For a walk on the wild side, follow Paul Rayment’s digital map pinpointing places of interest surrounding the life and death of Tupac Shakur, the rapper who held Los Angeles near and dear in songs like "To Live and Die in L.A." and "California Love."
The map plots Tupac as he zigzags from his pre-fame days in Baltimore to school in Oakland to his record label in L.A., and on to Las Vegas — where someone shot him in 1996 when he was 25 years old.
“Some of them had to be included like where he was shot and hospitals — that kind of thing," creator Rayment said. "But, I wanted to do something more original. For instance, what he did in school, how he was first talent-spotted."
Rayment doesn’t dare call himself an “expert” on Tupac, but he has been a diehard fan for 17 years.
"He wasn’t the best M.C., but there’s never been anybody quite like Tupac," he said. "He was raised by somebody who was a Black Panther — so he’s always kind of had that militant attitude, but he’s an artistic person, he’s very creative, very poetic. And I think when you combine that militance and creativity, you get this really interesting mix."
Rayment, who lives in Leeds in Northern England, promotes a video game research company for a living and plays in digital media for fun. The 30-year-old said he never thought the Tupac map he created would get much notice. But after he posted it on his Twitter account, fans around the world have chimed in to offer feedback about places he should include.
The map uses social media site FourSquare. It allows smartphone and computer users to “check in” to places they’ve visited.
Another FourSquare function lets users make lists of places to create custom tours. They drop pinpoints, then add their own two cents of information. The maps are free and accessible to anyone, so any user can add more information.
Rayment’s surveyed Tupac’s lyrics to inspire points on his map, but he said he’s come up short.
"Few places are actually mentioned as locations," Rayment said. "There’s loads of mentions, for instance, of street names, of cities. But you can’t really add them on FourSquare. It’s got to be like a specific area — like a restaurant, or a bar, or a school, or something like this — or a nightclub."
So if you find the rose that grew from concrete Tupac wrote about, you’d better be able to say right where it is.
Rayment said he’s completed a map of places Jay-Z mentions in his New York-inspired “Empire State of Mind.” He also hopes to map the creative trajectories of other famous rappers, such as the Notorious B.I.G., who famously died in L.A.