‘Black Panther’ and Tupac Shakur estate cut a deal
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 11/19/2018, 2:14 p.m.
It’s been more than 20 years since his death, but rapper/movie star Tupac Shakur remains a hero among many. According to Variety, Shakur is being resurrected for a new apparel and accessories collection that merges the late rapper’s lyrics and iconography with images from the highly successful movie “Black Panther.”
The Tupac x Black Panther collection is believed to be one of the first times the rapper’s estate has licensed his imagery for use since his death. Tupac’s estate teamed up with Marvel Comics on this official collaboration, available online now at FootLocker.com. The nine-piece collection includes T-shirts, hats and hoodies that feature images of the late Death Row rapper alongside familiar phrases and motifs from “Black Panther” (think “Wakanda Forever”). Many of the pieces highlight Tupac’s acclaimed posthumous album called “Until the End of Time,” which was comprised of recordings the rapper made just before his death in 1996.
While some have questioned the authenticity of tying Tupac’s name to a commercial film released more than two decades after his passing, Marvel says the goal was to celebrate the rapper’s legacy by showcasing his work in a new light, in partnership with “the most culturally impactful comic book hero of our era.” “The intersection of music and 'Black Panther' is such a vital part of that property,” says Paul Gitter, senior VP of Marvel Licensing. “So it is fantastic to co-brand with an influential artist like Tupac on a new collection of Marvel apparel.” It should be noted that Tupac’s music does not appear on the "Black Panther" soundtrack, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album charts when it was released earlier this year.
The soundtrack does include contributions from artists such as Kendrick Lamar, the Weeknd and SZA. There has been no new music from Tupac since 2006’s “Pac’s Life,” which was his 10th studio album (sixth posthumously). It was revealed last month that his estate had won a lawsuit against record label Entertainment One, alleging unpaid royalties. The ruling also gave the rapper’s estate rights to all the original master recordings of Tupac’s unreleased tracks. There’s no word as to when, or if, the family is planning on releasing the music publicly.