An east coast versus west coast hip-hop rivalry may be brewing.
But in 2013, it is neither gang warfare nor rappers’ contempt that propels competition. It is the creative entertainment industry’s honoring of the legacy of Tupac Shakur, one of the most popular music artists in the world in the 1990s.
Here in New York, the music of the hip-hop icon is bound for Broadway.
Songs and poetry are now being rehearsed during a workshop billed “Holler If Ya Hear Me” that is expected to be ready for next year’s theater season.
The musical inspired by recordings of the actor, rapper and poet will not feature a character named for the now-martyred star, however, reports are that his music are being integrated with hopes to bring gangsta rap to a Broadway stage.
Directed by Kenny Leon who helmed the Broadway hits “Fences” and “The Mountaintop,” the original story will debut during the 2013-2014 Broadway season.
“Tupac was a prophet and I want everyone to see that,” director Leon said.
Although Shakur “is not a character” in the production, his music will be used to tell a “present-day” story, written by Todd Kreidler.
The musical centers around two childhood friends, “struggling to reconcile the challenges and realities of their daily lives with their hopes, dreams and ambitions.”
One might imagine the production to be set in New York where Shakur was born, or California, where he loved as an adult, or even Las Vegas, where he was murdered in 1996.
Instead, Detroit and Cleveland provides the ideal location Leon and Kreidler envisions for telling the contemporary tale “of a mid-western industrial city.”
On the west coast, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and their Hall of Fame Committee announced that next year Shakur will receive a star along the more than two mile sidewalk along Hollywood Blvd. where the Hollywood Walk of Fame cements a galaxy of achievers in film, music, television and other creative talents.
With this latest star, Shakur adds one more to the three rap stars already on the honored Los Angeles, California Walkway.
Shakur is allegedly one of the best selling music artists in the world. His “All Eyez On Me” double disc is one of the best selling hip-hop albums of all time.
Prior to his tragic murder in 1996, Shakur accomplished himself publishing poetry. He was also an activist and actor. He starred in several films including: “Juice” “Poetic Justice” “Above The Rim” and “Gang Related.”
He was killed at age 25 in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996.
A statue in Georgia and Germany were erected in his honor.
He has been the subject of more than a dozen documentaries and a hologram in his likeness took the stage at last year’s Coachella Music Festival. Shakur’s impact has been the subject of academic lectures at Harvard University, State University of New York and Buffalo, and Northeastern University. In 1997, UC Berkeley offered the ground-breaking course: ‘History 98: Poetry and History of Tupac Shakur.’
In an effort to preserve his legacy, Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur, founded the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation.
Hollywood Chamber of Commerce officials revealed the list of celebrity recipients on June 20 on the same day they unveiled the 2,500th star which honors Jennifer Lopez.
Queen Latifah was the first rapper to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Sean P-Diddy Combs and Will Smith have also distinguished themselves along the path.
Smith’s hand-prints are etched into concrete in front of Graumann’s Theater.
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