December 14, 2011

Tupac's Intense Pen Pal

How many of your conversations with friends started off with "I bet you won't..."? How many dares/bets involved a celebrity? In 1995, Angela Ardis accepted a bet to try and reach rapper, poet and actor Tupac Shakur even though he was incarcerated in Rikers Island, New York City's primary jail complex. She sent a brief letter with her contact information and a photograph. A few days later there was a message waiting on her answering machine: "Hi, Angela. This is Tupac."

And so an intense pen pal relationship develops over the next several months. Inside a Thug's Heart includes original poems and letters by Tupac Shakur and Angela Ardis. The letters reflect their growing unorthodox bond and feelings on life, sex and personal matters. If you've ever read Tupac's poetry or did more than just skim through his lyrics, you would recognize his words and appreciate the access this book provides. However, don't assume that Angela Ardis was the girlfriend we never heard about. Tupac made it clear there was a "Queen" in his life and his relationship with Angela was special, yet separate. 

Although the book didn't divulge super secrets, Tupac stressed in his letters that they should not be shared. It made me wonder if he would approve of this book being published. Even though the acknowledgements begin with thanking Afeni Shakur, Tupac's mother, for allowing the book "to see the light of day." Hmmm... 

It's not the usual fan perspective (unless you include the unnecessary breaks in correspondence that were filled with the author's fantasies and dialogue with her roommate). It is more personalized, intimate and offers a little closer look into the man behind the "Thug Life" tattoo.

Author: Angela Ardis
Published: 2004
Pages: 241
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥

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