I've always been a fan of the late Tupac Shakur. However, he was never in my Top 10. I saved those slots for Kane, KRS, Cube, E-40, Andre 3000, LL Cool J, Kurupt, Casual from Heiroglyphics, Tash from the Alkaholics and a few others. Even after touring with Pac as a young DJ for Paperboy, he still wasn't one of my top emcees. I respected him but he wasn’t my favorite.

Today, in 2017 with everything that is going on, I can honestly say Pac was the GOAT. I say this not because he’s better lyrically than others on my list. Pac is the GOAT because his words were extremely prophetic and are so incredibly relevant today.

One of the lines that constantly replays in my mind, as the nation struggles under the weight of silent poverty and the impending budget cuts of the Trump administration, is one of Pac's most famous lyrics: “They got money for wars but can’t feed the poor."

Why is that line so important to me today? The current administration is basically bringing that line to life with the recent devastating budget proposal. The new budget includes cuts to after school/summer programs, Meals on Wheels, legal services, HUD, heating assistance, college financial assistance and lastly, the school lunch program.

The government's decision to fund defense at the expense of these programs truly disturbs me. I’m aware America is all about capitalism. However, growing up in impoverished conditions in Rialto and Compton, Calif., getting free lunch was instrumental to my success.

My mother did the best she could raising four boys alone. There were times she needed a hand in making sure her boys ate.  For me, knowing that when 12 o'clock came, I would be able to feed my growling stomach, served as motivation for me to not only attend school but also try and do well.

This administration is now telling the people that programs like free lunch isn’t important and it won’t help test scores. Well, I surely disagree, and believe only an entitled elitist would even propose such a thing. I am living proof of that these programs do work. I graduated and went on to tour the world as a DJ and work behind the scenes with some of the biggest names in hip-hop. Free lunch programs weren't the direct cause of my successes in hip-hop, but it certainly contributed to maintaining my interest in school and ensuring that I could focus on obtaining knowledge that would later empower me as a businessman who would later manage the career of some of hip-hop's most prominent artists.

When you eliminate programs such as free lunch--which was inspired by the Black Panthers, a group of young activists who believed that children were able to concentrate and perform better if they had better nutrition--what exactly are you saying to our children? What message are you sending?

Pac often spoke about how much he despised capitalism, and today I can 100% say that I agree with him. There will never be a day that I will understand how a nation can have "money for wars but can’t feed the poor."

 

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