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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Truth Hurts Sometimes, But Consider Tupac...


May I perpetuate a little thought here?  Saying "no" makes not the slightest difference to the following content, so either stay or leave, thus is your choice.  Anyone who has been reading my posts for a while has probably noticed a bit of a shift from the published blogs of an earlier time as I have migrated from an unnaturally positive position to more of a constructive honesty position.  Evolving into what we really are is entirely natural and something that develops over time; especially concerning activities we are passionate about.  Today, I am going to talk about Tupac.  No, really.

Hear me out before you run away because I have mentioned one of the most controversial figures in the history of music, because I have a point.  Anyone who does not at least know the name of Tupac Shakur was either not alive in the nineteen nineties decade or definitely living in a dirty cob house on a primitive hippie compound.  When I was a kid, this young man was in the news constantly for anything from rape allegations, battery charges, or obscene lyrical content in his music.  Even though many do not agree with his motivations for creativity and outlandish verbiage, the fact cannot be refuted that the man was completely passionate about what he was doing over the span of his short career.  

Tupac lived as a supporting member of group Digital Underground (dancer, etc.) for a few years in the earlier part of the nineties and never stopped pushing to be a product of his own success;  literally starting from the very bottom.  He was gunned down in nineteen-ninety-six at twenty-five years old and in those short five years from the bottom of his industry to the top, he either released or collaborated on eight studio albums.  Eight albums in less than five years?  I cannot think of another artist who has done anything similar in my lifetime.  While this artist was still alive, various news-related outlets would show short interviews with him, asking about the lewdness of his genre, or asking questions of his many criminal allegations and those not interested in his style of rap at the time saw him as a worthless thug as not as a creator.  Many people did not take him seriously until after those bullets took his life that night in Las Vegas.

The most popular, highest-grossing artist of that period in time was Tupac, but most of his music was too controversial or smattered with profanity to be played on the radio, so his creative popularity mostly came from album sales and touring.  After his death, however, more people who had never heard a song written by him were suddenly intrigued and interested in what he had left behind for the world.  What do I mean?  Those eight studio albums aside, Tupac had always stayed true to his passion of writing down everything he experienced in life.  Following his passing, massive amounts of beautiful poetry were discovered which spoke about the ups and downs of his life, romances, legal issues, and career;  many of which were expressing the love and respect he had for his mother, even though she had abandoned him for some time as a child.  Once discounted as an everyday street thug who caught a lucky break, more and more people began to see his true artistry emerge only after his death.  These writings were things he was generally keeping to himself because he had a record label-inspired image and character to play for not only his fans, but the rest of the world as well.  It gets better...

Tupac Shakur was an artist and as I have mentioned, he was not only extremely talented at writing, but also completely devoted to his passion every moment he was awake.  Why do I say this?  Think about modern bands who have had careers spanning at least a decade, and then consider how much material, both published and unpublished, they have floating around.  Bands in the current day in that much time have maybe recorded thirty complete songs and possibly another fifty to one-hundred either unfinished or that did not make the cut for their album releases, but not Tupac.  This common, "uneducated street thug" spent every available second recording the music and lyrics playing through his head.  Those who own the rights to his recordings in various stages of completion, but most being ready for mastering, have not given an exact number to the public other than saying well over one-thousand tracks exist in his catalog.  This is how his post-humus releases have eclipsed those available before he died.  The man was a creator and never took a break because he wanted to be successful in his passions.  He never sat around expecting anything huge to happen to him - he never expected anything to magically fall into place or to be "discovered" in his earlier aspirations.  Tupac knew that he was a gifted creator and spent much time in poverty so that he could devote not only full-time hours, but overtime hours to his craft and pushed them out in self-promotion continually.  He never gave up and his success within those passions never slipped; not once, and he has the catalog of effort to prove such in his eternal legacy.

Why did I tell you all of this?  Simple.  There are too many people out there with too much potential to let their passions slip away.
If your passions constitute the level of commitment in your life as you claim, why do you not have a catalog of material (in whatever medium) as big as Tupac Shakur did?
If you are actually serious about your motivations and forward-moves, why are you not devoting overtime effort into what it is you seek?
Tupac amassed the legacy he left behind in under five years, but many of us claim unbridled devotion to our craft yet cannot begin to touch the amount of material he created; and many of us have been "following our dreams" for twice the amount of time he was able to utilize his talents.  Seriously?  No, I cannot take you seriously.  

Chasing what you are supposedly passionate about is like navigating through the winter of an un-mapped wilderness.  While most businesses have methods of operation and policies related to advancing toward goals of success, creators do not have a set structure - creators are required to make their own path.  Anyone who wants to chase a dream of any sort must be completely devoted to that concept and never shut down their thought process until they achieve their goal.  The most ridiculous problem I see on a regular basis are those who claim to be following their dreams, but are not at all humble enough to do things they consider "beneath" them.  Sticking with the current theme of music, just because you get paid to play a gig on a somewhat regular basis does not mean playing for nothing but exposure is beneath your skill set.  Were live performance and exposure with such still my goal, I would spend every available second showing my craft to anyone, in any setting, at every available moment I had;  but that is no longer who I am, so I do not.  I see too many "devoted" artists these days in every medium claim their skill as their true calling in life, but they never get anywhere because they lack the discipline to put themselves in regular view of the public unless doing so is convenient.  "I'll do this or that, put some shit on the internet, interact with the public once a week and just wait for something to happen.  That's how it works, right?'  No, no it is not.  Not only that, but you make me want to knock out a few of your teeth for wasting your skill.  

Am I being clear at all?  Does any of this make sense?  Sure, most people in the world have more practical goals in their life:  school, job, married, kids, happily ever after with a few vacations stuck in the middle.  Creators cannot live by this plan because they are on their own to figure out what it is they need to do in order to spread whatever their passion is to the world;  they are required to make an impact and take the non-traditional path.  "But, you don't get it, Drew. I am passionate about things but I don't have the time to do all that stuff you talk about because I have to work a real job too."  When did I ever say any of this was easy?  We need to get this "time restriction" idea out of our heads and realize that while forty-hours is a standard work week, passions are a full-time devotion.  Passions are what you should be dreaming about while at the job that pays your bills, not something you do when you "have time" if you ever intend to reach people or have any sort of personal success in the venture.  

Why should you listen to me?  I am exactly the person alluded to in this blog.  Within my life, opportunities have arisen for me to chase the things I was passionate about in the past and had a great potential for success in that process.  Many times I was either too lazy or too stupid to pay attention to what was right in front of my face and clearly visible.  One opportunity was refused intentionally, but many more slipped from my fingers due to my own ignorance.  

If you want to spread your message, get it out there at any cost and using any method that will not compromise your morals.
Creators do not have it easy and if you are a creator who does not have a struggle, I would question why that is and find one to be sure of your continued growth.
Do not just eat, sleep, and breathe your passions, but expose them creatively.
If you follow the principles of complete dedication as I have explained in this blog for a number of years and have not yet reached your audience as you intended, start questioning the reasons why by breaking your comfort barrier and asking for opinions from those you do not know outside of your circle and restructure or find the reality of your situation.

The public is always your best critic.
You will only go as far as you push.

Grace and Peace,
    -Drew

-Add me.  Stalk me.  Tweet me.  I really don't mind.-
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers
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