I don’t want to sound cold by saying these things. By no means do I think that these artists or anyone in the industry would blatantly wish the elimination of Pac or anyone else to make their path easier.
What I’m saying is that when Pac was alive, he was smashing on everyone. Not only that, he had the women, the streets, the industry and pretty much the whole game on lock. Out the blue, he could say anything about anyone and distort their career. He said Biggie stole his style, even though Biggie had his own style. He said Nas “think he live like me,” even though Nas was just a great storyteller creating stories. He shitted on JAY Z for no reason at all.
With that said, imagine two bald headed street rappers from New York, wearing bandannas coming out when Pac was alive. There would have been some below zero days in Arizona before Pac would let that slide. I could hear him saying these dudes trying to be like me! I’m not saying that DMX or Ja Rule sounded like Pac. I’m just saying that when I first saw DMX and Ja Rule on TV, I thought about Pac. That image of a bald headed, aggressive, street rapper was synonymous with Pac.
I’m not going to get into any conspiracy theories, but I will say that the industry may have been conscious of this also. It’s not like DMX and Ja Rule wasn’t rapping when Pac was alive. They were both on a mic Geronimo song “Time to Build” that featured JAY Z in 1995. Before that DMX was known as a fierce battle rapper on the streets of New York. He was signed to a label in 1994 and even made the Source magazine’s Unsigned Hype in 1991.
Likewise, Ja Rule was signed to a label and received some local recognition on the East Coast. However, it wasn’t until 1998 that the two became successful in the rap game. Two years after Pac died and his memory started to fade a little bit. Just enough time for fans to get reacquainted with some artists who may or may not embodied his spirit without calling them a fraud. Maybe I’m going too deep into this and it was just time for these brothers to blow up. Or maybe my speculation is actually one of the reasons that one of the biggest artists of all time was killed.
Then again, I am the guy who thinks every sports game is rigged and George Bush Jr is really a clone. I’m not going to bear false witness and claim to know something I don’t. Nor will I ever disrespect the legacy of DMX or the career of Ja Rule. I’m simply pointing out and reminding people of the dominance of 2Pac.
He was so influential that he made naïve fans like myself dislike anything or anyone who sounded or resembled him. In hindsight, he did open up doors for DMX, Ja Rule, and many others that came after him. Would X and Ja be accepted commercially in music or films, if it wasn’t for Pac? Probably not. Based on 2Pac’s antics and ego that he displayed during his career, would they be able to coexist at the top with him? Probably not. I’m just happy to have witnessed it all. R.I.P to DMX and salute to Ja Rule. R.I.P to Tupac Shakur and Happy 50th birthday.