The Rose That Grew From Concrete
is a powerful collection of poetry written by Tupac ("2Pac") Shakur, the charismatic but controversial hip hop artist who was mysteriously murdered at the age of 25. Tupac Shakur appreciated the sound of words, the rhythm of words, and the powerful affect they could have on people. This book of poetry captures Shakur’s passion and anger in a unique style. On the right side of the page is the typed version of each poem. On the left side is a copy of the poem written in Shakur’s own handwriting, where he would often drew an eye for “I” or used symbols to replace words like peace and love.
One of my favorites is the autobiographical poem "The Rose That Grew from Concrete". Tupac writes (in part): “Did u hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete
Proving nature’s laws wrong it learned 2 walk without having feet.”
Tupac was that rose. He grew up in the projects and homeless shelters of New York City. 2Pac wrote these poems at the age of nineteen when he was part of a writing group conducted by Leila Steinberg, a writer and producer working in the music industry. Two women who loved him dearly - his mother, Afeni Shakur, and poet and close friend Nikki Giovanni, share their thoughts in the preface and forward of the book.
You may have never heard his music or seen his movies, like Juice, Gang Related, and Poetic Justice with Janet Jackson. You may disregard this book because of all the controversy that surrounded his life (like the crazy question some people keep asking on the Internet: "Is Tupac still alive?"). But as Afeni Shakur writes, “Tupac’s work speaks for itself.” His words are “a raw force that commanded attention and respect. “ You should read his words for yourself.
For another book of poetry that packs a punch, try Bronx Masquerade
by Nikki Grimes (see link below).