When Tupac Shakur misbehaved as a child, his mother Afeni made him read The New York Times as punishment. More than two decades after his death at 25, the rapper is remembered as much for his poetic and socially conscious lyrics as his gangland affiliations. A study in contradictions, Shakur was a skilled songwriter who wrote of blackness, poverty, police brutality, spirituality, and the strength and disposability of women with such universal truth, he became a global cultural phenomenon.

In a list of Tupac’s favorite books compiled by Black Faves, we gain a glimpse into the mind of a man whose progressive and intellectually rich lyricism revolutionized hip-hop and solidified his place as one of the most influential rappers of all time. From The Autobiography of Malcolm X to The Tibetan Book of the Dead, find a list of 11 books that inspired Tupac Shakur below.

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X (also rec’d by Gabrielle UnionJanelle Monáe, Rose McGowan & Questlove)

The Buying of the President by Charles Lewis

In Contempt by Christopher Darden

How To Argue & Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Everyday by Gerry Spence

Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley

Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur

Ponder On This: A Compilation by Alice A. Bailey

The Phenomenon of Man by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Thoughts and Meditations by Kahlil Gibran

The Tibetan Book of the Dead (also rec’d by Jimi Hendrix & Laurie Anderson)

(via Black Faves)

Categories: Activists Musicians

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