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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Loving Memory of Tupac

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Erykah Badu performs at event in memory of Tupac Shakur and fundraiser for arts program for Atlantaarea students. Photos: www.freddyO.com
                       Tupac Shakur was alive and well within the walls of Atlanta Symphony Hall recently. The late great rapper/ actor would have been celebrating his 40th birthday and although he was not there physically his spirit was bursting from the seams.

The audience swayed to jubilating music, were wowed by the star studded line up, and overwhelmed by the super nova performer called Tupac.
Afeni Shakur looked on as any proud mother could as the likes of Jasmine Guy, Warren G, Bun B, 8 ball, Rick Ross, and Erykah Badu paid tribute to her son with their presence and kind words. Her partner in the event, comedian Mike Epps, was a hilarious host as always and brought many smiles as he presented Afeni Shakur and the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation with a big check in the amount of $10,000. The event was a fundraiser for the foundation and drew support for its arts programs that are provided to students in Atlanta-area public schools.

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Mike Epps
It was truly inspiring to not only cover the June 16 event and bask in its ambiance but to also perform as well.

With up and coming rap artist Rico Staxx and the title track “Celebrate,” we rocked the stage and the heads of the solidified and legendary artists backstage.
I had an opportunity to catch up with the young MC and talk about what Tupac and music meant to him.
How has Tupac influenced your music?
Tupac has not only influenced my music, he motivates my ambition. The man was fearless, talented, and very true to himself.
What inspired you to become involved in music?

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Afeini Shakur smiles and receives check for $10,000 to help fund youth programming.
I have always been a fan of hip hop music. I could remember being a little boy listening to albums like All Eyez On Me, The Chronic, Reasonable Doubt, Doggystyle and a whole bunch of other classics. My family has also been a big inspiration, just watching my older brother spend all day and all night in the studio made me want to try it, so I jumped on the mic and the rest is history. I wrote my first rhyme at age 13.

What do you think the rap game would be like if Tupac were still alive and well?
I think the rap game would be more or less the same even if Tupac was still alive, 'cause even though he is dead his legacy lives on and he is still very relevant in the music industry til this day. He put his mark down and can't nobody take that from him.
What do you hope to accomplish with your music?
I want my music to open doors, not just for me but for everyone who is striving to survive in this day in age. Music is not just instruments and melodies, its therapy for the soul. A good song can really uplift ya spirits and that's what I wanna do, give the people something to be happy about. “I live life and I love god, every step of the way I gotta take charge.”
Regardless of the songs performed at the event, they were all performed with Tupac in mind. So to take a page from Rico Staxx everyone stood up to “Celebrate” a true innovator. It was wonderful to see that real hip hop is alive and well and true soul lifting music was available for the ears of listeners.

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