Tupac Amaru Shakur, 1971-1996

Front Cover
Vibe Magazine
Three Rivers Press, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 159 pages
"The tragedy of Tupac is that his untimely passing is representative of too many young black men in this country....If we had lost Oprah Winfrey at 25, we would have lost a relatively unknown, local market TV anchorwoman. If we had lost Malcolm X at 25, we would have lost a hustler nicknamed Detroit Red. And if I had left the world at 25, we would have lost a big-band trumpet player and aspiring composer--just a sliver of my eventual life potential."        
                From the Foreword by Quincy Jones

The real story of Tupac's murder may not ever emerge.  This may be the only lasting testament to the many faces of Tupac Shakur--of a life lived fast and hard, of a man cloaked in contradictions.  A young man who was just starting to come into his own.

"I believe that everything you do bad comes back to you. So everything that I do that's bad, I'm going to suffer for it. But in my heart, I believe what I'm doing is right. So I feel like I'm going to heaven."
        Tupac Shakur, June 1996

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review


User Review  - Kirkus

Shakur, who died in a drive-by shooting at the age of 25, was one of rap music's most controversial and influential performers, as evidenced by this collection of heavily illustrated articles from ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1998)

This is VIBE's first venture into book publishing, and the subject could not be more appropriate. There is no other artist we have covered as extensively as Tupac Shakur--he has appeared on our cover four times in this young magazine's life span. But the reason was never, as Mobb Deep suggested in one single, that "VIBE magazine on some love shit." No other individual touched our readers like Tupac. There was no one else we consistently received so many letters about--some supporting him, some attacking him; but all full of such intense passion and feeling, so much love, so much anger.

The overwhelming response made it clear that Tupac had come to embody all the contradictions and confusion that have grown up around hip hop. He was a lightning rod, a screen onto which millions of people projected their feelings about rap, about race, and about the young black man in America today. Tupac may be a legend now, but he's hardly a hero. Many young people may have looked up to him, but he himself often seemed to be searching for a leader.

"Laugh Now, Cry Later" was tattooed on Tupac's back, but there is no later, no time for crying when you're dead at 25, and not much time to laugh, either. The real story behind his murder may or may not ever emerge, but nothing will change the end result: One more young black man is dead for no good reason, one more young life is ended long before its time. And it is incumbent on all of us in and around the hip hop community to remember that this death is no triumphant, blaze-of-glory exit but just another senseless murder. We need to do everything in our power to help stop the killing.

When I spoke to a longtime family friend of the Shakurs the day after his death, she said, "I know he's in heaven, I just hope he's not giving the angels too hard a time."  Our thoughts are with Tupac's family and the fans who identified with him so strongly.

May Tupac Shakur rest in peace, and may the rest of us live in it.

Alan Light
VIBE magazine

Bibliographic information