Tag Archives: Tupac Shakur research

Tupac paper notes

11 Nov


Twelve years after his premature death, Tupac Amaru Shakur remains one hip hop’s most controversial, influential, and iconic figures. This definitive collection of Tupac interviews, articles, and photographs from the pages VIBE magazine also includes a comprehensive discography and filmography, an original essay by VIBE Editor In Chief Danyel Smith and a foreword by VIBE founder Quincy Jones, who writes:

“The tragedy of Tupac is that his untimely passing is representative of too many black men in this country… If we had lost Oprah Winfrey at 25, we would have lost a relatively unknown, local market TV anchorwoman. If we had lost Malcom X at 25, we would have lost a hustler nicknamed Detroit Red. And if I had left the world at 25, we would have lost a big-band trumpet player and aspiring composer―just a sliver of my eventual life potential.”

Who Was Tupac Shakur? Pac was a magnent for the lost souls of the world. He set up charity to help kids with jailed and drug addicted perents. One eulogy put it succinctly: “…Pac wasnt a gangster, he was a soulja.”


Tupac in all of his fame and glory had his share of legal conflicts. One trial dealt with charges of sodomy, rape and sexual assault. After the judge gave him sexual assault verdict–Tupac went in front of the court and judge and stated in a few words an eloquent criticism. He asserted: justice is not being served, sentence him however it didn’t matter, because  he isn’t in the judges hands, he’s in gods hands, because the trial was a sham–the judge didn’t look him in eye and didn’t give him respect judtice needs to be served.


Black panthers are founded on education, and streets are based on wildness, so Tupac was the combined essence in his art, which was not mutually exclusive with Tupac’s self concept (at this time, an articulate nut.) Tupac’s first rap was in response to the issue of gun control, trying to make sense of life in the iner city and the conditions surrounding him after a good friend was shot and killed. He felt the media rarely asked the  right questions in their mass coverage and he wanted a cultural revolution, so in rhyme, responds to enter his voice into the discourse to become the revolutionary he asserted he wanted to be at just ten years old.

Shakur’s development in steps:

Tupac had early exposure to racism and political activism to his studies of drama to his move from Ney York, to Baltimore, to the West. Shakur’s art can be helpful in cross referencing the ideas of self expression and the effors toward survival and resistance that seem so haphazard and conflicted in much of hip hop music.  Through connections drawn between The Digital Underground and public enemy, notorious BIG dr dre, ice T ice Cube and sista soulja, pac life can be drawn as a prism for the hip hop world.

At the height of his stardom, Tupac always had to be drunk or high (he couldn’t function sober) and if the dopamine kick wasn’t illegal then he had to be doing something that was a lot of fun.  His laughter became forced. The former pacifist underwent a paradigm shift, contradicting his younger ideals fully when Tupac started encouraging shoting and swinging back.

Tupac wanted to get into politics to let his voice out there to depict what he perceived as reality instead of just ‘yes sir’ing’. Through his eyes, the depiction of gang youth was misguided: quite the antithesis, Tupac thought of the police as a gang, the national guard gang the prototype from which street gangs learned structure and formation. Pac delved into who he thought he was the voice for to live the life he sung about in his music. Thus, T.H.U.G. L..I.F.E. He wanted to make entire movement for the whole thug nation to turn around:America this is what you made me, now deal with my radical mentality. Shakur learned of ‘The Game’ the media showed him representing when he moved to Oakland. “Before I moved to Oakland I was only afraid of ignorance,” Shakur stated in an earlier interview.


Would follow police sirens with camcorders to put pressure on the police because he always felt he was being picked on in oakland was beat by police officers who  didn’t believe him when he said his name was Tupac Shakur

In other instance, shot police out of self defense when he intervened with the drunk officers giving a black motorist a hard time

Pac was a magnent for the lost souls of the world. He set up charity to help kids with jailed and drug addicted perents

The Digital Underground and public enemy, notorious BIG dr dre, ice T ice Cube and sista soulja, pac life can be drawn as a prism for the hip hop world.

He always had to be drunk or high, couldnt function sober, and if not then he had to be doing something that was a lot of fun.  his laughter were forced.

