Tupac Shakur photographed by David LaChapelle, April 1996.
David LaChapelle: “Tupac was great, he was very sensitive and is truly a good person. I wrote to his mum when he died and she sent me flowers and gave me his last song, “Ghetto Gospel.” When we did the shoot, he had just come out of prison and every shot has a reason, it’s never random, so this was the idea of the photo shoot, him becoming clean. He had given this interview when he was still in prison and he really opened up and was so honest. I had read it and thought it was so truthful so for the work I did with him, there was this idea of washing away and rebirth. And we did another shoot where he posed as a slave on a cotton field. They traced rapping and rhyming to “call and repeat” during slavery time in sugar cane and cotton fields to pass the time. It’s on the Hotel LaChapelle book. Tupac came to the shoot 2 hours early, which was very unusual for a rapper. So I wasn’t ready for the shoot and he didn’t care. He reminded me of my black friends whom I went to art schools with, he was so cool, open-minded and chill. He wasn’t judgmental. Then later on, I found out that he had gone to an art school. He left behind a big bag of socks and underwear because he had just come out from prison and never picked it up. He died shortly after. I still wear his socks sometimes (laughs).”