Hip-Hop Icon Tupac Shakur Offers Candid Glimpse into His World-Weary Outlook in Unused Lyrics

Rare, unused, handwritten song lyrics from Tupac Shakur from his Death Row days, written only months before he was murdered.

In the 1990s, there was no one in hip-hop bigger than 2Pac. Sure, there were rappers who sold millions and were massive influences on pop culture, but none had quite the combined reach, realness, and record sales of Tupac Shakur. Born Lesane Parish Crooks in East Harlem in 1971, Shakur began rapping under the name MC New York in 1989. His hip-hop career began in earnest as a member of Digital Underground in 1990, and by the middle of the decade, he was the face of West Coast gangsta rap.

AUCTION PREVIEW – Tupac Shakur Unused Song Lyrics for sale in Heritage Auctions December 2021 auction.

Tupac Shakur met his untimely demise on the night of September 7, 1996, when assailants opened fire on a car containing both Shakur and Suge Knight. Knight was unharmed, but Shakur was hit with four rounds. He was pronounced dead at 4:03 p.m. on September 13, 1996. He was 25 years old.

Though his life was tragically short, his impact on hip-hop and popular music, in general, cannot be overstated. From his lyricism and flow to his style and demeanor, rap as a genre would be entirely different if there had never been a Tupac Shakur. Heritage is proud to offer these unused lyrics, written in Shakur’s own hand, in our December 5 Entertainment & Music Showcase Auction.

Tupac Shakur Handwritten Unused Song Lyrics Circa 1995-96

Offered here are unused lyrics written in blue fountain ink on a wide-ruled sheet of 8.5″ x 11″ notebook paper in the hand of immortal Hip Hop icon Tupac Shakur. The verse reads:

“When I was born I was a hustla since birth / A black man / Trying 2 hard 2 make my endz before I leave in a hearse / It’s a cold game / What u need I supply u can depend on me / 2 strikez / If I’m caught it’s the pen then that’s the end of me / If I don’t / Change change change change change”.

Tupac Shakur

The handwriting style showcased here — along with the reference to his second strike – point to late 1995 to early 1996 and the Death Row Records era of his career. Striking and incredibly personal, these lyrics paint the picture of a man who knows his time is short if he doesn’t change his ways, as if the only things waiting for him were more prison time — or the grave. Sadly, the self-awareness in his words predicted the legendary rapper’s demise, as he was gunned down months later on September 7, 1996. His music has lived on, however, inspiring subsequent generations of Rap stars. Tupac’s legacy is undying, as he’s cemented among the greatest — and he himself regarded as perhaps the greatest — rappers of all time. In Fine condition, with minor soiling, handling wear, and edge & corner wear. COAs from JSA and Heritage Auctions.

As seen in the description above, this verse showcases Shakur’s headspace at approximately the height of his career: unapologetic, yet distinctly aware of his mortality. This piece is a must for any serious collector of hip-hop memorabilia.

Posted by Heritage Editorial

This article was written as a collaborative effort by multiple experts within the category at Heritage Auctions.

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