Started encouraging shoting and swinging back


Tupac wanted to get into politics to let his voice out there to depict what he perceived as reality intsead of just yes sir’ing: thought police were a gang, national gaurd gang, and that where the street gangs learned it from

Pac delved into who he thought he was the voice for to live the life he sung about in his music. Thus, T.H.U.G. L..I.F.E. He wanted to make entire movement for the whole thug nation to turn around

Would follow police sirens with camcorders to put pressure on the police because he always felt he was being picked on

In other instance, shot police out of self defense when he intervened with the drunk officers giving a black motorist a hard time

Thug Angel: The Life of an Outlaw notes

1960s– termoil and liberation and americans confronted with power of malcom x and MLK

Black panthers: believed needed to be an armed militia to fight the government

Huey newton was in 20s when started panthers, and he was a veracious reader; Tupac wanted to emulate that

Tupac was born two months after mom released from prison after defending herself sucessfully

tupac was a soldier from the womb, her mother socially conscious

Mutulu shakur was spiritual leader/ step father, put in jail at young age

“Thug Life” The hate you give little infants fucks everybody”

Nigga “never ignorant always getting goals accomplished”

“We talk a lot about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., but it’s time to be like them, as strong as them. They were mortal men like us and everyone of us can be like them. I don’t want to be a role model. I just want to be someone who says, this is who I am, this is what I do. I say what’s on my mind.” — Tupac Amaru Shakur (T.I.P)

“If you can’t find something to live for, you’d best find something to die for.” — Tupac Amaru Shakur (T.I.P)

Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z, was a continuation of raw messages from a young black male. Although this album still emphasized 2Pac’s political and social thoughts, the style and production was a lot more hardcore than the debut album. This album was full of sadness, compassion and rage and also carried many disses to then Vice President Dan Quayle in retaliation for his criticism of 2Pacalypse Now.

This album also had a lot more commercial success than 2Pacalypse Now. ‘Keep Ya Head Up’ got acclaim for it’s social pertinence and its supportive message to single mothers. ‘I Get Around’ was the ultimate party jam of its time. ‘Holler If You Hear Me’ and ‘Last Wordz’ continued Tupac’s political attitude in his lyrics. Unfortunately, the raw political messages faded after this album as 2Pac got deeper and deeper into the Thug Life, his marijuana addictions, fame, legal problems, and skepticism from being backstabbed from ‘friends’. They only began to return near and during his recording of Makaveli, shortly before his untimely death.

The production on this album was better than the first.

THUG LIFE was an initiative started by 2Pac before being jailed. The goal was to find aspiring young rappers and help them get initial exposure to the rap scene. This album featured Rated R, Big Syke, Mopreme, and Macadoshis. Future volumes were to feature other artists. Unfortunately, a second volume was never released. However, after 2Pac’s death the other artists from this album attempted to release a THUG LAW album which had only mediocore success.


“I believe that everything that you do bad comes back to you. So everything that I do that’s bad, I’m going to suffer from it. But in my mind, I believe what I’m doing is right. So I feel like I’m going to heaven.”

“I feel like Black Jesus got his hands on me and guides me through life to put me where I’m supposed to be…”

“I feel like role models today are not meant to be put on a pedestal. But more like angels with broken wings”

“It always happens, all the niggaz that change the world die, they dont get to die like regular people, they die violently”

“We talk a lot about Malcom X and Martin Luther King JR, but It’s time to be like them, as strong as them. They were mortal men like us and everyone of us can be like them. I don’t want to be a role model. I just want to be someone who says, this is who i am, this is what i do. I say what’s on my mind%quot;

“I am societies child, this is how they made me, and now im sayin what’s on my mind and they dont want that. This is what you made me America.”

“The only thing America respects is power and power concedes nothing. After the LA Riots, they tried to calm us down and nothing changed since”

“Though are hands are chained like they are, they haven’t taken music from us yet. So that’s how I’ll fight. People tell me don’t quit like everyone else. I wont have no fear.”

“If God wanted me to be quiet he would’ve never showed me what he does.”

