After he and Affine moved to Baltimore, Outpace attended that city School for the Arts, studying acting and dance. He also wrote his first rap there and felt himself beginning to fit In, at long last. But by his Junior year he was packing up again, moving this time to Marin City, a desolate stretch of northern California known locally as The Jungle. Moving out of his mothers home, he began selling drugs and establishing himself on the streets of his adopted town. It was like a hood and I wanted to be a part of it, he explained to Powell. If I could Just fit in here, Im cool.
And I thought I did. At the same time, he began to entertain thoughts of a music career. In 10 he auditioned for the Bay Area rap group Digital underground, and was hired as a dancer and roadie. He Joined the ensembles Sex Packets tour of the U. S. And Japan, and made his recorded debut on their 11 This Is an PEP Release. His newfound success , however, was tainted by some unwelcome news I was on the road with D. O. And called my homiest Just to say hasps, and they told me my moms was buying dope from somebody, he related to Vibe. It f—De me up. I started blocking her out of my mind.
Fannies battle with crack addiction would try their relationship sorely. By the end of the year he had released his solo debut, Apocalypse Now, on the Interstice label. He paved the way for his solo career while touring with D. O. Everybody knew me even though my album wasn’t out yet, he told Vibe. I never went to bed. I was working It Like a Job. That was my number-one thing when I first got In the business. Everybody’s goanna know me. Soon everyone would, though perhaps not as he might have hoped; his albums tough stance–in the increasingly popular against mode–created his first major controversy.
In April, 1, a Texas state trooper was shot o death by a young man who later claimed to have been listening to the album and cited the track Souls Story as the impetus for his violent act. The song narrates a fugitive with cops on my tall; pulled over, he decides to blast [the officers] punk SSL Now I got a murder case. This incident, along with other descriptions of cop-murdering, led a number of politicians, including then Vice-President Dan Equally, to call for the records removal from stores.
He changed the direction of hip-hop – hijacked it, some would say -? and ceremonials its status as the art politicians love to hate, declared RAG Smith in Spin. Of course, such controversy ended up boosting sales of Apocalypse. Outpace himself, meanwhile, had filed slut against the Oakland police department, alleging brutality In a jangling arrest. Even as his rap career was heating up, Outpace broke out as a film star in Ernest Dickerson 1 film Juice, portraying Bishop, a kid who becomes addicted to the high of violence. Though reviews of the film were mixed, his performance received uniform raves.
Soon, however, his name was making headlines attached to another tragedy, between Topics posse and their antagonists. Spin reported that many in the rapper- actors adopted hometown began to refer to him as Tu-faced. But controversy sells records, and Topics 1 effort Strictly 4 My N. I. G. G. A. Z… Went gold in a matter of months, thanks in part to the hit track I Get Around. Ironically, given later developments, one of the albums other hit singles was the upbeat Keep Yea Head Up, a paean to the strength and survival of black women.
Meanwhile, his other rap sheet–listing his run-ins with the law–continued to pile up he was arrested after allegedly beating a limo driver, served ten days in Jail after attacking another rapper tit a baseball bat, and was busted for allegedly shooting two off-duty police officers shortly after relocating to Atlanta. He was acquitted of the latter charge. He co-starred with pop singer Janet Jackson in John Singletons 1 film Poetic Justice, once again receiving accolades even though the film was poorly received at the box office.
In November of that year, a young woman with whom Outpace had been involved claimed that he and three of his friends had customized and sexually abused her. His troubles continued into 14; in March he spent 15 days in Jail for hitting filmmaker Allen Hughes. But he scored again with critics in the movie Above the Rim; Owen Glimmering of Entertainment Weekly called Outpace perhaps the most dynamic young actor since Sean Penn, adding that he gives each of his characters a unique spiritual temper. With his group Thug Life, Outpace also contributed to the films soundtrack, which sold million copies.
