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Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,140 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Acclaimed for his writings on Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as his passionate defense of black youth culture, Michael Eric Dyson has emerged as the leading African American intellectual of his generation. Now Dyson turns his attention to one of the most enigmatic figures of the past decade: the slain hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur.Five years after his murder, ...more
Paperback, 308 pages
Published December 31st 2002 by Plexus Publishing Ltd (first published 2001)
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4.04  · 
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 ·  1,140 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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The Book Nazi
Aug 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Many young people like me will always be affected by Tupac's message and music, many generations would continue to admire him and keep his memory alive. There was pain and anguish in his voice that many rappers donot have, He wasn't afraid to be vulnerable cus he sang such hits as ''Dear Mama'' and laid down heavy social commentary on tracks such as ''Changes'', ''Brenda's Got a baby'' and countless many tracks..

Dyson attempts to present Tupac's life as it was, reveals the complexity of Shakur a
Chris Blocker
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where do I begin? Let's start with me. It was 1993. I was fourteen years old, a white kid from a middle-class home in Kansas. For years, I'd been a fan of music, largely R&B—Bobby Brown, Shai, Portrait, Boyz II Men—those were my jams. In fact, it was the promise of a performance by Shai on the ill-conceived MTV Jams Live that got me turned onto Tupac Shakur. Ironically, prior to that day, I couldn't stand 2Pac. I laughed at his name. I hated the only song I knew of his, “I Get Around.” He se ...more
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is no ordinary biography. This is a fully considered, holistic social narrative of the King of Rap, Tupac Shakur, presented as only Michael Dyson could. Professor Dyson, who received his PhD in religion from Princeton University, authors what is in effect an apologetic discourse on Tupac. 2Pac's life is illuminated from personal, social, and political perspectives. Holler If You Hear Me is not a typical chronology, but a tapestry of rich meaning and political significance exploring the ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am probably the only the one that has never been a huge fan of the iconic Tupac Shakur. My reasons differ regarding taste or preference, but it has to do with never really having the interest to search his history. However this book expanded my mind on what I did not know about him previously, from his upbringing, lyrical poetry and the tribulations that he had to go through. I will admit that I never really heard a track of any of his albums, besides the song that was a tribute to his mother. ...more
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
After reading "Holler If You Hear Me," by Michael Eric Dyson I feel I have learned quite a significant amount of new knowledge toward its subject Tupac Shakur. Dyson's approach to educating the readers will have even the most devoted fans eager for more. I feel the way book is set up is the most complimentary of Dyson's style. Each chapter is unique by being quoted after a line Shakur used in songs. Dyson dives into Shakur's childhood and makes us believe we were there, by using old cartoons and ...more
Jae (Jazmine)
Sep 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book. Dyson shows the world who Tupac really was not only through music but also as an intellectual and pollitical figure. He exposed Tupac's passions and revived the positive meaning Pac put behind terms like T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E. (The Hate U Give Little Infants F*cks Everyone)and N.I.G.G.A. (Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished)! Definite must read!
Robin Kempf
Nov 19, 2016 rated it liked it
This is not a bad book. I just feel like I experienced an instance of bait and switch. I thought this was a bio of Tupac Shakur, but in fact, it is really a sociological study of what Tupac means or represents. There are bits and pieces of his life, but there is a whole lot of analysis of topics such as the treatment of women in gangster rap or the hyper-masculinity of young black men. All very interesting on some level, but also not what I really signed up for.
May 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tupac Fans, Hip-hop fans, fans of pop culture
This book is very interesting..makes me feel dumb though b/c he read more books by 25 than I will in my life lol.
The book analyzes Tupac examining his complex character that is expressed in his music. The story features many interviews including: Jada Pinket Smith, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, and his mother Afeni Shakur. Interesting quick read, deffinately recommended to his fans or people who like hip-hop.
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
This could have been a strong biography or readable academic text; unfortunately, Dyson didn't have it in him to make it both. There are plenty of good bits, like the interview with Shakur's old manager and mentor who still has shelves lined with Pac's books or Dyson's refusal to gloss over Tupac's conflicted views about women.

