More than 20 years after his death, Tupac’s music continues to resonate, and his status as a Cultural icon is widely acknowledged in part because of the power of his lyrics drawn from the wide variety of Books Tupac Shakur read.
Tupac’s sound can probably be understood better as part of the Blues tradition performed for a contemporary audience.
His Raps were more than just lyrical showcases, they were intended to convey a message and touch the Human Soul. Its no wonder his fans come from every corner of the World from Estonia to Kampala.
People everywhere connect to both the pathos and optimism of his music.
‘My only fear of death, is reincarnation…’
(Tupac : Re-incarnation)
From his overtly Black Panther Militant influenced first album ‘2Pacalypse Now‘ to the Metaphysical Spirituality dripping from ‘The 7 Day Theory’ A.K.A. ‘Makaveli’ album, Tupac’s music possessed a transcendent quality, dealing with ultimate questions of the human condition Socially, Politically and Spiritually.
For inspiration, Tupac drew on his wide reading which found its way into his music throughout the various stages of his life as a Man and an Artist.
In the Documentary Thug Angel, we are shown a scene featuring his Mentor Leila Steinberg in which she takes us through a list of some of Tupac Book Classics he read.
These include the following:
1.Ponder on This:
Written by: Teilhard de Chardin
2.Kabbalah (Ancient Jewish Mystic Text based on the ‘Torah’, the basis of the Old Testament and Judaism);
3.The Autobiography of Malcolm X:
Written by Alex Haley;
Written by Alex Haley
5.The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Ancient Eastern Mystic Text on the nature of Consciousness after death);
6.Bhagavad-Gita As It Is ( The Hindu Bible);
7.The Meaning of Masonry:
Written by: W.L. Wilmshurst;
8.And Still I Rise:
Written by Maya Angelou;
Written by: Richard Wright;
Written by: George Orwell;
11. The Prophecies of Nostradamus;
12. Art of War:
Written by: Sun Tzu;
13.Teachings of the Buddha;
14.Life After Life:
Written by: Ruth Montgomery;
15 The Prince:
Written by Niccolo Machiavelli.
I’ve read a few of the ones on this list, and am glad I did.
It also helps explain the depth of Tupac’s music, even providing an understanding of some of his lyrics, especially those on the ‘7 Day Theory’.
So in remembering ‘Pac and his legacy, we should not forget that the man was a voracious reader, and that his legend derives partly from that.
Clearly, Knowledge is Power.
In Thug Angel, we get one of the most intimate and best portraits of ‘Pac on film since his death.