Tupac Shakur can teach us a lot: Oslo professor

Tupac Shakur can teach us a lot: Oslo professor
Photo: John W. Schulze
By studying gangsta rap we can learn a lot about society, according to a professor planning to lecture about Tupac Shakur at the University of Oslo.

Starting this autumn, Professor Knut Hermundstad Aukrust will begin offering a module on “Tupac, hip-hop and cultural understanding.” The course description refers to the deceased artist as “an icon with a saintly status far beyond his fan base”, national broadcaster NRK reports.  

A big fan of Shakur, who was shot and killed in 1996 at the age of 25, the professor said he believed gangsta rap was often misunderstood.

“Being a gangsta rapper is not the same as being a gangster,” said Aukrust.

“It’s a way of saying that all the others in society are gangsters. The powers that be, the White House, capitalism: those are the gangsters.

“By raising a ‘middle finger’ and saying ‘fuck you, all you motherfuckers’, it sends a message to the society it’s fighting against. But it also says something about the cohesion in a group.”

One of Norway’s best-known gangster rappers, Jesse Jones, said it was “very positive” that Oslo students could now brush up on the history of the music style at university.   

Jones, who has previously spent time in jail on narcotics charges and for assaulting a police officer, told NRK:

“For me, Tupac was maybe the greatest hip-hop legend ever.”

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