An entertainment auction loaded with an incredible array of musical instruments, stage-worn clothing and TV/film memorabilia also includes a legal document from a musical icon whose career was cut short by the artist’s death.
Before legendary hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur had California Love, he made up one-fifth of Thug Life, in which he was joined by Big Syke (Tyruss Himes), Mopreme Shakur (Maurice Williams – Tupac’s step-brother), Macadoshis (Diron Rivers) and Rated R (Walter Burns).
The group’s name drew inspiration from a set of rules the members believed reflected their way of life. These rules were outlined in a 26-point treaty highlighting the dos and don’ts of living life as a “righteous thug.” The treaty was drafted by Tupac and his step-father, African-American activist Mutulu Shakur, and was signed in 1992 by members of the infamous Los Angeles gangs, the Bloods and the Crips.
The group only released one album, Thug Life: Volume 1 in September 1994. Originally released through Tupac’s label, Out Da Gudda, however, it was recorded and released after the group signed with Interscope Records.
This unique piece of hip-hop history discusses recording, advances, marketing and royalties for the group. The contract, dated Aug. 1, 1994, also includes the original signing page (Page 52) on which each member signed in his given name. It also lists Tupac as the “key member.”
Thug Life: Volume 1 was a success for both the group and the record label eventually reaching gold status by selling 500,000 copies in 1994. Tupac went on to release Me against the World in March 1995, and became the first artist to have a No. 1 album while serving a prison sentence. All Eyez on Me, his fourth studio album, was released in February 1996. In 2010, Rolling Stone ranked him No. 86 on its list of the 100 greatest Artists of All Time.
Thug Life disbanded after Shakur’s premature death in 1996.
Written by: Katharine Harris