It’s been a few years since I picked up The Rose That Grew From Concrete. To be honest, I didn’t know a book of poems by legendary rapper Tupac Shakur even existed, so immediately I was intrigued. And I really can’t say why it sat unopened on my bookshelf for so long – truly, it’s a travesty.
But I finally picked it up, opened it and began reading it… and then finished it not two hours later.
The poems are collected from Tupac’s participation in a writing circle hosted by his manager, Leila Steinberg, when he was between 18 and 20 years old. And they reveal a side of the rapper that isn’t always evident in his portrayal: Tupac was a softy.
The poems cover everything from his struggle with fame to his love for women to his constantly striving to be a good man. The poems don’t sugar-coat or put a spin on anything; they’re raw and honest and pure. There’s really something for everyone within the covers.
“In the Depths of Solitude,” which touches on one’s internal self, really struck me, while “Sometimes I Cry” made me sob like a baby. “If I Fail” and “The Eternal Lament” also deserve honorable mentions – though, really, the entire book is a treasure.
Do yourself a favour and pick up a copy – you won’t regret it.