Harlem, 1994


"I watched it for a while, then slowly got out my camera and moved toward some of the action. I was relatively close to Tupac and I kept to certain angles so I would not be intrusive in ‘Pac’s space. The connection became more endearing. At times, both of us looked at each other and quietly laughed at the media circus around us.

I was able to capture a personal vibe among Tupac and his friends — guys from the groups Thug Life and the OutlawzAfter the main taping was done, the news cameras started to leave. The bulk of the news press got the shots they needed to portray Tupac as the “Dangerous Thug,” which they would print in the next day’s papers. It felt like Tupac knew how to play with the media to keep his name in the press. He knew how to press their buttons, challenge them mentally; their only recourse was to portray him as a troublemaker. The pattern was reactive and visible."

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T. Eric Monroe’s work peers into a personal space, reserved for close friends and trusted loved ones. During the 90's and a "Golden Age" of Hip-Hop, Monroe photographed intimate moments of artists who are now Cultural Icons. 


While many photos were licensed and purchased in contemporary publications, a treasure trove of images were hidden away in digital archives, and kept out of the public eye for decades.


In the hopes of preserving and promoting the cultural legacy of 90's HipHop, Monroe finally decided to open his archives, digitize the images and present these photos to the world as a succession of small batch limited release series.