a very impulsive person. His life was chaotic and his minute-to-minute decision was indicative of his wild spirit. He once missed his flight to meet a young girl who he had seen the news, which had been attacked by a dog and was at the local hospital. His behavior was impulsive, but he continued to have a relationship with that family to his death.
Extroversion (E) is described as the opposite of introversion, as an outward, sociable, talkative, dominant, assertive, external expression of a person’s personality. Tupac would be very high on this dimension. He is described by many in this way, as a very sociable, dominant, assertive, talkative spark of a person. He had spoken of his need to write his music as a way for him to breathe; By putting the words on paper he could find a release, and put his passion into something that could live beyond his time. His sense of urgency and passion for his message is seen by his ability and habit to write 4-7 songs a day (Dyson, 2001).
Throughout, Tupac moved extensively and used this energy and sociability to give the world during his short career, the rock of music and a host of interviews that allow people to continue analyzing their legacy after more than a decade. Agreeableness is described as compatible, trustworthy, empathetic, altruistic and modest nature. Tupac would be considered moderately pleasant. He was extremely empathetic and felt the need to tell the stories of all oppressed people in his music, where he was a voice for. His altruism was uniquely boundless, he said he would bring someone to meet him on the street, when his homes became supreme protection for all he felt needed a hand.
He was also a modest person. In his texts, there were countless examples of explaining that he is not perfect, and not a model, just the person who wants the world to wake up and care for young people so that a model can be born. He noted his imperfections as he described that he was just a product of his environment, in a world “he did not” and if someone was insulted by their presence, they would be upset about the world in which they live. But Tupac was all other than compatible and trusted (by authority). He constantly urged people to resist oppression in all forms and fight for a better future.
Shakur was very opposed to compliance with all kinds of tyranny, especially in the case of abusive law enforcement personnel. Neurotics, characterized by emotional instability, anxiety, hostility, depression and vulnerability, explain much of Tupac’s emotional state. Although he could become a successful musician, he was in a constant state of upsetting and desperate about his environment and surrounded himself with thoughts that he would not be on this land long. He masked a lot of this emotionality with marijuana and alcohol and used these substances to medicate themselves regularly. Because he was high on the neuroticism dimension and did not lead a structured life, his emotional instability resulted in ruthless behavior that contributed to his premature death at the age of 25.
In summary Tupac’s dynamic personality can be thoroughly analyzed by the great information about him and his life after his death. He can be described as a very extroverted, neurotic and open individual with some characteristics of a very pleasant and conscientious person. He strived to understand his environment and immerse himself in the struggles of his peers, became susceptible to extreme violence and high incidence of premature death in that society.
1. Golus, C., & Gosgrove, M. (2006). An introduction to the life and career of the rap artist Tupac Shakur.
2. Dyson, Michael Eric. (2001). Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur. New York: Basic Civitas Books,.
3. Powell, Kevin. (1997). “2pacalypse Now.” Light, Alan, ed. Tupac Shakur. New York: Three Rivers.
4. Shakur, Tupac A. “Unconditional Love.” By Tupac Amaru Shakur. Greatest Hits. Interscope/Amaru/Death Row, 1998.