This letter was written in the summer of 2001, the summer before my fourth and final year at Washington University in St. Louis...So far to my knowledge I haven't been successful in getting this letter to Ms. Shakur or her representatives...Hopefully someone will see this letter on this blog and bring it to the great Ms. Shakur's attention because I am still very much interested in doing the album cover art for 2Pac's 'final' C.D.
Dear Ms. Afeni Shakur,
It is such an honor and pleasure to finally be able to touch bases with you. I have been a fan of your son ever since I saw him on “Juice” and heard “Brenda’s got a baby”. Your son was truly a “genius” and like so many geniuses he was terribly misunderstood. When I heard he died on Friday the 13th ,1996 I was shocked and outraged. It was like hearing that the president of the United States got assassinated because I knew I would never forget where I was or what I was doing and how I reacted when I heard the tragic news.
Your son’s rapping style (grossly imitated by many simply for money gains) went beyond the hip hop category. It was like hearing the pains, hopes, miseries, preservation, and happiness of a darker race of people articulated through a quick, sharp, and witty mind with the unrelenting passion and restlessness of a well traveled and wise bluesman. To me your son was the closest thing the hip hop generation ever had to a Robert Johnson or a John Lee Hooker, all three are masterful storytellers with commanding presence and superior talent. His simple(not easy!!!) and direct delivery with precise articulation often reminds me of the jazz trumpeter/ creative genius Miles Davis. Both artists are seriously imitated, yet few if any can correctly articulate the fluency, agility, fragility, and nuances in which both men displayed in their respective mediums which expressed their true passion for living and their deep sensitivity for the human experience.
I once read that Tupac often compared himself to being like the painter Vincent Van Gogh, but unlike Van Gogh (who sold only one painting in his brilliant yet tragically short art career) Tupac sold more than just one c.d. in his lifetime (he sold millions as you well know!!!). Like the 19th century artist Tupac was very, very spiritual and his knowing about things transcended the earthly plane. I also know like Van Gogh that Tupac was under appreciated, but after death both men’s prolific and artistic outputs(both men‘s works are heavily rich in spirituality) were able to influence an army of artists and impersonators and will continue to inspire and influence generations not yet even born. I strongly feel that anything mix with spirituality and God is universal and transcends all manmade barriers, including time and goes on for infinity. This is why I know Tupac’s legacy will stay intact for a long, long while.
Finally, I admire Tupac’s impeccable work ethic. Somebody once told me what separated the good from the great is the fact that the great ones are always constantly practicing on improving and refining their craft(s) while the good ones are always satisfied too easily and are less ambitious because they do not want much out of life. Although he died early I truly feel that Tupac lived a full life because it seems like he made sure every minute, second, hour, day, month, and year counted. How do I know this? If anyone studies Tupac’s artistic output one can clearly see that he experienced the whole range of human emotions from joyfulness to sadness. He was also able to achieve and do what too many are afraid and not driven enough to do; he lived and breathed life into his dreams and did it on his own terms. Not many people Black, White, Red, Brown, Yellow, rich, poor, middle class or otherwise can truly say that!!!
Currently, I am an art student entering my fourth and last year
at “prestigious” Washington University in St. Louis. During my residency there I have endured many trials, tribulations and triumphs. One hardship is that many professors, except a small few, have misunderstood me and my intentions from day one. Some have called me slow,unteachable and one even threw books and erasers at me in class and called me clown in Spanish. Others have said that my artwork was “too black” and disturbing for many of the white students and still others have went so far as to sabotage my final grades in their classes. But through all the rain and the pain I am still able to keep my sense of humor and head up and all eyez on the prize. Through the grace of God I am still able to rise and face down any situation that may present itself. So far I have been able to manage a 3.1 grade point average and get myself published in the St. Louis American, St. Louis’s Black newspaper. Right now I am on the verge of implementing after school programs which would teach inner city kids music and art history from an African American perspective. From studying your background as a Black Panther and researching Tupac’s career, I know that it takes discipline and organization to make things and changes happen. I also know that it takes courage, self-confidence, and a strong faith in God to make those things materialize as well. So I, through experience, know what Frederick Douglass stated was profoundly true when he said, “without struggle there is no progress”.
One of my dreams for many years has always been to illustrate one of your son’s c.d. covers. I tried to enter the “Until the End of Time” c.d. cover contest, but I could not download to the site successfully. So I have made it my mission to find and send you just “a few” printed examples of some of the original artworks I did with Tupac as the inspiration. Hopefully I can succeed with your help and through God’s goodwill in achieving that life goal. I also hope to have a true one man art show somewhere in the near future showcasing the whole range of my life’s work.
Well Ms. Shakur I am very grateful and humble by the time you spent reading this letter of praise for you and your son’s life works and achievements (for whatever is the son’s is the mom’s as well!!!). I sincerely hope to hear from and work with you in the near future.
Sincerely and artistically yours,
A friend, artist, and comrade in the struggle, the human struggle…
Ronald Herd II (R2C2H2)
To see more 2PAC ART created by yours truly please click HERE
More 2Pac On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio...
Check out 2Pac's lost 1992 interview...The Thug Life Holy Grail!!!
Happy Birthday 2Pac!!! *June 16, 1971-September 13, 1996*
The Cos Got No Love For Pac Nor His Mom...