“The only thing that comes to a sleeping man is dreams.”

“Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.”

“Let me say for the record, I am not a gangster and never have been. Im not the thief who grabs your purse. Im not the guy who jacks your car. Im not down with the people who steal and hurt others. Im just a brother who fights back.”

“The real tragedy is that there are some ignorant brothers out here. That’s why I’m not on this all-White or all Black shit. I’m on this all-real or all fake shit with people, whatever color you are. Because niggaz will do you. I mean, there’s some [foul] niggaz out there [in the streets]; the same niggaz that did Malcolm X, the same niggaz that did Jesus Christ- every brother ain’t a brother. They will do you. So just because it’s Black, don’t mean it’s cool. And just because it’s White don’t mean it’s evil.”

“We are in the midst of a very dangerous, non-productive, self-destructive civil war. And it’s not just rap shit. It’s ideals. And this rap shit is just bringin’ it to a head. The East Coast believe one thing, and the West Coast believer one thing. The East Coast got one way of life, the West Coast got another wayof life, it always co-existed. We’re coming to the turn of the century where we gotta mash together. But we can only do it one way, one style. And that’s what we’re trying to figure out now, and I think the world is watching that.”

“Imperfection is inherited, therefore we all sin, but fighting the war of sin is the greatest war of all because we all die in the end no matter how hard we fight.”

“I never thought I was the best rapper the best nothing’. I think I’m the realist nigga out there”

“If you walked by a street and you was walking a concrete and you saw a rose growing from concrete, even if it had messed up petals and it was a little to the side you would marvel at just seeing a rose grow through concrete. So way is it that when you see some ghetto kid grow out of the dirtiest circumstance and he can talk and he can sit across the room and make you cry, make you laugh, all you can talk about is my dirty rose, my dirty stems and how am leaning crooked to the side, u can’t even see that I’ve come up from out of that”

“I don’t bang for the color or the land. I bang for the principles and for the honor. I’m bangin’ for the Westside- this is in my heart, this is how I feel.”

“Can’t nobody touch me right now. Maybe next month all of this will be over. But this month I’m takin’ every movin’ target out.”

“To me, I feel that my game is strong. I feel as thought I’m a shining prince, just like Malcolm, and I feel that all of us are shining princes, and if we live like princes, then whatever we want can be ours. Anything.”

“My music is not for everyone. It’s only for the stong-willed, the [street] soldiers music. It’s not like party music- I mean, you could gig to it, but it’s spiritual. My music is spiritual. It’s like Negro spiituals, except for the fact that I’m not saying ‘We shall Overcome.’ I’m saying that we are overcome.”

“And the raps that I’m rappin to my community shouldn’t be filled with rage? They shouldn’t be filled with same attrocities that they gave me? The media they don’t talk about it, so in my raps I have to talk about it, and it seems foreign because there’s no one else talking about it.”

“If you know in this hotel room they have food every day and I knock on the door. Every day they open tha door to let me see tha party, let me see that they throwin’ salami, throwin’ food around telling me there’s no food. Every day. I’m standing outside tryin to sing my way in- “We are weak, please let us in. We’re week, please let us in.” After about a week tha song is gonna change to, “We’re hungry, we need some food.” After two, three weeks it’s like “Give me some of tha food! I’m breakin down tha door.” After a year it’s like, “I’m pickin’ the lock, comin’ through the door blastin.” It’s like, “I’m hungry.” You reached your level, you don’t want any more. We asked ten years ago, we were askin’ with the Panthers, we were askin’ in the Civil Rights Movement. Now those who were askin’ are all dead or in jail, wo what are we gonna do? And we shouldn’t be angry!?”

“My raps are a decision, rabble rousing, spiritual, like gospel music. I don’t want to dance. We have so many things to deal with, we need to talk straight up and down.”

“I don’t advocate senseless violence of any human being. I’m the one who’s been beat down. But I will not be a victim again.”

“If we really are saying that rap is an art form, then we got to be more responsible for our lyrics. If you see everybody dying because of what you are saying, it dont matter that you didnt make them die, it just matters that you didnt save them.”

