Noisey has published three handwritten poems written by a teenage Tupac Shakur accompanied by an essay by writer and author of 2pac vs. Biggie: An Illustrated History of Rap’s Greatest Battle Jeff Weiss.
While the site advertises the poems as previously unreleased, all three poems appeared in a posthumous book release of poetry by the rapper in 1999 called The Rose that Grew from Concrete. Noisey’s article includes images of the handwritten poems that were written between 1989 and 1991.
“Before, during, and after interviews for the book I co-wrote about 2Pac and Biggie, I was given different reasons to explain his legacy,” Weiss writes. “Some said that he was the greatest rapper ever because he was the only one intellectually and stylistically rich enough to teach a college course on. Others couldn’t articulate it; they just pounded on their chest and said, Pac ‘hits me right here.’”
Images of the poems and several others were also published alongside an interview on Citizens of Humanity with Tupac’s first manager Leila Steinberg.
“I wanted to get the book published while he was still alive,” Steinberg said of The Rose that Grew from Concrete. “I’d been reading those poems in classroom workshops for years. I’d open an assembly to 2,000 kids by reading the Tupac poem ‘Lady Liberty Needs Glasses’ and have kids talk about what he meant by that. There are now classes at every Ivy League school on Tupac! Two hundred years from now when people want to understand what was happening in race, politics and music, they will study Tupac.”