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100 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars all eyes on him, May 21, 2000
This review is from: The Rose That Grew From Concrete (Hardcover)
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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