“I didn’t create THUG LIFE, I diagnosed it” — Tupac Amaru Shakur (T.I.P)

Book overview

“When I was a baby I remember one moment of calm peace, then three minutes after that it was on.”A stunningly designed, richly illustrated companion to the much-anticipated documentary film, Tupac: Resurrection brings unprecedented clarity and soulful intimacy to the life and work of Tupac Shakur.In many ways the autobiography he never got to write, Tupac: Resurrection features the artist in his own words, examining his complicated life and the controversial decisions that plagued him while he was alive. Tupac: Resurrection captures, as never before, his boundless passion, searing honesty, and stunning intelligence, and showcases a range of never-before-seen writings, letters, screenplay ideas, lyrics, poems, photographs, and personal effects, and stands as an indelible testament to the artist’s astonishing cultural legacy. Tupac: Resurrection crystallizes the enduring significance and impact of one of the most complex, haunting, and influential artists of our time.

“But I see now that whether I show up for work or not, the evil forces are going to beat me. They’re going to come 100 percent, so if I dont be 100 percent pure-hearted, I’m going to lose. And thats why I’m losing.”

“I leave this here and hope God sees my heart is pure. Is heaven just another door?” — Tupac Amaru Shakur (T.I.P)

“I’m not sayin I’m gonna rule the world, or I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world” — Tupac Amaru Shakur (T.I.P)

“Everytime I speak, I want the truth to come out. Everytime I speak I want [them to] shiver, I don’t want them to be like they know what I’m gonna say cuz it’s [always] polite. They know what I’m gonna say? And even if I get in trouble, ain’t that what we supposed to do?” — Tupac Amaru Shakur (T.I.P)

“Let me say for the record, I am not a gangster and never have been. Im not the thief who grabs your purse. Im not the guy who jacks your car. Im not down with the people who steal and hurt others. Im just a brother who fights back.” — Tupac Amaru Shakur (T.I.P)

“Imperfection is inherited. Therefore we all sin. But fighting the war of sin is the greatest war of all because we all die in the end, no matter how hard we try” — Tupac Amaru Shakur (T.I.P)


Liberty Needs Glasses

excuse me but lady liberty needs glasses

and so does mrs justice by her side

both the broads r blind as bats

stumbling thru the system

justice bumbed into mutulu and

trippin on geronimo pratt

but stepped right over oliver

and his crooked partner ronnie

justice stubbed her big toe on mandela

and liberty was misquoted by the indians

slavery was a learning phase

forgotten with out a verdict

while justice is on a rampage

4 endangered surviving black males

i mean really if anyone really valued life

and cared about the masses

theyd take em both 2 pen optical

and get 2 pair of glasses

When Ure Hero Falls

when your hero falls from grace

all fairy tales r uncovered

myths exposed and pain magnified

the greatest pain discovered

u taught me 2 be strong

but im confused 2 c u so weak

u said never 2 give up

and it hurts 2 c u welcome defeat

when ure hero falls so do the stars

and so does the perception of tomorrow

without my hero there is only

me alone 2 deal with my sorrow

your heart ceases 2 work

and your soul is not happy at all

what r u expected 2 do

when ure only hero falls

Jada (now, Pickett-Smith)

