Tupac Shakur’s Former Manager Reveals How He Was Discovered

Tupac Shakur

The former manager wants fans to know Tupac was a poet and a revolutionary, not just the leader of the T.H.U.G. Life movement.

The 1996 death of Tupac Shakur has captivated the Hip-Hop community since Keefe D’s arrest last month. Journalist Allison Kugel recently sat down with Shakur’s former manager, Leila Steinberg, who talked about what it was like to be the artist’s mentor and first manager. Steinberg seemed concerned about ensuring people don’t forget who Shakur was.

Steinburg met the “Dear Mama” MC when he would come to her now legendary Mic Sessions workshop in the Bay Area. She worked with the young artist, helping him get his presentation together for an audition in front of the late Shock G, hoping to be invited to join Digital Underground. The rest, as they say, is history.

“The reason 2Pac came about is because I kept saying, ‘Oh gosh, we need a rapper that is about social justice, that gets some of the same things [as me],’” Steinburg said in the interview. “I kept looking for someone that was kind of like me; someone who read like crazy and could tackle issues that we don’t talk about. Public Enemy was too radical. There were artists that were in hip hop that were using their voices, but they couldn’t penetrate the schools, because they were too extreme.”

She continued, “I was looking for somebody that could straddle these worlds like I could,. One day Luanda, who was one of our group members said there was a kid that just came from Baltimore, and that he was it. She’s the reason ‘Pac came to the group. He had lots of poems. Poems, lyrics… and from the first poem, I knew.”

Another person keeping Shakur’s memory alive is his godfather, Jamal Joseph.

On November 3, the filmmaker will join music journalist Nicole Duncan-Smith and director Lauren Lazin in a celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the TUPAC: RESURRECTION documentary at the Brooklyn Academy of Music at  Peter Jay Sharp Building BAM Rose Cinemas.

The film is being shown as a part of the “Let The Record Show: Archived Cinema” film series curated by Jessica Greene. The night will be a community effort as the Brooklyn Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has sponsored approximately 30 young people from Usher’s New Look to experience the great poet in his own words. Tickets are on sale here.