A portrait of the artist as a young man.
Tupac Shakur wore many hats in his brief-but-bright life: rapper, actor, icon, poet. It is the last one we are reminded today, as Noisey shares some of the artist’s previously unreleased handwritten poetry, provided by Citizens of Humanity via his first manager, Leila Steinberg.
The poems were written over a three-year period beginning when he was 17, and have all the teenaged earnestness that you’d expect. The poems are accompanied with an essay by Passion of the Weiss boss Jeff Weiss, who co-wrote 2Pac vs. Biggie: An Illustrated History of Rap’s Greatest Battle.
“They’re essentially bonus tracks of the Rose That Grew From Concrete era, confused teenage blurts that spoke to the core of who he was,” he writes. “The layers are there. The mask isn’t. They won’t replace Leaves of Grass anytime soon, but they’re unvarnished primary sources from one of the greatest ever.”
Read one page of poems below and head to Noisey for the full piece.