Tupac

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The Rose That Grew From Concrete
* Biography of Tupac Shakur

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared. (shakur, 3)

Miserable, struggling, helpless, yet unbelievably tough, and is yearning for a bright future – this is the impression of the rose that is given by this poem. Could you ever imagine that a poem like this was written by Tupac Shakur, a famous African - American rapper, also a gifted actor and poet, who had won American Music Award for once and been nominated for Grammy Awards for seven times in his short life time of 25 years, as an autobiography? Tupac was definitely a successful artist - he had sold over 75 million albums, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world; he is also considered by many people to be the standard in rap music. However, at the back of his huge success, there were so many bitter stories and rough experiences. “Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?” (Shakur, 3) These are the first two lines of Tupac’s autobiographical poem. Just like what he had written in the poem, Tupac was “the rose that grew from concrete.” He had overcome plenty of things in order to live and chase his dream. (2)

Tupac Shakur had a rough childhood. He was born in the east harlem section of Manhattan in New York City with his mother being a member of the Black Panther Party, an African-American revolutionary socialist organization. Tupac’s mother, Afeni shakur, had successfully defended herself in the court and been acquitted on 156 courts one month before giving birth to Tupac. Even though she did not have a steady job, Afeni still wanted her child to have good education. She sent Tupac to school and made him do his homework, believing that good education would bring him better life. However, things started to go wrong soon afterwards. Few months before Tupac’s sister was born, Tupac’s father, Mutulu Shakur who was also a member of the Black Panther Party, had been sentenced to sixty years for a fatal car robbery. Losing the backbone of the family, the Shakurs started to experience hard time. They lived in the homeless shelter and this made Tupac felt very distressful. “I remember crying all the time. My major thing growing up was I couldn't fit in. Because I was from everywhere. I didn't have no buddies that I grew up with.” After Mutulu was imprisoned, Tupac started to realize that because of his family issue, he could not fit into the children that were at the same age as him. The loneliness drove Tupac to start writing poetry and love songs. He also wrote in his diary that he wanted to be an actor. Tupac spoke the reason he loved to act: "The reason why I could get into acting was because it takes nothin' to get out of who I am and go into somebody else." Tupac enjoyed acting, because it was a way for him to escape from his dismal life. Tupac’s miserable childhood gave him painful, lonely memories; however, these were not all the things that his childhood gave him – Because of his unusual experience in his childhood, Tupac’s talent on arts was inspired. It could be said that Tupac’s rough childhood also had opened his way to success. (3,4,5)

When Tupac was fifteen, the Shakurs moved from New York City to Baltimore. In Baltimore, Tupac began his road of art. He enrolled in the illustrious Balitomore School for the Arts, where he studied acting and ballet. Tupac also fell into rap when he was in Baltimore, and started performing as “MC New York”. Two years later, the Shakurs moved again, this time from Baltimore to Marin City, California. Tupac began to attend poetry class of Leila Steinberg after he settled down in Marin City. At the same time, he joined a local young rap group called “Digital...
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