Every week it seems there’s a new rapper who compares himself to Tupac Shakur. Usually, that person says their music touches the streets like Pac’s or he has the same rebellious spirit or thug like mentality.
The latest person to make that claim is Donald Glover, but he had an entirely different reason for considering himself the new Mr. Shakur.
“I know everybody likens themselves to Tupac a lot,” he told Esquire when asked to describe how he sees himself. “I am the new Tupac in a strange way. I grew up similar. I didn’t have a mom in the Black Panthers, but my parents were very pro-black. Also, my mom made me go to performing-arts high school. She was like, ‘That’s where you need to be.’ Sometimes you have to play a role for people to understand you, even though you’re far more complex than any of that. Sometimes it’s really hard to simplify that so people can eat it.”
He continued: “Storytelling is just simplifying what’s happening to you. Life is just a story. Stuff that happens to you, you just put into story mode. I just take what’s there and put it into story mode on a smaller level so that you can be like, ‘Oh my God, that’s life! I totally relate to that.’ ”
Elsewhere in the interview, Glover reflects on wanting to create unique stories for Black people, stories that will touch them. “Black people do not have the narrative over their story. It’s always been written by somebody else,” he said. Adding, “I also think it’s like we have PTSD. There’s a lot of things that have happened to us that we don’t completely understand and we’re not getting help to understand. That’s why information is so powerful and necessary. If you understand, then you don’t let it happen again.”
While many were shell-shocked by Donald Trump’s surprising win in the 2017 presidential elections, Glover’s initial response was to leave the country. The “Stay Woke” rapper obviously stayed in America, but he does think it’s important for Black people to understand there’s a world for them outside of the United States of America. “We understand most people don’t have that luxury, but it’s important, especially as a black person, to be like, ‘I’m not constrained to America.’ Although America is part of me, I’m going to be black everywhere.”