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Tupac Shakur: The Life and Times of an American Icon Paperback – January 26, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Since his untimely death in 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur has been memorialized in a wide range of books and documentary films, but few are as exhaustively researched and contextualized as this latest, unauthorized biography from author McQuillar (When Rap Music Had a Conscience) and history professor Johnson. Seeking to understand the enigmatic performer, McQuillar and Johnson have enlisted a psychologist to profile Shakur, looked into a century of his family history, and paid particular attention to the political background of his mother, Afeni, a former Black Panther. The result is insightful, enjoyable and expansive, even if it doesn't answer the questions that still linger regarding Shakur's celebrity lifestyle and still-unsolved murder. For casual fans with no prior exposure to Shakur's life, this biography will prove thorough and accessible, with lengthy but informative tangents that cover seemingly all of Tupac's collaborators and associates. Readers looking for glitzy speculation will not find it here, and Tupac enthusiasts may not learn much new, but this undeniably solid biography will deepen anyone's appreciation of the hip-hop legend. END
In September 1996, musician and actor Tupac Shakur was gunned down on a Las Vegas street. His murder has never been solved. Although he released his first album only in 1991, by the time of his death Shakur was at the top of his field, a smash-hit recording artist who had also received acclaim for acting in such movies as Juice and Poetic Justice. He had also seen his share of controversy: an armed robbery in which he was shot several times; the murder of a former friend (in which some observers tried to implicate Shakur); a conviction and prison sentence for sexual assault. The authors acknowledge Shakur’s deeply troubled childhood—his mother, a former Black Panther, was tried (and acquitted) for conspiracy to commit murder; his stepfather was on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list—but they also celebrate the rapper’s intelligence and his gifts as an artist who wrote about love and respect, not hate and violence. The Shakur who emerges here is no illiterate gangster-turned-gangsta but, rather, a bright, artistic, driven man whose life and career continue to inspire many people. --David Pitt
Top customer reviews
In Tupac Shakur: The Life and Times of an American Icon by Tupac Shakur By Tayannah Lee McQuillar and Fred J. Johnson III, PhD, the authors dive into his history. Trying to tell the story of the man behind the legend and paint a biographic portrait. His relationships, his style are shared in a matter that humanizes this icon.
This book tell in detail the ups and downs of Tupac and is a good read for those who want to learn about the original gangster.
If you are looking for a very general and easy to read adventure through Pac's life then look no further, the authors write very short chapters, the shootings that Pac endures take up no more than ten pages, which is ridiculous to me (Although that could be because I read a book called "LAbyrinth" that is entirely dedicated to researching just those two incidents). The authors have a PHD and will often interject long and and unnecessary backgrounds of people and places to give the impression that they are putting Tupac in context but judging from the way they talk about the music it is clear they have no idea what they are dealing with. For the most part they get a lot of stuff right, but they leave out IMMENSE amounts of information. For example, the movie Gang Related and Bullet were completely ignored (possibly because they were released after his death, i'm not sure). They also referred to Mickey Rourke as being a part of the movie Juice, and that's just wrong and bad research. It implies that they haven't seen Juice, which was Tupac's most famous performance!
It's not a bad book, you will enjoy a lot of it if you like Tupac but if you are VERY interested in getting as much new information about Tupac as you can, this book offers nothing new. It takes its best parts from other books already written. The best book it uses is called "Got Your Back" and its written by Pac's close friend and personal bodyguard at Death Row. It is worth a whole lot more than this book because it gives you a clear sense of the man and not just a run-though of all the publicized events that defined him.