Tupac Shakur is a name that will reign over hip hop history forever. Not only seen as one of the greatest rappers of his generation, lyrically expanding a universe that continues to spread to this day, but Tupac’s real presence also came from his undeniable charisma.
Eventually, Pac would find fame both in the recording studio and as an actor, but, like all of us, he started as a nerdy(ish) teenager looking for a bit of shine. The footage below captures Shakur in 1988 and reflects a truly iconic man in his adolescence.
Despite being the icon of West Coast rap, Pac actually spent much of his formative years on the East Coast. Born in New York, his family moved from NYC to Baltimore when Shakur was around 14. He attended Roland Park Middle School in the city before studying at both Paul Laurence Dunbar High Schoo and then spending a final period at the Baltimore School for the Arts. Here is where Pac would flourish.
During Pac’s career, he quickly made a name for himself as a “thug”. A facet of his clever marketing, as well as a thread running through his real life, the idea that Pac was simply a brutish gangsta, is far from the truth. In fact, his poetry and vulnerability are part of what has made him such an icon following his death.
It was at the Baltimore Schol for the Arts that this connection began as he studied acting, jazz, poetry and ballet while attending the school. He displays within the video all the charisma and courage that would propel his career into the stratosphere.
However, the thing that lands most heavily about this interview is how calm and assured Pac is about answering questions on his life and the future. He presents himself as an ‘old soul’, someone who has knowledge way beyond their years.
Watch a rare interview of a teenage Tupac Shakur below: