This past weekend, three handwritten poems by Tupac Shakur were released by Citizens Of Humanity and Pac’s first manager, Leila Steinberg, via Noisey. All three are essentially outtakes from the late rapper’s Rose That Grew From Concrete period, when he was penning poems as a 17-year-old.
That period found Pac as a wide-eyed, innocent teen, finding the best and the worst in everyone he encountered. His images are almost clichè, despite revealing Pac’s bleeding heart charisma. He had a hunger to change the world, one person at a time, and that hunger eventually developed into a full-blown personality that made him the icon he is today. The writing style is child-like, but it works to communicate Pac’s naive, hopeful message.
“Cupid’s Smile II” is about as innocent as a poem can get, but the simplicity of the image conveys the weight of the emotion behind it. “I ran outside 2 feel the rain / and I stayed outside awhile” is such a charming, childlike way of expressing emotion. As Pac grew as an artist, his strongest asset became his ability to showcase his stormy feelings, and it’s clear from these early poems that blunt catharsis was a constant focus in his work.
Pac goes Shakespearean for “A Love Unspoken,” again putting his emotions on front street. “Thug Life” was tatted across his tummy but Pac’s greatest source of energy was love. These poems give some insight into his younger self, who saw the world for all the pain it contains and still sought a sliver of hope. His music, as well as his poetry, was never as refined and sleek as the work of Notorious B.I.G., but his raw passion has helped him maintain his status as the most well-known MC in the world, and these poems only cement that legacy.