u r the omega of my heart

the foundation of my conception of love

when i think of what a black woman should be

its u that i first think of

u will never fully understand

how deeply my heart feels 4 u

i worry that we’ll grow apart

and i’ll end up losing u

u bring me 2 climax without sex

and u do it all with regal grace

u r my heart in human form

a friend i could never replace

In The Depths of Solitude

i exist in the depths of solitude

pondering my true goal

trying 2 find peace of mind

and still preserve my soul

constantly yearning 2 be accepted

and from all receive respect

never comprising but sometimes risky

and that is my only regret

a young heart with an old soul

how can there be peace

how can i be in the depths of solitude

when there r 2 inside of me

this duo within me causes

the perfect oppurtunity

2 learn and live twice as fast

as those who accept simplicity

And 2Morrow

Today is filled with anger

fueled with hidden hate

scared of being outcast

afraid of common fate

Today is built on tragedies

which no one wants 2 face

nightmares 2 humanities

and morally disgraced

Tonight is filled with rage

violence in the air

children bred with ruthlessness

because no one at home cares

Tonight I lay my head down

but the pressure never stops

knawing at my sanity

content when I am dropped

But 2morrow I c change

a chance 2 build a new

Built on spirit intent of Heart

and ideals

based on truth

and tomorrow I wake with second wind

and strong because of pride

2 know I fought with all my heart 2 keep my

dream alive

Books Read by Tupac Shakur: This is a list of books read by Tupac during his lifetime including while he was at the Baltimore School of Arts and in prison. They are presented in no particular order. The topics include black history, the afterlife, religion including Zen, war, women’s liberation, music, and poetry. Reading these books, it is clear how they molded 2Pac’s thinking and language. This is a handy list of good reading material if you ever find yourself locked up.

Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member
Written by: Sanyika Shakur
Assata: An Autobiography
Written by: Assata Shakur
Ponder on This: A Compilation
From the Writings of: Alice A Bailey & the Tibetan Master, Djwhal Khul
The Phenomenon of Man
Written by: Teilhard de Chardin
Written by: Gersham Scholem
Thoughts and Meditations
Written by: Kahlil Gibran
Written by: Alice A Bailey
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
As told to: Alex Haley
Ah, This!
Written by: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Written by: Alex Haley
The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Written by: W.Y. Evans-Wentz
Black Like Me
Written by: John Howard Griffin
Bhagavad-Gita As It Is
Written by: A.C. Bhaktive-danta Swami Prabhupada
The Confessions of Nat Turner
Written by: William Styron
The Psychedelic Experience- A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead
Written by: Timothy Leary, Ph.D, Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., Richard Alpert, Ph.D.
James Baldwin: The Legacy
Edited by: Quincy Troupe
Written by: Elisabeth Haich
The Meaning of Masonry
Written by: W.L. Wilmshurst
Social Essays
Written by: LeRoi Jones
The Grapes of Wrath
Written by: John Steinbeck
I Shall Not Be Moved
Written by: Maya Angelou
And Still I Rise
Written by: Maya Angelou
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Written by: Maya Angelou
Nature, Man and Woman
Written by: Alan W. Watts
Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs
Written by: Linda Goodman
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Written by: Robert M. Pirsig
A Raisin in the Sun
Written by: Lorraine Hansberry
Native Son
Written by: Richard Wright
The Practical Encyclopedia Of Natural Healing
Written by: Mark Bricklin
The Complete Illustrated Book of the Psychic Sciences
Written by: Walter B. Gibson and Litzka R. Gibson
Written by: George Orwell
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Written by: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Destiny of the Nations
Written by: Alice A. Bailey
The Visionary Poetics of Allen Ginsberg
Written by: Paul Portuges
The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy
Written by: E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil
The Diary of Anais Nin
Edited and with a Preface by: Gunther Stuhlmann
The Souls of Black Folk
Written by:W.E. Burghardt DuBois
The Psychic Realm
Written by: Naomi A. Hintze and J. Gaither Pratt, Ph.D.
Tropic of Cancer
Written by: Henry Miller
Nostradamus: The Millennium & Beyond
Written by: Peter Lorie
The State of the World Atlas
Written by: Michael Kidron and Ronald Segal
Catcher in the Rye
Written by: J.D. Salinger
Sisterhood is Powerful: Anthology of Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement
Written by: Robin Morgan
In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens
Written by: Alice Walker
Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools
Written by: Jonathan Kozol
At the Bottom of the River
Written by: Jamaica Kincaid
Music of Black Americans: A History
Written by: Eileen Southern
Moby Dick
Written by: Herman Melville
Life and Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written by: Ira Peck
Art of War
Written by: Sun Tzu
Interesting People: Black American History Makers
Written by: George L. Lee
Blues People
Written by: Amiri Baraka
All You Need to Know About the Music Business
Written by: Donald Passman
All God’s Children: The Boskett Family and the American Tradition of Violence
Written by: Fox Butterfield
Black Sister: Poetry by Black American Women, 1746 to 1980
Edited by Earlene Stetson
The Harder We Run: Black Workers Since the Civil War
Written by: William H. Harris
Makes Me Wanna Holler
Written by: Nathan McCall
Great White Lie: Slavery, Emancipation and Changing Racial Attitudes
Written by: Jack Gratus
Imitation of Christ
Written by: Thomas a Kempis
Teachings of the Buddha
Written by: Jack Kornfield
No Man Is an Island
Written by: Thomas Merton
Written by: Evelyn Underhill
Wisdom of Insecurity
Written by: A.N. Watts
Secret Splendor Written by: Charles Essert
Life as Carola Written by: Joan Grant
Serving HumanityFrom the writings of: Alice A. Bailey
Here and Hereafter Written by: Ruth Montgomery
The Prince Written by Machiavelli


