Outpace Shaker was a philanthropist, poet, activist, prophet to some, and a martyr. His phrase “Thug Life” was the battle cry for the underdog. It was the glimmer of hope and guiding light for people who had lost hope for their future. Outpace Shaker was something like a black Jesus for the African- American community. Shaker was not what he seemed and even in death he is a mystery. He left a legacy within his music, poetry, and lifestyle that we can still view today. Outpace Muar Shaker was born in Harlem, New York on June 16, 1971 and was assassinated September 13, 1996.
According to the coroner’s port He was originally born Leganes Parish Crooks (Scott). Outpace Shaker came from a long line of political and civil activists. Both of Shaker’s parents were members of the Black Panther party, who worked and fought during the Civil rights movement. His aunt was the infamous Asset Shaker who was accused of slaughtering thirty-seven police officers and escaping prison. From an early age, Outpace was exposed to revolutionary thoughts and taught to stand up and speak out for what he believed in.
Outpaces Mother Affine knew her was son was going to lead a great movement. Outpace Shaker was named after a famous Inca martyr by the name of Outpace Muar. Outpace Muar was slain for leading a revolt against the Spanish trying to save his people (“Outpace Muar”). Contrary to popular believe Outpace Shaker never really live the life of a thug. Outpace took ballet and studied theatre at the Baltimore school of Arts. Outpace Shaker began his career in 1988 as a background dancer. But in 1991 he began his career in hip- hop and his rise to fame.
Outpace began to become consumed in this rap lifestyle in 1992 he began to become involved in crime. Outpace also began to star in movies like Juice, Poetic Justice, and Above the Rim. While his rap and acting career soared to the top, the east coast -west coast feud began to erupt and he was smack dab in the middle battling his former friend the rapper Notorious B. I. G. The East Coast- West Coast rivalry started as a rivalry between the east coast record label Bad Boy and the West Coast label Death row Records.
Most of fights were at night clubs and there were a lot of public arguments. Outpace received a lot of death threats because of this rivalry and his music began to reflect that. Many of Outpaces song made death an under-toned theme. For instance at the end of the third verse his Eng “Changes” he uses onomatopoeia of a gun going off as a foreshadowing of his looming death and how he has accepted his fate. In the hip-hop industry Outpace was portrayed as a reckless thug who from time to time spoke out against the oppression of the black community.
Outpace believed in equality. He had revolutionary ideas to help heal the people. He hated poverty. In a 1992 interview he explains how selfish the world is. He did not understand how the rich were rich and had excess in everything, but there were people who were homeless and starving. He felt that the people who made it out of poverty or even people who had never experienced poverty should give back to the community. He felt that if everyone would only get what they need that poverty would not exist (“Inspirational Outpace Interview’).
He believed that people should be able to step outside of the “isms” in America (by “isms” racism and sexism etc. ) and help out his or her fellow brother. Outpace was portrayed in the media as a gang banging thug, who was wild and reckless but he was not that at all. In his music Outpace let his listeners know his philosophies and how he felt about the world in his songs “Keep yaw head up”, “Changes” and “l anti mad at Chaw”. He inspired people whether they were black, white Asian, or whatever he inspired them.
In these songs Outpace talks about how we treat women, the inequalities in the black community, racism, and internal struggles we face when we are the pursuit of “thug life” and some are left behind. In “Keep yaw head up” the song has a nice beat and rhythm. He begins the first lines with. “Some say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the Juice, I say the darker the flesh then the deeper the roots” the first line is a call and response line and it engages the listener. The first verse of this song is dedicated to women’s empowerment.
In the quote below Outpace tackles all of the social issues women face like: being a single parenthood, rape, disrespect, and abortion and also uses this verse to tell men that women could not do it alone. Muff know what makes me unhappy When brothers make babies, and leave a young mother to be a pappy And since we all came from a woman Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman I wonder why we take from our women Why we rape our women, do we hate our women I think it’s time to kill for our women Time to heal our women, be real to our women And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies
That will hate the ladies that make the babies And since a man can’t make one He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one” ( “Keep Yaw Head Up”) Outpace dedicated this first verse of this song because he was the child of a single mother who at one point in her life battled with drugs. Outpace knew what it was like to watch a woman struggle in poverty.
Many of his songs had uplifting messages for women. Outpace did not believe in the misogynistic views that our society had. He strongly believed in women’s empowerment. “Changes” by Outpace is another notable song that had Outpaces wisdom wrapped in it. In the second Verse of this song he tackles racism, drugs, and black on black crime. L see no changes; all I see is racist faces Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races We under, I wonder what it takes to make this One better place, let’s erase the wasted Take the evil out the people, they’ll be acting right Cause both Black and White are smoking crack tonight And the only time we chill is when we kill each other It takes skill to be real, time to heal each other And although it seems heaven-sent” (“Changes”) Although Outpace did not have a criminal record until he started his career, growing up n the many places that he in the many places that he did he witnessed police brutality and also by being the child of an ex- Black Panther party member he had saw and lived some of the effects of racism. Being successful is not easy. When Outpace released the song “l Anti Mad at Chaw” he tackled the feeling one would or could experience during when you make it out of the hood and your friend does not. The Crab-Barrel effect can tear a family, friendship and a community apart. In the third verse of this song he talks about how Jealously can kill, and how your closest friends will betray you with the kiss of death in this.
