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on May 21, 2000
The Rose that Grew from Concrete by Tupac Amaru Shakur, is made up of 100 poems written by Tupac at the age of 19 before his fame, before getting shot five times and before going to jail for a crime many believe he never commited. This book shows the true Tupac. The sweet Tupac that was pure and never did anything but simply tell the truth. His poems show his honesty. They reveal his true intentions and the beliefs held so stronly in his passionate heart. A preface written by Afeni Shakur, Tupac's mother, starts off the book followed by Nikki Giovanni's foreword and Leila Steinburg's heart-breaking introduction. Steinburg, Tupac's first professional manager and adult friend, shares her treasured experience of meeting Tupac. She is responsible for releasing these poems to the public. Her introduction alone, is sure to leave readers drowning in tears and, if not already, in awe of Tupac. The first poem in the book, "The Rose that Grew from Concrete," is about how Tupac learned to strive for his goals against all of the obstacles in his life that tried bringing him down. "Sometimes I Cry" and "Life Through my Eyes" explain how alone Tupac felt and show his struggles through poverty. In other poems he talks about love, racism, liberty, heartaches and goals. Readers will be able to identify with at least one poem in this book if not all of them. The book is almost like a guide that can make a person feel better and be referred to whenever someone feels alone, lost or confused. It is as though Tupac reached into his hear and brought all his feelings out onto paper. Only great writers are able to express how they really feel and are not scared to speak the truth. But as Giovanni says in her foreword, "I guess it will always be the case that when someone brings a new idea or, mosre accuratley, a truthful idea there will alway be those people who are wrong, who try to shut the truth and daring down." In his poems he talks about real issues and the ultimate truth of life. But since so many do not want to admit Tupac, the young black rapper who rose above poverty and the streets, is actually right, they make up ignorant excuses such as "they are always cursing" and "profane language is bad." Since this book is free of any profane language, maybe now people who were ready with excuses before, will realize that they have no reasons to hide from the truth Tupac shows. They will realize they have no reason to make Tupac seem low just to put him down. Readers who always thought Tupac was deep, will be shocked to see how deep he really was and still is. Tupac's 12 recorded landmark albums and six major motion pictures are still here to remember him by, and now his collection of poems have been released to the public to remember Tupac's beautiful face and precious thoughts as well. Hopefully, readers will realize that the point of reading this book is to understand Tupac and see that was not just another rapper. Tupac writes about Vincent van Gogh's life and accomplishments in his poem "starry Night." He writes about Nelson Mandela, Newton and his mother in some of the other poems. There is a poem called "For Mrs. Hawkins" where Tupac adresses his sorrow for a mother who lost her son, Yusef, to a racist society. He covers subjects ranging from adultery to God. He dedicated and wrote poems about Marilyn Monroe all the way to a girl named April. Anyone who claims to adore Tupac Shakur needs to read this book which is compressed with his deepest thoughts and truest feelings about love, life and even the government. Especially those that are so quick to judge Tupac never giving him a fair chance need to read this book and see Tupac is special. Teachers, counselors, kids everywhere should read The Rose that Grew from Concrete. Steinburg says in the book that Tupac's poems can teach us about universal needs that textbooks rearely adress. Poems such as "and 2morrow" and "Still I Wait for Dawn" explain the need to survive for a better day. "They also teach us that humanity as a whole suffers if anoyone starves. Unfortunatly it took his [Tupac's] death to teach us that when one man dies we all bleed," Steinburg said. If after reading this book, people still think of Tupac as just another gangsta rapper trying to be poetic, then all that can be said is who cares. Besides, Tupac always said "Only God can judge me." Good for him.
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HALL OF FAMEon November 21, 2002
"The Rose that Grew from Concrete" is a posthumous collection of poetry by rapper Tupac Shakur, whose career in both the recording and motion picture industries was cut short when he was murdered at the age of 25. The book includes a preface by Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur; a foreword by poet Nikki Giovanni; and an introduction by Leila Steinberg, who acted as Tupac's manager. Afeni Shakur notes that the poems in this book were written from 1989-91. Steinberg recalls how Tupac shared poems in a writing circle that she hosted.
The poems appear in this book as photos of handwritten text, with the typed transcriptions on facing pages. This format, combined with some photos of the author, adds to the visual appeal of the book.
Tupac's poems are about love, friendship, loss, social protest, personal goals, and disappointment. His poems touch on many moods: sadness, ecstasy, anger, pride, and hope. Along the way he cites Nelson Mandela, Huey P. Newton, and other figures.
I was particularly struck by "Only 4 the Righteous," a witty and funny poem about rapping; this piece has a great rhyme and rhythm. "The Shining Star Within!," dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, and "Starry Night," dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh, are intriguing tributes to artists whom Tupac describes as ill-treated by society. "God" is a moving profession of faith. I was also moved by "Nothing Can Come Between us," a free verse poem on friendship. "Jada" is one of his best love poems ("u R my Heart in Human Form").
Overall, these poems seem to reveal many facets of the author. In "For Mrs. Hawkins," he writes "I'm a Panther / with the blood of Malcolm in my veins." Other poems look at racism and poverty. But he also writes about things like "First Date Jitters" (in "1st Impressions"). In "What Can I Offer Her?" his voice is full of longing and self-doubt; it is one of many poems that show an emotional vulnerability.
