Trapped – Tupac

They got me trapped, can barely walk the city street

Without a cop harassing me, searching me then asking my identity

Hands up, throw me up against the wall, didn’t do a thing at all

I’m telling you one day these suckers gotta fall

Cuffed up throw me on the concrete

Tupac is a hip hop artist who was strong, head-hard, and passionate, especially towards his opinions about racial tensions and police brutality. This is especially true in one of his songs titled Trapped, which was part of his first released album in 1991, titled 2Pacalypse Now. Below the Youtube link are part of the lyrics that depict this well.

In fact, rappers like Tupac wrote songs like this in order to bring to light within the community about issues that people can stand against together, and by doing so become more powerful. According to the article titled “Seeds and Legacies: Tapping the Potential in Hip Hop,” author Gwendolyn D. Pough describes hip hop as a “state of mind; a way of living and being that expands further then what kind of music one listens to” (Pough, 284). Pough also later describes hip-hop as having an effect on youth for social change (284).

I mostly agree with Pough’s stance on hip hop having an effect on youth for social change, though I see that more recently that some hip hop and rap songs seem to have different connotations, songs that are not about empowerment and bringing issues to light, but rather about sex, drugs, and money. For example, Bartier Cardi – Cardi B, which is a song that contains the topics aforementioned. Of course this is not always the case with all current rap, and one also has to consider that we do not have much control over what becomes “popular” rap music. That being said, there may be more songs out there that still have powerful messages, though they are just not “mainstream”.


Pough D. Gwendolyn, “Seeds and Legacies: Tapping the Potential of Hip-Hop”


2Pac – “Trapped”

I decided to do my hack on 2Pac’s song “Trapped”. It is off of his first album and I think it is a great way to see the early 2Pac before he started to get more into beefs and drama and other things of that nature. In this song he talks about how the police and their mistreatment of black people make him feel trapped in his own neighborhood. He knows that this isn’t the way he wants to live:

“You know they got me trapped in this prison of seclusion
Happiness, living on the streets is a delusion”

The use of the word prison has a double meaning here as he feels like he is “trapped in prison” in his own community due to his lack of freedom from harassment from the police, but he is also likely to end up in actual prison when the police discriminate against him and his people as much as they do. I think this was an expression of how he felt especially when he was young which helps to explain his activism. His first manager mentions that 2Pac wanted to “ride around the Bay with video cameras to monitor the police” (Stanford, 10). 2Pac didn’t just hate feeling trapped, he wanted to do something about it and actually change his situation. Later in the song, he says:

Over the years I done a lot of growin’ up
Gettin drunk, throwin’ up, cuffed up, then I said I had enough
There must be another route, way out to money and fame
I changed my name, played a different game
Tired of being trapped in this vicious cycle

This goes perfectly with 2Pac’s drive to be a force of change in his community. He didn’t just want to accept feeling Trapped. He wanted to change the world and he did. He went into the communities he wanted to help and tried to do tangible things to help spread positive change. While he wasn’t perfect, the dedication he showed was admirable and I think that overall, he left the world a more positive place than he found it.