The Rose that Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur

This is mostly a review of the poetry collection The Rose That Grew From Concrete and how it made me feel not of Tupac’s later life. 

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I have heard that Tupac changed as he became famous. However, I don’t know much about him as an artist or as a person. All I know about Tupac is that he died at a young age (25) and he gave me my favorite quote: 

There’s no way that Michael Jackson or whoever Jackson should have a million thousand droople billion dollars and then there’s people starving. There’s no way! There’s no way that these people should own planes and there people don’t have houses. Apartments. Shacks. Drawers. Pants! I know you’re rich. I know you got 40 billion dollars, but can you just keep it to one house? You only need ONE house. And if you only got two kids, can you just keep it to two rooms? I mean why have 52 rooms and you know there’s somebody with no room?! It just don’t make sense to me. It don’t.

Reading this collection connected me with THAT Tupac: the one who believed in not just fighting people but in fighting for people. Through his writing I got to know Tupac before his fame when he was just dreaming of a brighter future for himself, his family, and his culture.  

He has such respect for women in these writings. He writes about his feelings about when his girlfriend had a miscarriage. One poem is called Black Woman in celebration of one particular Black woman and of all Black women.  

I can feel the potential he had and even the potential he still has to teach and move people.  Whether or not he would have reached that same potential if he was alive is anyone’s guess.  Even if you don’t read The Rose that Grew from Concrete or listen to any of Tupac’s music at least stop by Goodreads and view some of his quotes. They are beautiful and moving and tragic things that shouldn’t be forgotten.  

His writing can remind us why we became writers and readers and lovers of knowledge. He had an open view to what he needed for himself, but struggled like the rest of us with how to get those things.  

Please wake me when I’m free 
I cannot bear captivity 
4 I would rather be stricken blind 
Than 2 live without expression of mind 

I imagine him writing and struggling and trying to discover his path. I like to imagine that he would have found that path as he continued. It’s strange and sad to realize he was younger at his death than I am now, but I was raised with respect for him.  

I’ll leave you with one of his poems from The Rose That Grew From Concrete

excuse me but lady liberty needs glasses 
and so does mrs justice by her side 
both the broads r blind as bats 
stumbling thru the system 
justice bumbed into mutulu and 
trippin on geronimo pratt 
but stepped right over oliver 
and his crooked partner ronnie 
justice stubbed her big toe on mandela 
and liberty was misquoted by the indians 
slavery was a learning phase 
forgotten with out a verdict 
while justice is on a rampage 
4 endangered surviving black males 
i mean really if anyone really valued life 
and cared about the masses 
theyd take em both 2 pen optical 
and get 2 pair of glasses 

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