Changes: An Oral History of Tupac Shakur

S. & S. Jun. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781982170462. $26.99. MUSIC
There is no shortage of documentation about the life and legacy of actor, poet, rapper, and global cultural icon Tupac Shakur. Nevertheless, Pearce’s (music writer, The New Yorker) work is timely and noteworthy. Candidly told through the voices of people with whom Shakur interacted—both closely and less so—the book provides insight into his personality and details the circumstances that influenced and motivated him. In almost cinematic fashion, these accounts create a nuanced portrait of Shakur’s story. Interviewees also explore the Black Panther Party (the artist’s mother, Afeni Shakur, was a member) and discuss Peruvian revolutionary Túpac Amaru II (for whom Shakur was named). Culminating with a poignant discussion of who Shakur might have become had he not been killed, the work leaves its readers, and its interview subjects, to imagine how he might have used his art to comment on issues like police brutality.
VERDICT With 2021 marking both the 25th anniversary of Shakur’s death and what would have been his 50th birthday, this is a strong addition to public, academic, and research libraries, especially those with hip-hop collections.
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