Art Of War Compared To Tupac
The Art of War by Sun Tzu is a book about military warfare strategies on defeating the enemy. Someone who studied the work of Sun Tzu was a very well-known rapper named Tupac Shakur (2Pac). 2Pac was very familiar with the military strategies that were used in The Art of War. In 2Pac’s last studio album, The Don Klluminati: The 7 Day Theory, 2Pac used the war strategies tactics that he learned. Tupac also contradicts himself in his album when it comes to anger. In The Art of War it is said that anger is used against the enemy, and Tupac is angry in the end of the album and is acting very hastily. Other strategies that Tupac uses is attacking first, but also planning and strategizing before attacking. Having allies is another important connection that he is making throughout the album. Considering 2Pac lives in L.A., which is a big city, knowing the terrain and where everything is useful to him if he is ever being attacked. And when being attacked Sun Tzu claims that it is smart to retreat if being heavily attacked, strengthen, and go back into the fight. Tupac makes these and many more connections throughout his whole album. This shows that SunTzu’s The Art of War has many applications in the real world.
In 2Pac’s first song, “Bomb First”, he says that his “.45 is next to me when we ride, for survival” (Shakur). This can be in reference to The Art of War because Sun Tzu claims that it is best to always be prepared for you enemy. Attacking when the enemy is unprepared is the best tactic because it will catch them off guard and gives a better chance for success. Sun Tzu also claims that it’s better to attack first in a battle. 2Pac makes a reference to this when he says, “we bomb first when we ride” (Shakur). Even though attacking first is recommended, it is best to attack when ready to. 2Pac mentions this when he says “Plan, plot, strategize, and bomb first” (Shakur). 2Pac’s preparedness can also be seen in the song “Hold Ya Head,” when he said, “I wake up early in the mornin’, mind state so military” (Shakur).
Having allies in war and in real life are very important to have. A tactic that 2Pac shows from Sun Tzu is the use of allies. 2Pac says in, “Bomb First”, that “my outlaw n****s down to die for me” (Shakur). He has people that with say with him and help him if he is ever attacked when he out. This was smart for 2Pac to do during the time because there were a lot of people that were after him and that wanted him dead. Sun Tzu also mentioned that the use of allies is important when it comes to war. Allies can be helpful to success in war but when going against them, it can be very detriment, which makes having allies very important in war.
Making you opponent angry can be very useful when it comes to battle. Making you opponent angry can make them act out of anger and not act rationally. 2Pac introduces the song “White Man’z World” by saying “You go bustin’ your fist against a stone wall. You’re not usin’ your brain” (Shakur). When frustration falls upon you in battle, it is always better to take a step back and relax before acting out of anger. When acting out of anger, mostly all people regret what they do or say. When in war, if a general act out of anger, it could cause other people to lose their lives. “If the general cannot overcome his anger and has his army swarm over the citadel, killing a third of his soldiers, and yet the citadel is still not taken, this is a disastrous attack (Tzu 39). To be a good general or soldier, it is necessary to keep emotions and anger out of the way. Anger will only cloud judgement and lead to mistakes and death. Tupac also uses this tactic in this album to anger his enemy. In his last song “Against All Odds,” Tupac said “To all you bitch-made n****s, I’m coming for you. Against all odds, I don’t care how the fuck you is. You touch me, I’m at you. I know you motherfuckers didn’t think I forgot. Hell nah, I ain’t forgot, n***a. I just remember what you told me. You said don’t go to war unless I got my money right. I got my money right now, now I want war (Shakur). Tupac is also seen to be angry in this last verse of the song and is going off anger which he should not of done.
When being attacked in battle, sometimes its smarter to retreat and strengthen your troops before going back to fight. 2Pac says this in his own way by saying, “Get my weight up with my hate and pay ‘em back when I’m bigger” (Shakur). “When their military leadership is obstreperous, you should irritate them to make them angry – then they will become impetuous and ignore their original strategy. If they are quick tempered, the stir them up to excite them so that they go into battle carelessly” (Tzu 16). Then enemy’s strategy is to anger their opponent to make them act carelessly without thinking to make them make mistake and make them act without having a plan.
2Pac’s song, “To Live and Die in L.A.” is a good example of terrain in the Art of War. “In any military operation, it is important first to know the lay of the land. When you know the distance to be traveled, then you can plan whether to proceed directly or by a circuitous route” (Tzu 5). Since 2Pac was living in L.A. for a majority of his live, he knew the land. He said it’s a city of “constant danger” (Shakur). In case anyone was to attack him in L.A. he would know where to go and what to do. And since he was living there for a while, he also knows where all of his allies are and that would have been very helpful to him when he was getting attacked. Especially doing this time when he was going through a lot of hate and attacks. “When you know the difficulty or ease of travel, then you can determine the advantages of infantry or mounted troops. When you know the dimensions of the area, then you can assess how many troops you need, many or few. When you know the relative safety of the terrain, then you can discern whether to do battle or disperse” (Tzu 6). By knowing the area, it can be easy to tell whether to go into battle or not. On the other hand, 2Pac probably didn’t know the enemy’s land, but from what he learned before, always plan, plot and strategize before the fight to gain the advantage.
Knowing you enemy is very important for many different reasons. Once the enemy is known it is easier to defeat the enemy. 2Pac said this in his song, “Blasphemy”, when he said “Keep you enemies close, n***a, watch your homies (Shakur). Watching your “homies” means that since your friends are helping you should also watch other them and help them if needed.
Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and 2Pac’s album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, has many similarities. 2Pac studied the war strategies and tactics of Sun Tzu and incorporated it in his last studio album. There can be seen many similarities including the lay of the land, how anger plays a big part in battle, attacking first, being prepared, and even retreating to strengthen later. Overall, the strategies and tactics seen in The Art of War can be used in many other places other than that battlefield and have many applications in real life.