The documentary His Final Hours vividly presents the life of Tupac Sharkur not only as a hip-hop artist, but also as a social activist who claimed to live his life fighting for the poor people’s respect for hip hop music. It creates some discrepancies between what is presented in the documentary and his real life.
Tupac’s life was full of contradictions and discrepancies between the ideal and the real. The first discrepancy is based on the deal he signed with Death Row Records. It appears that he signed the deal with them in order to get out of prison, but not because he was ready to lead non-violent life (Higgins). After being released from prison, Tupac made a public statement and confessed that he was about to completely leave thug life and violence. In order to demonstrate that he had not left gang and violent life, he fought another man on September 7 1996, just minutes before he performed at 622 club in Las Vegas (Higgins). In fact, this may have contributed to his death; the man he beat up may have organized his murder. Although he had renounced violence, later it was evident that he was violent all through. It presents a disjoint between what the film-makers want us to believe and what we actually see. The film-makers appear to be one-sided.
His Final Hours is a documentary film that was meant to, as the title suggests, enumerate how the last 24 hours of Tupac Sharkur were spent. However, the documentary recited the entire life story of the main character (Chapman). Though, there is some discrepancy in the film. Although it could be argued that to understand the reasons of Tupac’s murder, one should be aware of his background, the film-makers should not have presented the documentary as a biography. Moreover, this approach has achieved several points. First, the presentation of Tupac’s past life makes the audience understand his personality and motivations. For instance, the viewer realizes that the musician was brought up without a father. It may have contributed to his waywardness in his later life. Secondly, we learn that his temperament was short; he did not care about certain things. Most of the newspapers reported him as being in constant conflict with the police. According to Higgins, Tupac did not respect the law, which was obvious in his rude conversation with police officers as well as his imprisonment due to robbery-related issues. Also, Tupac was accused of assaulting women. It presents a discrepancy in how the subjective creators of the film present him as an activist and liberator, and his disrespect for law. In this view, advocacy does not mean failing to respect the law.
The third discrepancy concerns his love for money. Perhaps, this is what led him to thug life. According to his bodyguard, Tupac was a money monger. Most of the interviews reveal the same thing: he loved money. It compromised his stance as a social activist who appears to focus on the blacks in ghettos. However, if Tupac was a social activist and he did not obey the law, this presents a dire contradiction. For instance, in American history, Civil Rights Movements that fought for the rights of the blacks were legally recognized. They were always within the law: they did not deliberately break the law in order to advance their agenda (Macpherson). Though, in this case, Tupac as the member of the Black Panther group was not always a righteous man. It confuses the audience regarding whether black liberation tenets have changed in any way. It is further illustrated by the disunity and competition among various black rappers such as the New York-based Luv and Tupac. During the times of the civil rights movements, there was a great sense of unity among the blacks, but this documentary presents a rift of divisions between the blacks themselves. In this view, the film is a presentation of the personality that led to the downfall. There is no doubt that Tupac was killed by one of his enemies: he had black enemies as well.
Tupac’s love for money presents yet another discrepancy. It is expected that his money-mindedness would make him successful in every attempt to make money, and that he gets money from people, not people getting money from him. In addition, he is expected to be strong: thugs are not robbed. Therefore, any occasion in which Tupac is robbed or overpowered by other thugs is a contradiction. The death of the musician is a discrepancy between his claimed toughness and his succumbing to death. Six years before his dath, he had survived another attack in which several bullets were fired at him in New York. Although he was a thug himself, he was robbed of millions of dollars and expensive gold. This fourth discrepancy is also exhibited by the fact that he claimed to be righteous in his private life and that all what he did in public was advocacy. It does not only lead to confusion in particular, but also in general: do rap musicians practice what they preach or do they simply incite people? According to Macpherson, Hip Hop music is supposed to be part of the wider popular culture at the disposal of the whites and the blacks. However, the film appears to present a one-sided approach to popular culture: as if it was a property of the blacks. There are no white interviewees in the documentary. In fact, most of the people associated with Tupac are black.
In order to present the subject matter of the film, the film-maker uses several strategies, methods, or approaches. Being a musician involves a great deal of entertainment aspect (Lipshutz). First, the film-maker cites several instances of Tupac performing on stage. Second, Tupac appears to be funny, comical, and full of energy and exuberance. At the family level, he is seen rapping in front of his sister and cousins. Also, it is connected to artistic expression of Tupac that occupies all his public appearances. A lot of art is seen in the pictures that the black hip hop artists drew in the ghettos. In addition, the Black Panther was the culmination of all the artwork as a way of expressing ideas and possibly, oppression. Thirdly, social critique is at the heart of the documentary: Tupac criticizes social ills through music. Further, he is seen to openly differ from his competitors on various social issues such as marketing of music. According to the narrator, he managed to sell over 75 million albums during his career (Lipshutz). Following his death, twelve shootings were experienced several days after his death. It was evident that he had influenced many people. The film-maker does not bring out any ethical issues. Moreover, these ethical issues are implied in the way the film is presented. For instance, the film-maker does not expose Tupac’s private life with his girlfriend.
Tupac’s final hours were very tragic. He was cold-bloodedly murdered. However, the film goes beyond presenting the events of that particular day to include a short background and history of the musician. There is no doubt that the makers of the film were not absolutely objective. They wanted to justify a particular position that Tupac was a hero in spite of his perennial conflict with law enforcement authorities. These discrepancies are presented in a stylish way that includes entertainment and art in a bid to help the viewers enjoy the documentary.