Well guess who’s moving up, this n***ass balling now B*****s be calling to get it, hookers keep falling down He went from until’ to lots, ten carats to rock Went from a nobody n***a to the big man on the block He’s Mr.. Local celebrity, addicted to move a key Most hated by enemy, escape in the Luxury See, first you was our Amiga but you made it, so the choice is made Now we goat slay you why you faded, in the younger days” (“l anti Mad At Chaw”) By the way this song is worded one can see the tone of Jealousy and new in the first five lines. And unfortunately the subject of this verse was killed by his childhood friends because he dad it out of the hood and became rich. Some people think that this verse is about Outpace and he is foreshadowing his death.
Outpaces music has touched many people and inspired them to become better than what they were. Besides Outpaces music there was his poetry. After his death his mother published a book of his poetry titled The Rose That Grew from Concrete. This book was filled with poems and thoughts by Outpace. This book embodied the real Outpace that no one saw or even paid attention to. This book poems show how Outpace felt about life, death, heart-break and love and everything else in-between. Most people were focused on the misread connotation of his “Thug Life” persona. This book of poetry begins with a poem that bears the title of the book. This short, yet powerful poem is a beautiful opener for this book.
Under the title there is a small note by Outpace that says “Autobiographical” it is quite ironic that this poem is what he measured as his life. Right off the bat things like this make the reader once again question if Outpace knew of his untimely death. This poem is short and yet powerful Just like Outpaces life. This poem reads: “Did u hear about the rose that grew from a crack In the concrete Proving nature’s laws wrong it learned 2 walk Without having feet Funny it seems but by keeping its dreams It learned 2 breathe fresh air Long live the rose that grew from concrete When no one else even cared! ” (Shaker). Dreams are the key to success and this poem tells its reader to never lose sight of their dreams. Also in this book he has certain poems dedicated to his closet friends.
One of these poems is dedicated to his best Friend, Jade Pinkest Smith. This poem is simply titled “Jade”. In this poem he writes about how their friendship is a once in a lifetime and how there would never be another one like it. He writes her “you are the omega to my heart… You are my heart in human Form” (Shaker). He also admits his fears of losing or messing up their friendship but overcomes that fear because he knows that it will last until death. This book is filled with Outpaces thoughts and dedications to the people that he loved. He also has a series of poems dedicated to his ex-wife April. He has a poem from the time he knew he was in love with her and their unfortunate divorce and how he felt.
But this book comes too chilling end with the very last poem titled “In the Event of my Demise” and it says that it is dedicated to hose curious. This poem reads: “In the event of my demise, When my heart can beat no more I hope I die for a principle Or a belief that I had lived 4 I will die before my time Because I feel the shadows depth So much I wanted 2 accomplish Before I reached my death I have come 2 grips with the possibility And wiped the last tear from my eyes I love all who were positive In the event of my demise! “(Shaker) Death is scary to most people, because it is in human nature to fear the unknown. But the Fact the he had accepted his fate is chilling.
It really puts things into perspective. No one really wants to die because they do not know what is next. He even stated that he knew that he was going to die before his time. But he has the most Human request in the event of his demise and that was only to be remembered. Outpace died on September 13, 1996. He was the unfortunate victim of a drive-by shooting in Lass Vegas, Nevada. The death of Outpace brings about so much conspiracy and mystery. He was shot in public and to this day people claim that they saw nothing. The whole world hurt when Outpace Shaker died. His life had inspired his fans and peers. Even though he and Outpace were in the middle of an argument, the Notorious B. I. G. Eve an interview in 1997 on how he felt about Outpaces death. Unfortunately for B. I. G he was shot multiple times and died two days after giving this interview. “l was more shocked than anything, you know what I’m saying? But I wasn’t more shocked of him dying I was more shocked of him… Pace is a strong dude you I know dude, you know what I’m saying? Real strong So when they was like he got shot I was Just more like, “again” You know what I’m saying’ He always getting’ shot, or shot at He going to pull through this one again Make a few records about it, and it’s going to be over You know what I’m saying? But when he, when he died I was Just like, “whoa”, you know what I’m saying?
Kind took me by- I mean even though we was going through our drama I would never wish death on nobody; you know what I’m saying’ Because there anti no coming back from that” (“Biggie on OPAC Death”). B. I. G. Was not alone because the Death of Outpace shocked the world. Although no one would come forward many people believed that his death was a result of the East Coast-West Coast Hip Hop rivalry. Others speculate it was Just Outpaces past catching up with him or people believe he was killed by an underground cult with in the music industry given the name the “illuminate”. Also many people speculate that the death of Outpace was a hoax to get out of the limelight and he is living somewhere in the Caribbean Islands or with his fugitive aunt in Cuba.
Regardless of the many Conspiracies’ about his death or the possibilities of him being alive, it was very untimely and unfortunate event because Outpace had a lot more to give. Losing a child is a horrible thing, but Outpaces mother took this negative and made it a positive. After his death , Affine Shaker started the Outpace Muar Shaker Foundation dedicated to helping young kids hold on to their dreams and inspire them to follow those dreams. It is based in Stone Mountain, Ga and has impacted young children and their dreams since its founding in 1997. Also many up and coming rappers pay tribute to Outpace for paving the way for hip hop. Many rappers list him as one of their biggest influences to why they became rappers.