What Tupac Shakur taught me about Leadership


By: Alcides Alvarado


I remember like it was yesterday, when I first hear California love on MTV, I was only 11 year old, even if couldn’t understand anything about the song because didn’t know any English at all at that moment, but the song and the video caught my attention and I stay until the end to see who was the rapper, and that’s when I saw the name 2pac and I was like who the hell is 2pac?


I start paying more attention to his music, his videos and researching more about him, but was after a few years later when I start understanding more English, when I really realize the power of his lyrics and the message that he was preaching and after that moment I really got hook no with his music, but him as a human bean.


Tupac Shakur was the only rapper who ever lead people even after his death. The legacy that he left in his music lead and inspired people even after he died. His music inspired generations. Growing up in the ghetto as a poor kid, he grew up and didn’t settle for his poor life, he started creating the beautiful music that we listen to today, the music that has inspired millions including myself. People look up to him as a leader, as someone that exceeded expectations and rose from the ghetto to become one of the most famous rappers that ever lived. the powerful words that he writes in his music are the same words that people quote day to day. He is an underrated leader, a leader not recognized by all society but surely he is one. Tupac is a leader, and not just any leader he is also a poet!


Tupac was not only about music, he really inspired people and really care about them, in fact this one of my favorite quote from him: “I‘m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world”. Tupac is THE ARTIST in rap. He change rap from a genre merely about murder, sex, getting rich, and being a G to a genre about much, much more, about simply being a human.


Here are a few things that we all can learn from him:


1.Bravery. Perhaps the most all-encompassing quality of a good leader is being brave. Tupac was rambunctious, and unafraid to speak out on unpopular topics. He boldly took risks with his music, his image, and his decisions. And people couldn’t help but respect that (whether they liked him, or not). His unapologetic, and infectious attitude deemed him a “leader of men” – one people could trust to lead them through adversity. One to be their rock. One to get them through sadness. And one to motivate them to be better and achieve happiness. That’s what leadership is all about: being brave enough to inspire others, no matter what the circumstances.


 2.Adaptability.No one wants to follow a leader who never changes. Not only is that boring, it becomes tacky and irrelevant. Unfortunately, not-evolving is the undoing of many aspiring leaders. Tupac was highly transformational (as is evident by the various themes within his work – think “Hail Mary” vs. “California Love”). Tupac was able to consistently identify with his public. More importantly, he was able to realize his own faults and learn from them/use them to grow. In psychology, this leadership quality is identified as Individualized Consideration. That is, being responsive to the feelings and developmental needs of followers.”



3.Charisma.If you examine history’s most effective leaders, you will be hard pressed to find one without some sort of charisma. Tupac’s charisma appealed to many and this made him more effective at spreading his influence. Effective leaders are empathetic – they have the ability to make others feel like they are truly understood; they “walk the talk” and get their hands dirty. In Tupac’s case, he kept it real by staying connected to the “hood”even after he made it big – being seen as “real” goes a long way in leadership as frauds are easily detected and rejected. Tupac’s authenticity showed commitment to the cause and beliefs he was imparting; it motivated others to take interest and inspired them to take notable action. To this day, people quote his work and he has inspired a whole new breed of artists to become successful.

Every rapper who grew up in the Nineties owes something to Tupac. He didn’t sound like anyone who came before him.

 -50 Cent

4.Integrity.This means upholding togetherness and solidarity of the community being led. From early on, Tupac respected respect and placed a heavy emphasis on honesty – even when it was uneasy. Great leaders are upfront and people trust them. Tupac consistently made people feel like he would go to bat for them in the form of action: he used his platform (fame) to bring injustices to the public stage. His deeds (like other successful leaders) matched his words and this in turn, yielded trust – which is crucial to success as a leader. If someone doesn’t have integrity, he/she cannot lead; after all, who would follow someone they couldn’t trust?


5.Pushing boundaries.It is said that “thought leaders push boundaries; they change ideas or methods of a particular industry and they thrive in executing these unconventional business approaches.”Tupac brought uncomfortable realities to the public stage – he challenged people’s ideas and stimulated intellectualism. Through his brave lyrics, Tupac became one of the first major socially conscious rappers from the West Coast. This cemented him as someone people could believe in. Someone to rally behind. A true thought leader.


Leaders come and go, but the great ones are never forgotten – the ones who admit their mistakes, the ones who learn and adapt, the ones you can trust, the ones who inspire, and the ones who lead fearlessly. Tupac was one such leader and the measure of his influence is still evident well beyond his music.


Comment Below if you had learned something from him or what have you experience with his music.



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