Tupac Shakur’s Estate Attempts to Demystify the Late Rapper with Museum Exhibition

Tupac Shakur’s estate recently announced the grand opening of an exhibition in honor of the late rapper. The museum exhibit, titled Tupac Shakur. Wake Me When I’m Free, will first open in Los Angeles on January 21, then travel to other locations that have to be released.

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According to the exhibit’s official website, “Wake Me When I’m Free is a fully immersive, thought-provoking experience that explores the life and legacy of the acclaimed artist and activist.”

Tupac is most widely known for his contribution to the music industry as a boundary-defying and award-winning rapper/hip-hop artist. He released four albums in his lifetime in addition to one collaborative album under his stage name 2Pac. Six posthumous studio albums plus a posthumous collaborative album were later released by Tupac’s estate. In the majority of his music, Tupac addressed social issues, like the inequality found in inner-city areas, which lead many to view him as an activist.

In 2002, Tupac was inducted into the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame and in 2017 the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He was also an actor with roles in Juice (1992), Poetic Justice (1993), Above the Rim (1994), Bullet (1996), Gridlock’d (1997), and Gang Related (1997).

Despite his work and accolades, debuting the forthcoming exhibit in his name is an attempt to humanize the rapper that was tragically murdered.

“There will be notebooks, song lyrics, poetry, and also everyday stuff like shopping lists, and phone numbers on pieces of paper,” Arron Saxe, exhibition co-producer, said. These everyday objects are important in grounding the artist’s legacy “because he and a lot of these other figures are mythical, larger than life.”

The exhibition name comes from Tupac’s 2000 song of the same name that was housed on his The Rose That Grew From Concrete album.

Photo by Jeffery Newbury.

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