The following are excerpts from the book Tupac Remembered. More fond memories from friends and family will be featured in the coming days as part of our 40th birthday tribute.
Molly Monjauze, a friend of Tupac’s from when he was a student at Tamalpais High School, worked closely with him during his lifetime and for over a decade has worked hand-in-hand with his mother, Afeni Shakur, at Amaru Entertainment.
“Where do you think Tupac came from? He is his mother’s son, what were you expecting, exactly?”
“Putting this book together reminded me of how many people Tupac connect with. I am not a poet, an actor, a revolutionary, a musician, a rapper, a politician, a gangster, a comedian, a music mogul or a scholar, yet he connected with me in addition to all of these individuals. Tupac loved every person for who they were, and for not trying to be anything different. He used to say to me that every single person in our lives represented a piece of a puzzle, some of us may have been bigger than the other parts, but without even one of the smallest pieces, the puzzle would be incomplete. Tupac is our common denominator He has become what all of us have in common with each other. For many of us, he had become a source of motivation we share.”
- Molly Monjuaze
Tupac and his sister Sekyiwa, or “Set,” shared a relationship filled with sibling banter and love, which grew into one of protection and pride as they became adults. They moved often throughout their childhood, going from New York to Baltimore to Marin City. The constant they had was one another.
“We had lots of books. One in particular I remember was the children’s version of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Tupac had a Rubik’s Cube he mastered. He loved Star Wars back then. He also made a lot of homemade toys.”
- Sekyiwa Shakur
As frontman for Digital Underground, Shock G gave Tupac a chance to go on his first nationwide tour, introducing him to the world for the very first time. Tupac once said, “Everything I have, I owe to Shock G.”
“Pac had a thing for Mariah Carey’s song “Vision of Love.” You always knew Pac was sad if you walked by his room and he was playing it. He had a tape with it playing over and over again.”
- Shock G
Tupac named his protégés, the Outlawz, after so-called enemies of America. Kastro, his first cousin; E.D.I.; and Kadafi grew up with Tupac. Napoleon, Fatal and Young Noble met him through Kadafi later in their lives.
“When Pac died, the world lost something special. As his family, we knew what he was gonna do with himself and what was to come. What he planned never came to fruition on a worldly level. In our little universe it did, but on a worldly level it didn’t.”
“He also used to make us play “The A-Team.” I was Mr. T and Pac would always have to be Hannibal. He was always the leader. Every time we did something, Pac would be like, “I love when a good plan comes together,” like Hannibal used to say. Those times remind me of all our kids now. I see Tupac in my son Malik, and it trips me out.”
“Pac always wanted to stay moving. So we all started following him through the streets of New York, and all of a sudden I see him giving out $100 bills to homeless people. There was a big crowd of people following him…He gave a lot of love out that night. He gave out at least $2,000, man, just to anybody who looked like they needed it, just giving out money.”
“I live in the worst part of America right now, in Jersey. And just on the strength of who I am, because I knew Tupac, I’m all right. To this day I can eat off the fact that people know that I knew Tupac. He changed a lot of people’s lives, and I am one of them.”
“Tupac was the most genuine dude I’ve known in my life. The most genuine, the most giving, and the hardest working. He was a young dude and he had a lot of responsibilities. I always think about how young he was when I knew him. He was only twenty-five, and he had so much on his shoulders. Sometimes I think, “Damn, I wish we were the dudes we are now back then.” He used to be damn-near a father figure to us. We were young and dumb. Pac was the general. All of us were soldiers, but he was the general.”
- Young Noble
Tupac Remembered, Copyright © 2008 by Amaru Entertainment, Inc.