Tupac Shakur may be gone, but his conscious messages still linger. This time the message is not in his music and instead in one of his writings from prison. A letter penned by the late great rapper was recently uncovered, and is is not singing his traditional “thug life” tune. The letter entitled, “Is Thug Life Dead?” is a five-page message penned by the rapper to Death Row Records employee, Nina Bhadreshwar following his 1995 conviction for sexual abuse. It details his desire to swap a life of gang violence, drugs, and pain, for a more fulfilling one. The letter is currently on sale for $225,000.
‘Pac’s infamous “thug life” mentality, which the rapper had tatted on his stomach, was a large part of his career. Shakur produced many singles and albums dedicated to the way of life, including his “Thug 4 Life” and the album, Thug Life: Volume I. In the letter, Shakur speaks about the motto that was soon adopted by the West Coast, saying “I did not begin thug life, I personified it.” The letter lays out a plan for him and other African-American men to exit the lifestyle and cycle of violence and drugs.
“U must play the game, not let the game play u. A regular Playa plays women, a Boss Playa plays life. A Boss Playa is a thinker, a leader, a builder, a moneymaker, a souljah, a teacher and most of all, a Man!” he wrote.
He also advises the “homies” about facing demons. “I want all my homies 2 realize there is another level it takes heart and courage to stand alone face the demons and make change!” The rapper opened up about his own battle with depression, anger, and drugs. He mentioned the use of drugs as a coping mechanism for the pain and anger. Nearing the end of his life, Tupac was often captured in the media as aggressive and emotional. At the time he was dealing with attempted murder charges and a highly-publicized beef with Notorious B.I.G. His interview with Hot 97’s Angie Martinez was one of his most aggressive interviews.
Unfortunately, Tupac wasn’t able to see the new lifestyle through. The West Coast rapper succumbed to gunshot wounds on September 13, 1996, six days after being attacked in Las Vegas. But for anyone who may want to take some of his advice and apply it to their own life, the lost letter is on sale on memorabilia site, Moments in Time. Read Tupac’s letter below: