Tupac Shakur’s first manager, Leila Steinberg, gave her take on her complex relationship with him, setting the record straight.
The story of the relationship between Leila Steinberg and Tupac Shakur has fascinated fans of the Hip Hop icon. Meeting 17-year-old Tupac in Marin City, California in 1989, 25-year-old Leila Steinberg instantly knew that she’d found someone special. Attending Leila’s workshop for young poets and musicians, Tupac put his innermost thoughts and emotions onto paper. This workshop became known as the Microphone Sessions. As a result, the poems Tupac wrote were published in his posthumous book, The Rose That Grew From Concrete.
With the belief of Leila Steinberg, she put Tupac in contact with Atron Gregory, the manager of Digital Underground. From there, Atron allowed Tupac around the studio to watch Shock G and Digital Underground work. This experience led him to become a roadie for Digital Underground and eventually recording with them.
In a recent interview with Makaveli Media, Leila Steinberg fondly looks back on her time spent with Tupac. Firstly, Leila appreciates people saying she played a major part in Tupac’s development. Unquestionably humble, Leila says that Tupac helped her find her voice and purpose in life.
“I think it’s important for people to understand when I first met him, here’s the seventeen year old, that has this incredible vision,” Leila explained. “He put all of us to work. So, we have to look at, yeah I made a big difference, but so did he. I have a career in the music business for years now, because he thought I could do business when I didn’t even have self-esteem.”
With the work ethic and vision that Tupac had from early in his career, he saw incredible potential in Leila that she didn’t even see. Using his experiences from his upbringing, being around revolutionaries and the Black Panther Party. He helped Leila strategize a plan for her career. For this, Leila appreciates Tupac every single day.
Although it clearly pleased Tupac that himself and the people around him were experiencing success, Leila reveals that happiness didn’t last long. Tupac along with Leila felt the burden of society on their shoulders and above all always tried to stand up to the injustice of the world. “We were obsessed with the pain of the planet, of people. We were both obsessed with poverty and privilege and why some have and some haven’t,” Leila said.
In addition, Leila Steinberg clears up the question that Tupac fans have been asking for many years. Did she indeed have an intimate relationship with Tupac. Not one to dodge any questions put to her, Leila explains that her feelings for Tupac went beyond sexual. Admitting that attraction and sexual chemistry came from both parties, even so, Leila never thought she could have a relationship with Tupac. She recognized the importance of who Tupac Shakur was to Black people. At the time, race was a big issue. Therefore, as a consequence, Leila wouldn’t have felt comfortable because she felt that he should be with someone Black.
Visit Leila’s website to see the work that she continues to put in for the community