A reverential and exhaustive telling of Shakur’s story, leaning heavily on the perspective of his immediate family, featuring pages reproduced from the notebooks he kept in his teens and twenties ... At times, Robinson’s book invests more in exhaustive detail than in a sense of interiority.
Poignant ... A touching, empathetic portrait of a friend. Even familiar stories achieve new intimacy at closer range. And small moments help clarify longstanding narratives, coloring in the outlines of this well-known tale of the actor-rapper-activist who died at 25 ... Doesn’t focus much on music, which undersells him as an artistic genius. The book mostly considers his songs as ways to explain his behavior ... While offering a valiant defense, Robinson excuses Tupac of many provocations ... Robinson does not stand at a historian’s distance. Her writing radiates admiration, and at times she even speaks on Tupac’s behalf. Even so, this is far from hagiography. At its best, the book feels like a plea to re-examine the world that made Tupac Shakur so angry.
Still feels relevant, promising to offer a new kind of access to such a storied life and career. Yet readers won’t get an ounce of speculation or new evidence around one of the great unresolved mysteries in modern entertainment history. This comes likely out of respect for Shakur, a natural facet of a work that is being overseen by his estate. The book wants to focus on and celebrate Shakur’s life as it was lived, not revel in the sensationalized theories around his death ... Straightforward, somewhat sedate ... In other words, readers looking for new insights into an artist whose life has already been endlessly picked apart will likely not find any here. What the book offers instead is a recounting that is comprehensive mostly in the breadth of its summary.