Still, the book never provides enough background detail one wants out of a biography, or enough depth one expects from a book-length exegesis of a single artist. Also, an
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
i really enjoyed the book as it was not only a biography but also a disection of his life and songs. While offering peoples memories of him and what he meant to them and the world at large. it also gives us insight into culture and issues that are at the heart of not only the black community but the world also. ?It gives us a background on him the civil rights movement and the people he was inspired by and the messages he sought to bring to the world
Calis Johnson
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tupac Shakur was a complex person in his lifetime. One minute he's quoting great poetry and literature the a minute later he's involved in a shootout with police officers (he would have never gotten out of jail in today's times for that). In this book Micheal Eric Dyson (a complex and contradictory figure himself) explains and often tries to defend some the things that made this rap icon so controversial.
While Eric Dyson brings up parts of Tupac's life that I didn't even know about, such as att
Kevin Eleven
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Holler If You Hear Me, finds author, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, critically evaluating the life and mythology of Tupac Shakur. From the time of his birth as a second generation Black Panther, to his unfortunate demise on a Las Vegas strip that left him riddled with bullets, Dyson attempts to uncover the motives and trials of Tupac as he existed.
What makes the books interesting as well as captivating, is Dyson’s stellar research that stems from interviews of celebrities, artists, journalists, histor
Brian Perez
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Holler If You Hear was made by Michael Eric Dyson. It is a non-fiction book about Tupac Shakur's life and the struggles he had with his mom and the spirituality he gained growing up also the education he learned about from his mother. June 16, 1971, Tupac was born in Harlem. His mother was a black panther and so was his uncle, aunt, and his father who abandoned him and his mother when he was young. His mother was busy with the black panther party so for sometime Tupac was alone, but after things ...more
Kizzy Hunter
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was enlightened after reading this book about Tupac's postrevelutionary childhood. If you get an opportunity to read this book please do so. Tupac was ingenious and it's great how this book paints a vivid picture of his life and the relationship he had with his mother. This book was well-writtened and I was intrigued by Tupac's story.
Nick Mecham
Jun 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
For those who don't know Tupac Shakur was a different person who did some regrettable things but also did some great things. This book helps to differentiate between the person that Tupac Shakur was portrayed to be by the media and the person that Tupac Shakur really was.
Jo'hari Payne-bullock
OMG honestly this book was the best book I've read in a very long time. I commend Micheal Eric Dyson he gave a great look into my favorite rapper. R.I.P 2pac
Sep 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
one of the worst books i have ever wasted my time on. first of all, barely about tupac. if michael dyson could create more nuanced and intelligent arguments, still could have been interesting.
Marcus Hill
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a very enjoyable read. Well a listen because I went with the audiobook. I felt at times the story strayed away from Tupac, but it was great nonetheless.

I felt this story did a great job capturing the complexity and the several misunderstandings of such a great artist.

I knew he was a very complicated person, but this book showed me Tupac was much more of an intellect than I realized.

From his tattoos, taste in music to his love (and sometime disdain) for women, I realize the messages he
sam heaton
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Probably top 3 bios I've ever read. Crazy well-written. Don't read this if you want a standard "facts of the person's life" biography. Dyson traces the main themes of Pac's life & connects them to his larger persona in connection with sociological truths that Pac represents. I think he paints a very accurate picture, but at times Dyson waxed eloquent & exaggerated Pac a bit far, which had the effect of rationalizing away some of Tupac's defects & sins in order to make a wider sociolo ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Interesting to learn more about Tupac Shakur- his work and his life.
The author addresses the use of negative language in hip-hop, especially loaded words that most of us agree not to use, even when we resort to name calling. See chapter 4, "Give Me a Paper and a Pen," for treatment of misogeny, sexism, and use of the b-word and chapter 5, "For All the Real N***s Out There," regarding use of the n-word.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
It wasn't exactly what I thought it would be. I thought it would be more biographical rather than an examination of rap/hip hop and how Tupac contributed to and was affected by that. A pretty good read. My students were really excited when I said I was reading it, but the reading level would be way too high for them.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Not my favorite MED book. And certainly not as passionate or even informative as any of MED's live lectures. it's a fun read about the life and times of Tupac, although it has more of a feel of something written by a fan boy than any serious piece of literature. Still, if you're looking for a good primer on Tupac, this would be a good place to start.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book! I love Michael Eric Dyson's books and look forward to reading more of them. I was thrilled to read this book as Pac has been my favorite rapper since I was about 13. Recommending this book to everyone I know! Espeically my true hip hop heads!
Shenard Robinson
Awesome book...
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Lots to think about.
Rafael Suleiman
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very good account of the influence of Tupac Shakur on popular culture.
Yoan Homrich
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
GOAT. Tremendous book.
Isaac Wyant
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
While I appreciate Dyson's criticisms of Tupac, he still manages to try to explain away and water down some of his character flaws/mistakes. Overall, it was an okay book.
Arnie Hill
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dissertation
Great monograph outlining and explaining Tupac's thought. Tupac simultaneously affirmed the realities of thug life yet critiques its existence and continuation, symbolizing the contradictions of the hip-hop generation very succinctly. The book examines Tupac's life, and the way in which he straddles ideals of revolutionary politics, alongside the materialist down-falls of hip hop culture, and youth culture that developed after the post-civil rights era with the withdrawal of the gains made by th ...more
Dec 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
'bout done. thoroughly lackluster. maybe the chapter on his black panther alma matter is worth reading, but outside of that, it's alot of compiled anecdotal stuff. a little like watching a "behind the music". i mean, there's alot of info and alot of analysis but dyson is trying way to hard to appear objective. seems like the most boring way to approach an autobiography of a controversial figure. i'd prefer he make his alliance(s) explicit and move foward from there.
celebrities are stupid. tupac
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HMSA Summer Reading: Book Review: Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac 2 14 Aug 24, 2016 11:07AM  

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Michael Eric Dyson is an American academic, author, and radio host. He is a professor of sociology at Georgetown University.