Thirteen years after his death, Tupac Shakurs first Hip-Hop recordings will now become available through a forthcoming album entitled Shakurspeare.
The project is the brainchild of Darrin Keith Bastfield, CEO of Born Busy Records. Bastfield was one of Shakurs early collaborators, and the two formed a group together called Born Busy when a 16-year old Tupac first began to rap.
For long-time fans, the album will offer the first glimpses of Tupacs Hip-Hop journey, back when he was known by his first rap name of MC New York.
"I was there when Tupac heard himself for the first time rapping on a recording. As he sat in the cafeteria of the Baltimore School for the Arts it was as if he couldnt believe that he was listening to himself, Bastfield told AllHipHop.com. Just as Tupac was quietly amazed by hearing himself, I want people to hear Tupac as a young artist in his very first recordings ever having fun, rapping about issues that concerned us, and most importantly giving a cautionary and timely Message of Peace in his own voice as if he was already a big rap star with a reputation to uphold.
The title Shakurspeare is an allusion to a conversation between Bastfield and a 17 year-old Shakur, where the aspiring emcee revealed that he dreamed of becoming as renowned Shakespearean actor.
The LP cover will illuminate this motif by having a Bastfield oil painting depicting Shakur as Shakespeare.
"This project was a very spiritual undertaking for me, but most importantly it is about creating art and being educational. The vocals to the songs we wrote were all recorded accapella in 1988 on a cassette tape, Bastfield explained. Through technology the vocals were able be extracted, digitally mastered, and put to contemporary music that was produced in 2008. I wanted to keep the recordings as close to the vein of our ideas from back in the day. As far as new material to assist with the concept of the album as being like an audio documentary, I chose to work with producers and artists in my own backyard which are native of Baltimore, Maryland which includes International Jazz recording artist Maysa. My life and times with Tupac Shakur all happened in Baltimore, so I wanted the spirit of the Shakurspeare album, just as the book, to stay consistent.
The new album will mark Bastifields second Tupac Shakur project. In 2002, he released the book Back in the Day: My Life and Times with Tupac Shakur through One World/Ballantine.
At press time, Shakurspeare will be released digitally on September 13 through Born Busy Records.