Tupac Shakur would have been 50 today.
In honor of the late rap icon’s birthday on June 16, Jada Pinkett Smith took a trip “down memory lane” and shared a never-before-seen poem written by her best friend.
“Tupac Amaru Shakur would have been 50 midnight tonight!” Jada wrote on the evening before his birthday. “As we prepare to celebrate his legacy … let’s remember him for that which we loved most … his way with words. Here are a few you may have never heard before.”
In her video, she shared a handwritten poem from Tupac, titled “Lost Soulz.” The poem, which Jada says was written while Pac was incarcerated at Rikers Island, was later turned into a song called “Lost Souls” off 1997’s Gang Related soundtrack.
“Over the years, Pac wrote me many letters and many poems. And I don’t think this one has ever been published, honestly,” said Jada. “I don’t think he would have minded that I shared this with you guys.”
She went on to recite the words to the poem: “Some say nothing gold can last forever / And 2 believe this [I] need no proof / I have witnessed all that was pure in me / And be changed by the evil men can do / The innocence possessed by children / Once lived inside my soul / But surviving years with criminal peers / Has turned my warm heart to cold.”
It continues, “I used 2 dream and fantasize / But now I’m scared 2 sleep / Petrified, not to live or die / But to awaken and still be me / It is true that nothing gold can last / We will all one day see death / When the purest hearts are torn apart / Lost souls are all that’s left / Down on my knees I beg of God / To save me from this fate / Let me live to see what was gold in me / Before it is all too late.”
Jada and Pac’s friendship started when they were students at Baltimore School for the Arts in Maryland. “He was one of my best friends,” she once said. “He was like a brother. It was beyond friendship for us, as far as just, it’s really difficult to explain because the type of relationship we had, you only get that once in a lifetime. He was like a brother-father figure to me. Very protective. We took really good care of each other, the best that we could. We gave each other a lot.”
Tupac died at 25 in 1996 after a drive-by shooting. In honor of his birthday, his Poetic Justice co-star Janet Jackson shared a photo of the two from their 1993 movie.