I'm not familiar with Tupac's rap and film work, so I may have approached these poems with fewer preconceptions than some readers. Overall, I think this is a valuable volume. Steinberg notes in her intro that she's used Tupac's writings as teaching tools; I believe that "The Rose That Grew from Concrete" could stimulate some solid classroom work.
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on January 2, 2000
Anyone who has read this book certainly knows that Tupac was certainly a genius! The man wrote with such raw talent & his poems were so real & beautiful. Some of them made me cry. He was probably the best poet/rapper of our time. The man was human & if you read this book, you'll know that he love, cryed, wanted, needed, & hurt like any human. People didn't know how creative & trouble Tupac was. People think because he was in the rap game that he doesn't have a positive message or talent. The man was a GREAT writer & he wrote about his life as a Thug, & he WAS a thug & he knows the life. But Tupac wanted to rid the world of violence & racism, & if you read his work & listen to his music, you'll notice this. He was true & kept it all real! Unlike most rappers these days. He & Kurt Cobain were the only REAL, RAW talents in the 90's & it's sad they're not with us anymore. They were hear to spread a message, & I hope everyone understands it. RIP Tupac, I LUV you, you were 1 in a 1,000,000!
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on February 23, 2000
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on August 29, 2000
"The Rose That Grew From Concrete" is an amazing collection of poetry by Tupac Shukur. The poems let you go deep in his mind and see a side of Tupac that most people have never seen. As you read his poems you start to realize how he truly feels and what messages he wants to get across. You also see the pain and obstacles in his life that he had to overcome. Some people listen to Tupac's music and just hear the negative and the cussing. Not understanding that you have to know the negative to see and understand the positive. Some people see Tupac's music as a bad influence, because they don't listen to all the words to get the real message. This collection of poems is a great way to understand Tupac's life and to receive his true message, to end crime and to stop the hate. This collection of poems has had a great influence on my life and the way I look at the world. I think that everyone who reads this book can relate to Tupac in some way and I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of poetry about life and of course to anyone who loves Tupac.
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on December 23, 2000
Tupac's book of poetry is by far the best book I have ever read and I have read many a books in my life. Tupac's poetry will move even the most cold hearted human being. Any one who's down and out and is looking for inspiration and hope for the future should read Tupac's poems. They are a collection of poems about his life but they are also poems that have a message in them and often that message is that tomorrow will be a brighter day. I never even knew Tupac wrote poetry untill everyone started talking about this book and when I finished reading it I cried cause I finally understood why he is so loved by so many millions of people. I went to SOuth AFrica summer of 2000 and people there were feeling Tupac too. There were posters of him in stores and messages of his name and legacy spray painted on walls everywhere. Tupac wasn't just an American hero and leader, he was the light that shone across the globe. Reading Tupac's book of poetry is like reading his soul and feeling his prescence with you. I would recommend this book to anyone. And for all you people out there who are over analyzing his poems and saying they aren't up to poetic standards or whatever, you need to open your mind and realize that poetry is poetry no matter what form it's in. The only thing is that people interpret it differently. I always have been and 4-ever will be one of tupac's # 1 fan.
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on July 25, 2000
Throughout Tupac's short life and career, he manages to fortell his own future. The same is the case in this book of poems. He speaks of a rose that flourishes against all odds. Wheather he new it or not, he was discribing his own life. No one had hope for him. No one thought that he would be anything, but look were his life took him. Fame and fortune, what more could he want. I can't even begin to imagine how he could be so deep. He had a hard life and limited education, but still there was something special in him. He had an amazing way with words even when he was 19. He dipicts his life in the ghetto, but he always seems to have hope for the future. I would suggest that anyone read this book because it shows a side of Tupac Shakur that he hid from the media in his latter days.
You will be forever missed. Thank you for giving the world a little insite into the mind of probably the greatest visionary of the 90's.
R.I.P. Tupac Amaru Shakur
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on December 7, 1999
this collection of poems was written by Tupac Shakur when he was only 19--before "thug life" and fame took him over. consequently, the poems feel real and seem a true insight into a young man's heart and mind. for fans of tupac, this will be an invaluable collection. for the curious, they'll see that the media giant tupac had roots in a perceptive, intelligent youth.
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on June 1, 2000
Tupac Shakur's collection of poetry is as dynamic as his life and songs. Tupac has touched on many subjects that cross the racial barriers in his book. He seems a young man full of hope and promise. The gangster mentality is almost nonexistent in The Rose That Grew From Concrete. His thoughts on love and relationships are wonderul and moving. Even his poem about death is insightful. Some of the poetry really touched my soul. I have been a Tupac fan for many years and when I saw the book in the store, I immediately started reading. The poems are compelling and remind me of his life. I couldn't wait to share The Rose That Grew From Concrete with my family and friends. If you love poetry and the African American culture than this is a book to add to your collection.
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on January 10, 2000
I bought this book as an Xmas gift for my sister. While sitting through rush hour traffic, I opened it and began reading. I found myself tearing up with each poem I read. This brother was truly an Artist...something that was overshadowed by his Thug Life Mentality...I'd wished he'd come out with some of this work while he was still on this Earth instead of playing it hard and ending up dead way before his time. I recommend this book to young and old. Young brothers running around trying to live the Thug Life need to read this book to find out its not always about Thuggin..its just about being a man with feelings, dreams and a talent to put emotions on paper. 2Pac, Well Done...RIP...
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