Hip-hop journalist and photographer, Lawrence “Loupy D” Dotson snapped the unpublished pictures at the 2Pacalypse Now show in 1992. A selection of those rare and unpublished photos of Tupac Shakur at the release party for his debut album are being released as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). “I bought a disposable, black and white 35mm camera from the Thriftys on the corner of La Brea and Rodeo,” Dotson recalls the party night.
The 18 NFTs are being offered up by Loupy D and they’re being sold on the NFT platform, OpenSea. Seventeen of the 18 NFTs are original photos of 2Pac while the 18th is a “Super NFT” collage comprising the other 17 photos. The NFTs will each come with a framed print of the photo signed by Dotson, and part of the proceeds will be used to plant trees in Pac’s hometown.
Previously, another rare photo of 2Pac that was taken a few weeks before his death was sold to one lucky buyer as a NFT. The story goes when Ingrid said to Tupac, “Tupac, can I ask you a question and he replied, ‘Sure baby’”. Ingrid said, “How many times did you get shot?” (Referring to the 1996 shooting at Quad Studios) And that’s when Tupac put up his 5 fingers and said “Five,” as Nanette simultaneously snapped the picture,” Richardson wrote on Instagram. “And that all took place while stopped at a red light in Hollywood. Tupac was shot again on September 7, 1996 in Las Vegas and passed away on September 13, 1996 from the gunshot wounds. ”
The photo of 2Pac, along with a video clip of Michael Jordan, were up for auction on OpenSea with an opening bid of $1 million USD and $1.5 million USD respectively. ”If Beeple’s 5000 day’s NFT sold for $69,000,000, then 1/1 ultra rare NFT’s of Tupac Shakur & Michael Jordan is surely worth $2,500,000 or more,” Delray Richardson told HotNewHipHop. Fast-forward to present, there’s more now for the NFT scene.
Dotson took these 17 photographs in 1992 at the release party for Tupac’s debut, 2Pacalypse Now, in Los Angeles. Doston was an up-and-coming photographer and journalist and was walking around L.A. selling copies of a magazine, No Sellout, and he managed to get one issue into Tupac’s hands after spotting the rapper drinking alone at a bar. He had met Tupac not long before that: 2Pac then invited Dotson to the 2Pacalypse Now release party where these photographs were taken.
Dotson developed, but never published, the photos he took that night, but during his years as a substitute teacher he would often show them off to his students as a reward for good behavior.
Doston also said, “Later that night I got to Glam Slam, Prince’s old club on Boylston Street downtown. I couldn’t wait to see this brotha perform. I loved the energy he put out on stage as a backup dancer for Digital Underground; the same with his performance in the video when he dropped the verse on ‘Same Song.’ I knew that he was going to give it up that night for his debut release party. Surprisingly, there weren’t many people at the show: mostly industry execs and a few heads from the underground community.”
Dotson even admits he was never sure what to do with the photos, although he now says, along with selling the NFTs, he wants to “create a traveling exhibit of the collection” to show them around the world. “W]hen you look at these photos you can see it in his eyes: the determination, the passion, the swagger, the shine,” Dotson said. “These photos show a side of the man not many people got to see. This ‘Pac wasn’t covered in jewels and Versace; this ‘Pac was humble and hungry. He knew what he going for on stage that night, and that was to become the legend that he is.”
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