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Tupac (Makaveli) vs. Machiavelli

April 8, 2011

Tupac Shakur, also known as 2Pac was an American rapper whom sold over 75 million albums worldwide. He was a huge rap icon that many people respect including other rappers and also fans. He was one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Rolling Stone named him the 86th Greatest Artist of all time. In addition to being a music artist, he was also an actor. His songs consisted of the violence and hardships of the inner city, racism, other social problems, and conflicts with other rappers, known as the East Coast/West Coast hip hop rivalry.

When Tupac went to prison he studied Machiavelli’s work and also read his books while in prison, while serving time for supposedly sexual abuse. He then changed his name to “Makaveli”. Nicolo Machiavelli was an Italian war strategist and philosopher who wrote about faking his death to fool his enemies. Therefore when Tupac changed his name to “Makaveli” and then passed away, many believe that he faked or staged his own death. I do not believe that Tupac faked his own death because faking his death would be totally out of his character. He was relatively moved by Machiavelli’s work so he used his name as an alias when he came out of prison. Not because he faked his death but because he had a lot of enemies and he could relate to Machiavelli in numerous ways. He didn’t fake his death though, a lot of people don’t know that Tupac wasn’t afraid to die he embraced death more than anybody of his time. To say he faked his death would be like saying he was a coward, and that’s not how he would have wanted to be remembered or portrayed. Tupac released only one album under the name Makaveli, which was a posthumous album due to Tupac’s unfortunate murder, Tupac rapped with an unmatched ferocity and challenged his enemies. The meaning of the Makaveli name may be that Tupac felt it was time to strategize in the hip hop world, as a metaphorical way of using Machiavelli’s tactics in war and public-relations.

Also Tupac has a clothing brand which is owned by his mother which is under the Makaveli Branded Label. Which is also pretty interesting as well.

Aside from Tupac, today many rappers idealize Machiavelli for his association with power, deception, and cruelty. His name can be heard in many different songs and contexts. “New hip-hop has a trend of supporting a sort of “Get Money” attitude, embodied by rapper 50 Cent whose motto is “get rich or die trying”. This, although something Machiavelli certainly wouldn’t agree for the working mans ideal attitude, does support his view of how a ruler should govern” ( ” T-pain notes the resurgence of Machiavelli in his new freestyle of the hit “Black & Yellow”. His auto tune proclaims “You thought it was over, you thought I was gone, I’m going in you don’t have to let me, back from the dead like I’m Machiavelli Machiavelli”. Lil Wayne refers to Machiavelli differently in his song “30 minutes to New Orleans”. “im sittin on Purielis, Pumpin Machiavelli” ( When rappers refer to Machiavelli specifically Lil’ Wayne in “30 minutes to New Orleans” he is referring to rap legend Tupac Shakur, whom refers to himself as “Makaveli”.

According to, Makaveli is defined as, the Phenomenon of a reincarnated soldier goes beyond the definition of his accredited name. The Makaveli era of Tupac was his verbal will-in-testament to the world, specifically to the urban kids, teenagers, and gangsters of America, to unite. The reincarnation is also a definitive symbol of his ongoing passion to his cause even after death. Makaveli’s lyrics and his passion mirrored his beliefs, values of being a thug, and his humanity. Hence, Makaveli was his own beginning of a new life and the finalization of a completed cause of becoming a true thug. Overall, the Makaveli – Tupac Era was prematurely ended during his death in Las Vegas.

Although, Machiavelli isn’t alive today, his ideals and teachings are still here to stay, especially in the hip-hop world. His message of function over everything is one that will stick with many.


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