Tupac's Jewelry, Handwritten Notes Donated To Temple University
A dozen items that were once owned by the late rapper are coming to the Philadelphia-based college.
Hip-hop enthusiasts can now add to their bank of knowledge by visiting Temple University's latest attraction. The section of the school where the genre's history is on display expanded its collection with a dozen items owned by Tupac Shakur.
The "California Love" rapper's belongings were donated by an auction house and are housed at the school's main campus. The famed rapper's items fall under the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection that outlines "the global black experience."
Aaron Smith, a professor of Africology and African American Studies, teaches a Shakur-focused class at Temple. While speaking with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Smith said, "For a hip-hop head, this is truly a dream come true. Just 20 years ago, they were saying [hip-hop] was a pariah in society. Here, we have legitimization from the academic community on the highest level."
Shakur's items were donated by New Jersey's Goldin Auction. Some of the pieces include handwritten lyrics from some of his biggest hits like "It Ain't Easy" and "I Ain't Mad At Cha." There are also handwritten track listings from his unreleased albums including Nuthin Gold, Street Fame, and Troublesome as well as the diamond earrings and the bullet-dented gold medallion he wore the night he was shot in New York City in 1994.
"There is a lot of mystery around Tupac and his jewelry," Smith said. "To have some of [it] here means a whole lot". The New Jersey-native also mentioned that Shakur's death possibly has to do with jewelry as the shooting that killed him "erupted over a medallion that was stolen in a previous altercation."
Diane Turner, the collection's curator, said that the Blockson Collection will put more of an emphasis on preserving hip-hop culture. "This is just the beginning of a long journey to collect and preserve hip-hop culture," Turner said.