Tupac’s 21st Death Anniversary – Meaning Of ‘Thug Life’ Is Fading With Memes

Everyone has seen “Comedy” videos where joints, chains and sun-glasses fly over to a person’s face. Oh yes, you got it right, The “Thug Life” videos. In fact, these videos became so popular that everyone started hopping on this bandwagon and started a trend. Basically, people started using the concept to display a person who wins in an argument or is just dominating in a video. Let’s admit it, these videos are hilarious.

However, the term “Thug Life” has a deeper meaning than flying joints, chains and sun-glasses. The Godfather of Thug Life, Tupac Shakur passed away this day 21 years ago. Tupac is the sole reason why in countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh people know what ‘Thug Life’ is. However, our knowledge of the same is not complete. So without any further ado, let’s find it out its deeper meaning.

“The hate that you give little infants fu*ks everyone!” – Tupac (T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E.)

Thug_LifeThug Life (Hip-Hop Crew)

First of all, it is referred to the hip-hop crew Thug Life which unfortunately didn’t last for long. The crew consisted of Tupac Shakur, Stretch, Big Syke, Mopreme Shakur, The Rated R and Macadoshis. The group released only one album in 1994 – Thug Life Volume 1 before they got disbanded because of Tupac’s death. Mopreme Shakur later became a member of The Outlawz under the name “Komani”.

Moreover, Mopreme Shakur (Tupac’s older brother) sat down with VLAD TV to discuss the term. Mopreme explained Thug Life and what it stands for – “The hate that society gives you and its poor, fu*ks everyone. ‘Thug Life’ represented the poor disenfranchise of all nationalities who’re oppressed by economics, power structures, racism, sexism and all the ‘isms’. We were with the undergrounds. We represented the underdogs.”

When Mopreme Tupac Shakur was asked to explain his definition of a “Thug”, his answer made sense. “A thug is a person in rough conditions who is oppressed and is trying to survive, trying to come up without dying. The message resonates because so many people can relate to it. The percentage of have-nots is huge. The percentage of have-nots is way over fifty percent”, he stated.

He further related the term with “Thug Life” and said, “I’m coming from people. We were coming from the people. We wanted to reach the people, our people. That was our primary concern. ‘Thug Life’ was for thugs that society forgets about and pushes inside.”

Watch the full video of Mopreme Shakur talking about “Thug Life” here –

Tupac’s “Thug Life” Tattoo

Tupac’s fame and success is magnificent. Furthermore, today marks his 21st death anniversary, but even after all this time his popularity is increasing day after day. Tupac Shakur represented West-Coast hip-hop through Death-Row Records and died while being loyal to the art. Tattoos on his body are still iconic but “Thug Life” inked below his chest is the most famous of them all. People who don’t know much about Tupac consider this tattoo as a symbolisation of being a thug but as mentioned above, its more than that.

We have a separate article on “Most Iconic Tattoos From American Hip-Hop“. Be sure to check that out as well.

Tupac Shakur-Thug Life Image

In another interview with VLAD TVThug Life member, Big Syke and Macadoshis explained the meaning behind Tupac’s iconic image used above. Macadoshis suggested, “When Tupac did ‘Strictly For My Nig*az’, Pac didn’t had do-rag on his head and he wasn’t showing his ‘Thug Life’ tattoo. Basically what I’m saying is, every vision that you have of Tupac when you close your eyes, that came after when Tupac came with Thug Life (crew).”

Sikander Kahlon has a similar desi-version of “Thug Life”. Kala Kurta Gang is a crew which has three hip-hop artists and it is restricted to them. But, Kala Kurta Gang also has a similar meaning of hustling your way around like the “Thug Life”.


“Thug Life” is for rebels who have dreams in their eyes. These rebels are known as “Thugs” who shouldn’t be confused with gangsters. People (Thugs) who struggle with the norms of society by challenging them are living the “Thug Life”. It is not related to African-Americans alone. Ask yourself, are you living the “Thug Life”?

Next time when you see these comedy videos, you should know that its not ethically right to use the term in that reference. How do you like this post? Let us know in the comments down below. RIP Tupac!