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The prison letters of the late rapper Tupac Shakur are being sold 20 years after his death, but only for a buyer with Boss-Playa money.
The seller, a purveyor of precious historical paperwork called Moments in Time, is selling the five-page prison letter for $225,000. It’s a fixed price, first-come-first-serve offer, according to Gary Zimet, owner of Moments in Time.
Shakur penned the papers while serving time at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., after his 1995 conviction for sexually abusing a fan.
Shakur wrote a one-page letter to Nina Bhadreshwar, a staffer at Death Row Records, and included in the envelope was a separate four-page explanation of his philosophy entitled “Is THUG Life Dead?”
“It’s long but it’s true,” he wrote to Bhardreshwar. “Use it as U see fit. I am not granting this information 2 any other publication, not even Time & Rollingstone. So please represent it.”
The rapper, who had already survived a five-bullet shooting, launched into a rambling manifesto aimed at young black men, as he contemplated his newly sober existence behind bars.
“The thug in me started buggin from withdrawal from my previous medicated state and under the pressure I nearly lost my mind,” he wrote.
He outlined the three stages of man, starting with “DustKicker” and evolving into “Thug.” He said that if man survives the thug phase, he can attain the highest state of all: “BossPlaya.”
“A Boss Playa is a thinker, a leader, a builder, a moneymaker, a souljah, a teacher and most of all a Man!” he wrote.
He urged “all the Souljahs of this Nation 2 examine and evaluate your lives. Are u ready 4 the next level! I Did not begin thug life I just personified it.”
He also complained about the correctional officers at Clinton Correctional getting rough with prisoners and insulting them with racial slurs.
The staffers of Clinton Correctional are currently under investigation after two convicted murderers escaped this summer, launching a massive police manhunt as they survived in the woods for weeks. Both of the fugitives were eventually shot: one killed, one recaptured. A prison employee pleaded guilty to helping them escape and was sentenced to up to seven years.
While Shakur was behind bars at Clinton Correctional, he released his album “Me Against the World.” He is believed to be the first person to release a number one album while serving time.
Not long after he was released from prison in 1996, he was shot to death in Las Vegas. The drive-by murder has never been solved, leading to conspiracy theories that he might still be alive. These theories are fueled by the massive volume of work he’s produced since his death, including his postmortem performance as an on-stage hologram — and his prison letters.
“Hopefully this will do some of u some good,” wrote Shakur from Clinton. “If it does then I don’t sit in jail in vain. I’ll see y’all in about 18 months.”