2Pacalypse Now, the great debut release, is probably 2Pac’s most raw political album. He addresses social issues such as police brutality, poverty, teenage pregnancy, and drug abuse with the anger of a young black male.

This album was strongly criticised by politics and the media. Vice president Dan Quayle believed ” that this album has no place in our society”. It didn’t help this album’s image when it was found in the tape player of a young black male who shot and killed the police officer who pulled him over. The male was at the time listening to Souljah’s Story; one of the songs where 2Pac raps in detail about killing cops.

This album showcases all of the elements of 2Pac’s nature that he later focused on at various stages in his life and career. ‘Brenda’s Got A Baby’ and ‘Violent’ highlight 2 extremes of his complex character: Sadness in circumstances and raw vengeful anger driven by a need to survive.

All Eyez On Me is one of the most influential hip-hop albums of all time. This CD was dropped by a new 2Pac, fresh out of jail on bail with Death Row records. 2Pac hit the studios literally hours after being released and this CD is said to be recorded in less than 2 weeks. This double album was 2Pac’s first (and second) of three albums obligated to Death Row Records in exchange for their support in baling him out of jail. It is arguably 2Pac’s best album, and surely his most well known.

Me Against the World

was 2Pac’s reflections at one of the most difficult points in his life. This album was recorded while he was recovering from a gunshot wound and released while he was imprisoned for sexual assault. The album quickly shot to number one on the charts.

Many believe this album to be the pinnacle of gangster rap albums. 2Pac was deep into marijuana during this period and the album reflects that with messages of paranoia such as ‘If I Die 2Nite’ and ‘Death Around the Corner’. On top of the paranoia, the references to organized crime (‘Heavy in The Game’, the real nihilistic apathy towards the world (‘Fuck the World’) and especially the reflection on the reprecussions of violence (‘So Many Tearz’) were a great contrast to the cartoonish thug rap albums of the time. This was unlike any other ‘Gangster Rap’ CD, as it went deep into the meaning of many subjects and also contained several emotional rhymes (‘Dear Mama’) and personal reflections (‘It Aint Easy’). It didn’t glorify the lifestyle but brought positive encouragement for people to seek a better lifestyle (‘Young Niggaz’). Many other gangster rap artists have since failed trying to duplicate the emotional depth and realness of this album.


This album was a no holds barred tribute to the thug lifestyle. There are some remnants of his old political and social messages but they are overpowered by the strong sense of anger from being jailed while the men who tried to convict him and then kill him were roaming about free.

The 7day Theory – Released under an alias: “Makaveli the don killuminati”, the first album to be released after 2Pac’s death. However, it is unlikely all of the other posthumuous releases because the production was finished by 2Pac himself and he was promoting it before he was shot and killed.

The vocals for this album were recorded in just 3 days and it was originally entitled the 3day theory. For some reason, 2Pac later changed the title. The entire album including production took 7 days. One of the most well known songs on this album, ‘Hail Mary’ was recorded in only 30 minutes.

Makaveli is a very dark and intense album containing 2Pac’s most passionate and poetic works. He started once again to return to his commentary on social and political issues.

This album featured 2Pac on a cross which played an important part to the proliferation of faked death theories. Another ‘clue’ that sparked the theories was the famous ‘Suge shot me’ heard at the begining of the CD.

Rebel for the hell of it: the life … – Google Books

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