Tupac Shakur is hip-hop’s greatest artist of all time, Link readers say.
To celebrate the release of the Hip Hop stamps, we asked readers to email us their thoughts on who deserves to be called hip-hop’s G.O.A.T. — the greatest of all time.
Almost 100 readers responded to our very informal, highly unscientific poll. Shakur received more than 80 votes.
“Tupac was one of the most iconic rappers of all time. He not only was talking about injustice in America today, but he also supported the cause of equal rights for all people,” wrote Daniel Cantey, a Rocky Mount, NC, mail processing clerk.
Cassandra Knight, a Coppell, TX, retail associate, described Shakur’s music as “iconic due to the fact that his lyrics talked about poverty, racism and the social and personal struggles he had to deal with growing up and as an adult. His music still has an impact on today’s rap music and fans all over the country.”
Before his death in 1996, Shakur, also known as 2Pac, achieved critical and commercial acclaim with albums like “Me Against the World” and “All Eyez on Me.” He also became an actor, including a role as a soft-hearted postal worker in the 1993 film “Poetic Justice.”
“Tupac was one of a kind,” wrote Vanessa Brown, an EEO specialist in Greensboro, NC. “There will never be another.”
LL Cool J finished a distant second in Link’s poll, followed by Jay-Z, the Notorious B.I.G., Run-D.M.C. and Rakim.
We also heard from fans of artists such as Kanye West, Nas and Sugarhill Gang, whose “Rapper’s Delight” became the first hip-hop hit in 1979.
One of the latter’s fans — Wayne Vaughn, an Indianapolis maintenance manager — pointed out that hip-hop’s greatest artist is the subject of a running debate at Black barbershops across the nation on Saturday mornings and afternoons.
“Without [Sugarhill Gang], we wouldn’t even being having this discussion,” Vaughn wrote.
In a similar vein, Cyril Blue, an Atlanta complaints and inquiry clerk, wrote that hip-hop is “too diverse” to name a single greatest artist.
But if pressed, he’d name Shakur, too.
“Based on his musical content in relation to social injustice (which is more than relevant right now over 20 years after his demise) and his activism for change, his massive global audience, his crossover into acting with several major film roles, and the number of songs he had that charted when he was alive and posthumously, I give it to 2Pac,” Blue wrote.
Share your feedback at email@example.com. Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.