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The authorized biography of the legendary artist, Tupac Shakur, a “touching, empathetic portrait” (The New York Times) of his life and powerful legacy, fully illustrated with photos, mementos, handwritten poetry, musings, and more
Artist, poet, actor, revolutionary, legend
Tupac Shakur is one of the greatest and most controversial artists of all time. More than a quarter of a century after his tragic death in 1996 at the age of just twenty-five, he continues to be one of the most misunderstood, complicated, and influential figures in modern history. Drawing on exclusive access to Tupac’s private notebooks, letters, and uncensored conversations with those who loved and knew him best, this estate-authorized biography paints the fullest and most intimate picture to date of the young man who became a legend for generations to come.
In Tupac Shakur, author and screenwriter Staci Robinson—who knew Tupac from their shared circle of high school friends in Marin City, California, and who was entrusted by his mother, Afeni Shakur, to share his story—unravels the myths and unpacks the complexities that have shadowed Tupac’s existence. Decades in the making, this book pulls back the curtain to reveal a powerful story of a life defined by politics and art—a man driven by equal parts brilliance and impulsiveness, steeped in the rich intellectual tradition of Black empowerment, and unafraid to utter raw truths about race in America.
It is a story of a mother and son bound together by a love for each other and for their people, and the relationship that endured through their darkest times. It is a political story that begins in the whirlwind of the 1960s civil rights movement and unfolds through a young artist’s awakening to rage and purpose in the ’90s era of Rodney King. It is a story of dizzying success and its devastating consequences. And, of course, it is the story of Tupac’s music, his timeless, undying message as it continues to touch and inspire us today.
About the Author
Staci Robinson is an author and screenwriter. Her previous projects and collaborations include the compilation Tupac Remembered: Bearing Witness to a Life and Legacy, the novel Interceptions, the film The Bounce Back, and the FX documentary series Dear Mama: The Saga of Afeni and Tupac Shakur. Robinson graduated from UCLA with a degree in history. She currently lives with her family in Northern California.
“Tupac Shakur is a touching, empathetic portrait of a friend. Even familiar stories achieve new intimacy at closer range. And small moments help clarify longstanding narratives, coloring in the outlines of this well-known tale of the actor-rapper-activist who died at 25 . . . [I]t astutely chronicles his life as a microcosm of the ongoing Black American struggle . . . Robinson spends [the book’s] pages advocating not only for Tupac’s integrity, but for the spirit of Black resistance he embodied . . . At its best, the book feels like a plea to re-examine the world that made Tupac Shakur so angry.”—The New York Times
“If you want to read a single comprehensive narrative of [Tupac Shakur's] life, written with love, this authorized bio, is a seminal text.”—Nelson George, author and filmmaker
“Robinson perfectly captures [Tupac’s] everyday moments. Strangely, on balance, you almost feel like you’re reading about the life of an ordinary person. . . . [She] gives us a portrait of the artist as a young man, a restless spirit convinced of the greatness of his destiny, if unsure of his destination.”—The Washington Post
“A must-see for [Tupac] fans [with] loads of colorful details about his life . . . The author is at her best in her descriptions of Shakur’s ambitions, intense work ethic, and dislike of authority . . . as well as his family life. . . . This authorized biography of Shakur is intimate and personal.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[A] riveting account . . . Robinson [sets] out a faithful and detailed portrait of an artist dedicated to helping ‘others achieve freedom from oppression.’ Enriched by invaluable excerpts from the rapper’s notebooks and sketch pads, this will have hip-hop devotees enthralled.”—Publishers Weekly