No, I will not begin this with the obligatory you know what exclamation. It crossed my mind, but I figured it’d be on every other site. Not that it’s wrong, but still. Anywho, the braintrust at XXL decided to award their September cover to an artist who would have been 40 this year and left the world far too soon nearly 15 years ago. Tupac Shakur’s legacy still looms large (and loud). In said issue, Pac’s first manager Lelia Steinberg, The Outlawz and even his ex-wife open up about the guy we all view as an icon, but the man they saw as a friend and confidant.
Yes, for those not in the know, Pac was married for a brief moment during his roller coaster-like quarter century of a life. Shakur got hitched during the incarceration period of his story. To be quite honest, I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard an interview from her. Hell, I can’t even remember what ol’ girl looks like. And that’s if I’ve even seen her. That alone is enough for me to pick up the issue. Also, Pac’s biological father Billy Garland was interviewed and even had this to say about his son’s genuine heart.
“[Tupac] cared for people,” he said. “That was his main thing. He really cared for people. I think that’s why he would get so upset when people tried to question his commitment, his love for Black women or Black men. The East Coast/West Coast, you know, that’s a fabrication. I don’t have to begin to tell you that. So when that was questioned, it bothered him. Because he would give his heart or soul. He was a giving person. He would give anything to people. He would go in a store. [If there was a] Black man who couldn’t afford a $1,500 pair of boots, he would buy ’em for him. Think that Black man would ever forget Tupac? That’s just the way he is. But I don’t think that he did it for that. He did it because he had it, and he didn’t. That’s the way he is.”
If you’re wondering how the hell “Tupac” and “father” go in the same sentence, it’s cool. Up until he was shot the first time in 1994, Pac never knew his father. In his own words, he woke up in the hospital and it was a guy who looked just like him staring at him. The relationship they formed from that day was never really discussed in-depth, so hearing what he has to say about his slain son has the potential to be either a train wreck or emotionally explosive.
I’ll stop right here for time and space purposes, but if you’re a Tupac fan like myself, head to newsstands to pick the issue up.