Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Interesting revelations about Tupac Shakur

And his early Thug Life, courtesy of his Wikipedia Page:

"At the age of twelve, Shakur enrolled in Harlem's famous "127th Street Ensemble." His first major role with this acting troupe was as Travis in A Raisin in the Sun. In 1984, his family relocated to Baltimore, Maryland,[11] After completing his second year at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School he transferred to the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he studied acting, poetry, jazz, and ballet. He performed in Shakespeare plays, and in the role of the Mouse King in The Nutcracker.[10] Shakur, accompanied by one of his friends, Dana "Mouse" Smith, as his beatbox, won most of the many rap competitions that he participated in and was considered to be the best rapper in his school.[12]


In June 1988, Shakur and his family moved once again, this time to Marin City, California,[1] where he attended Tamalpais High School. Shakur began attending the poetry classes of Leila Steinberg in 1989.[14] In 1989, Steinberg organized a concert with Shakur's former group, Strictly Dope. The concert lead to him being signed with Atron Gregory who set him up with the up-and-coming rap group Digital Underground. In 1990, he was hired as the band's backup dancer and roadie.[4][5]"

Marin being in the Bay Area. It seems that Mr. Thug Life was more busy acting in "The Nutcracker Suite" than being part of an actual gang or engaging in actual criminal behavior, that he lived most of his life growing up on the East Coast, and that he never lived in LA growing up. All things not really emphasized during the time he was alive.

Another page on the web talks about his dealing drugs directly before hooking up with Digital Underground, which was not a gangster rap group by the way (although a group of talented artists). Be that as it may, his high school poetry teacher was the one who got him started in professional music.

You have to question just how much of the Tupac image was just that, how much of it was a front or an exaggeration by someone who acted in Shakespeare plays as a teenager and who was exposed to high (white) culture in the arts throughout his school career.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts. I wouldn't be surprised if many of his fans realized his exposure to other cultures. What shouldn't be neglected though was how his personal life at home contrasted his life at school. While in Baltimore, he witnessed a friend of his get gunned down in gang violence. In Marin City he dealt drugs while homeless. His mother was an intellectual, but at times addicted to crack. His lyrics often reflect this.