The Art and Influence of Hip Hop

The Art and Influence of Hip Hop

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 104. Autograph letter signed ("Eternally, Tupac A. Shakur"), to Cosima [Knez], [Marin City, California, ca late winter, early spring 1989]..

Tupac Shakur

Autograph letter signed ("Eternally, Tupac A. Shakur"), to Cosima [Knez], [Marin City, California, ca late winter, early spring 1989].

Lot Closed

March 30, 05:43 PM GMT


6,000 - 9,000 USD

Lot Details


Autograph letter signed ("Eternally, Tupac A. Shakur"), & autograph manuscript poem, to high school sweetheart Cosima [Knez], [Marin City, California, ca late winter/ early spring 1989].

2 pp (8 x 10 1/2") in blue ink on single sheet of lined notebook paper. Creases where previously folded, a few small crinkles at edges, otherwise in excellent condition.

"How can I tell u how I feel when there's no word in the English language 2 define what my ♥ is going through. I feel joy & paranoia at the same time. ... I'm sorry if this scares u but I have fallen in love with u.... I want to be with u so bad that it hurts to not kiss u... I can almost feel my tongue running over your skin... It feels so right saying, so I'll just say it, I ♥ U!"


In the summer of 1988, 17-year-old Tupac Shakur and family moved from Baltimore to Marin City, California. There, Tupac attended Tamalpais High School in nearby Mill Valley, where he poured his creative energies into the award-winning, student-run Ensemble Theatre Company, and perhaps most importantly, The Microphone Sessions, a poetry workshop run by Leila Steinberg. Steinberg quickly recognized the future superstar's talent, and took him under her wing, mentoring him in his writing, and even welcoming him into her family's home for a time. This relationship would prove to be pivotal for Tupac's career; not only did Steinberg help Tupac hone his writing skills, she would become his first manager, organizing a concert for his rap group Strictly Dope, with whom Tupac recorded under the stage name MC New York. Steinberg helped broker Tupac's signing with Atron Gregory, manager of Digital Underground, and in 1990, Tupac joined the group as a roadie and back-up dancer, before going on to debut with them in 1991, under the stage name 2Pac. The rest is history.

Cosima, the recipient of the present letter, was a Sophomore and fellow member of the Ensemble Theatre Company. The pair shared a deep connection at this time, just before and in the beginning stages of Tupac's rise to fame, from their first meeting on Cosima's birthday in October 1988, and lasting for approximately 7-8 months. This, and the other letters offered (see lots 101-103 & 105-107) reveal a young man with a tender heart who was fiercely passionate and loved people deeply, who was not afraid to express his emotions and believed in clear communication. His ability to love so deeply and express this love so clearly helps to explain the indelible mark he left on the hearts of those who knew him. A printed program for the Ensemble Theatre Company, which lists both of their names is currently on display at the Tupac Wake Me When I'm Free exhibit in Los Angeles, California.

The letter demonstrates the fierceness with which Tupac felt his emotions, contrasted with some of the anguish he felt at the possiblity of losing this newfound love "I feel joy & paranoia at the same time..." The unpublished poem written on the verso of the present letter is titled "Finally," and expresses the deep longing Tupac had to find someone who could not only be a friend and lover, but a true confidante. Written in the spring of 1989, when Tupac was attending Steinberg's poetry workshops, it is embellished with what was a signature style of Tupac's, using pictograms in place of words, in this case, a drawing of an eye in place of the pronoun "I". It reads, in part:

"[drawing of an eye] finally found the girl that I could truely (sic) love... I finally found that woman whom I knew so well in my dreams.... [drawing of an eye] finally found Cosima! ♥ !"

Provenance: Courtesy the recipient

References: An image of this letter will be reproduced as part of an upcoming book about Tupac Shakur by his Estate. 

Condition Report: To request a condition report for this lot, please email