(Flight map from LAX to JFK, blogging from somewhere over Ohio)
I have been to LA only once in my lifetime, back in 2005, for three days, and not by choice...I went to spend a couple of days with my girlfriend before she headed to Indonesia for the entire summer to help with tsunami relief from that previous December (2004). I stood there for three extra days and absolutely disliked the city, much like everyone from New York City had told me. I live in New York City, a place that is stressful beyond measure but still maintains a veneer of authenticity and genuine(-ness) that is rarely duplicated anywhere else on Earth. Maybe it's the Hollywood effect, everybody is trying to be somebody from the valets, to the doormen, to the promoters so you cannot just show up from outside of the city and have a good time.
Besides all of that, I grew up in NYC during the 90's and was witness to the whole east coast/west coast thing going on in hip-hop during that time period. So in my heart of hearts I could never look at LA in a truly objective light. That being said, I find myself in LA 13 years after the death of Tupac Shakur, sitting in the lounge area of Terminal 4. Tupac is not only hip-hop's all-time top-selling star, he has also become one of its most recognized and revered icons. The troubled life of rapper Tupac Shakur was cut short just at the time he was beginning to emerge as an international superstar rapper. It was on Friday, Sept. 13, 1996 Shakur and Death Row Records' president Marion `Suge' Knight were leaving a Mike Tyson fight when he was mysteriously shot. Two years earlier, in November of 1994 he was shot five times during a robbery, but survived as thieves robbed him of $40,000 worth of his jewelry.
From birth, Tupac Shakur lived a devastating life. Tupac Shakur was undoubtedly one of the most successful MCs of all time. Even after his death, he has sold a total of 67 million records worldwide making him the highest selling rap/hip-hop artist of all time! However, 2Pac was much more than that. His strong lyrical content grew a huge array of followers, making him a hero among millions. He was a great poet and his theory on life influenced his fans to a huge extent. He was indeed the Rose That Grew from Concrete, whose ever-successful work couldn't have been more admired and loved...shoulda stayed out of LA...and Las Vegas...one
“we wouldn't ask why a rose that grew from the concrete for having damaged petals, in turn, we would all celebrate its tenacity, we would all love its will to reach the sun, well, we are the roses, this is the concrete and these are my damaged petals, don't ask me why, thank god, and ask me how”...