Into The Abyss:
A Personal Journey into the World of Street Gangs

by Mike Carlie, Ph.D.        
© 2002
Michael K. Carlie
Continually updated.

~ Table of Contents ~
Home | Foreword | Preface | Orientation

What I Learned | Conclusions
End Note |
| Appendix
Site Map / Contents
| New Research

Up-To-Date Gang-Related News


Opposing Viewpoint

On May 12th, 2009, I received the following email in which Heath Lee objected to the way in which Tupac was characterized in this Field Note. This is what Mr. Lee sent to me:

"I'm a Junior Psychology student at ______ University. I was reading through Into the Abyss and came across this statement concerning gang culture: “He also shared his frustration and disgust with the fact that Ice T (the gangster rapper) is a documented gang member." Gangster rap not only glorifies being a gangster, Ice T is living proof that gangsters are glorified and can even  become popular recording artists. 2 Pac, of course, would be another example of this, but gang banging resulted in his premature death."

I'm also a big Tupac Shakur fan and have studied a great deal about Tupac. To the point now, yes there is some evidence that Tupac was a member of the Bloods but he wasn’t a “gang banger” he repeatedly said that he was NOT a “gangster rapper," you would know this if you were to watch the extras in his documentary Resurrection. He is being questioned while in jail I believe, and they ask him about gangster rap, he says he has never had a song that was gangster rap.

I'm not saying that he was not a member of a gang, I'm not saying that him being a member of a gang didn’t lead to his premature death, and I'm not saying he was perfect. But it just struck a nerve when u put him in the same category as Ice T. Seriously that’s very demeaning to him and his memory, Tupac was 5 times the man that Ice T could ever be, sure he did a lot of things that weren’t good and that I don’t agree with, but he also did a lot of things to try and help people, like holding the TRUC PICNIC where he got members of the Bloods and Crips to sign the Code of Thug Life. He also started Joshua’s Dream Corporation and Euphanasia which were to help the community.

I don’t know if you know anything about Tupac other than he was a rapper, if not I ask you to please research him a little. Like I said, he was in no way perfect, but I'm sure you will find out that he was in no way the same type of person that Ice T is. Tupac was way more than just a rapper, he said himself that he didn’t want to rap for much longer, he wanted to do something that would help change the world, little did he know that he did help change the world through his music alone. He was a poet and a fallen angel!

I replied to the writer indicating that the quote to which he is referring was not mine but from one of my interview subjects.

Return to Gang Culture