Thug Life–the words were tattooed on the rappers stomach–then released its own album, Volume One, which Entertainment Weekly described as a 10-song meditation about life under the gun. Where [Topics] solo releases have often dragged, One crackles with kinetic energy. Yet the Thug Life that he advocated–Thuggish against society. Thuggish against the system that made me, as he put it to Rolling Stone–was taking its toll. Out on bail on the previous sexual abuse and sodomy’s charges, he was shot several times on the ground floor of a building that housed an acquaintances recording studio.
He was ambushed as he prepared to rap on another rappers record, shot and robbed. Although he sustained multiple injuries, he survived. Over the strenuous objections of his doctors, Outpace appeared in court shortly before sentence was passed. Despite whatever mitigating effect the sight of the wheelchair- mound Outpace could have had on the Jury, he was found guilty of sexual abuse. Although this was the lesser charge against him, he was sentenced to 1 1/ to 4 1/ years in prison. Though heed previously said that Jail would destroy his spirit, he told Vibes Powell that he now saw his incarceration as a gift–straight up.
This is Gods will. Adding that getting clean after years of incessant marijuana smoking had cleared his head, he claimed a new perspective on his work. If we really are saying rap is an art form, he declared, then we got to be true to it and be more responsible for our lyrics. If you see everybody dying because of what you saying, it don’t matter that you didn’t make them die, it Just matters that you didn’t save them. First single, Dear Mama, praised his mother for her strength. Outpace couldn’t appear in the video, obviously, but Affine is featured in the clip, watching clips of her son on television.
Having recovered from her addiction, the rappers mother had been working for Topics production company. Though some may have found the sentimental single an attempt to drum up sympathy for its Jailed author, Interstice executive Tom Whaley said otherwise. It wasn’t like, Well, Topics in Jail, lets find the cost sympathetic song on the record and put it out so that the audience will be sympathetic to him, he asserted to Jerry Crower of the Los Angles Times. I Just thought it was a great song, an emotional song. Me Against the World climbed to the top of the Billboard magazine sales chart, selling half a million copies within weeks.
Dear Mama also reached the top ten singles chart. Actress Jade Pinkest- -a steadfast friend and supporter who’d allegedly helped, along with superstar singer-actress Madonna and actor Mackey Rouge, to pay Topics bail–was slated to direct the video for the albums subsequent single, Can U Get Away. Shaker had Just completed filming with Rouge on the film Bullet. Writing in the Village Voice, critic and pop-culture analyst Toured limned what she called massive distance between Topics fame and the quality of his work so far.
While she praised his acting talent, Toured disliked most of the films Outpace appeared in, and argued that though he remains along with Snoop [Doggy Dog] one of the two most famous rappers in the world, he is merely an average vocalist and lyricist, and has yet to record one aesthetically important song. Yet, Toured insisted, Topics experiences on the public stage have been remarkable performances in their own eight, and have lent an air of importance to his otherwise unimpressive records.
The Source, however, praised Me Against the World as the rappers best so far, while Jon Paroles of the New York Times admired its fatalistic calm, in a commercial mold. From prison, Shaker alleged that he had changed his ways, The addict in Outpace is dead, he vowed to Vibe. The excuse maker in Outpace is dead. The vengeful Outpace is dead. The Outpace that would stand by and let dishonorable things happen is dead. God let me live for me to do something extraordinary, and that’s what I have to do. Even if they give me the maximum sentence, that’s still my Job.
Yet after his release from prison, the rapper-actor showed little sign of change. He threw himself into the East Coast vs.. West Coast feud in which his new boss, Death Row Records chief Segue Knight, was embroiled. In typically contradictory fashion, Shaker publicly taunted Knights rivals, including Bad Boy Records head Sean Puffy Combs. This conflict may or may not have led to Shakers shooting in September, 16, as he and Knight drove through Lass Vegas after a boxing match. Shaker died of his wounds a week later.