Despite having passed nearly thirty years ago, Tupac Shakur’s music, message, and image remain iconic and relevant in 2022. Because Tupac was such a prolific creator, not only have his previously recorded albums maintained in popularity but hours of recorded riffing have now been turned into full-length albums that Tupac himself will never get to hear.
But aside from his abundant contribution to music, Tupac has become a sort of fashion and culture icon. Today you can buy everything from Tupac figurines to Tupac shirts, socks, coffee mugs, prayer candles, and even magnets.
Looking for the right Tupac merchandise gift or perfect Tupac merch for yourself can be a bit overwhelming, so I’m here to help. I’ve loved Tupac since I first heard his voice as a little girl. I have two Tupac tribute tattoos, countless Tupac t-shirts, and various merch with his image on them.
I consider myself a Tupac expert, so let me walk you through what Tupac merch is good, what to look for when considering your own purchase, and why authenticity in this case matters.
Bottom Line Up Front:
Before making any Tupac merch purchases, make sure you’re honoring his memory. It’s easy to forget this was a living, breathing, creative, artistic, generous, and beautiful human being with changed the face of hip hop and pop culture forever.
He was only twenty-five when he passed and while all the Tupac merchandise helps his memory live on, it’s important to not buy anything inauthentic or disrespectful towards him.
For that reason, ensure images actually look like him, check for his tattoos, make sure he’s not wearing gang colors – Tupac was never in a gang, though he did claim affiliation with MOB Piru Bloods – and be aware of other details, for example, some shirts with Tupac on the front have ’71 on the back, for the year of his birth.
Best Tupac Merch
T-shirts are a great way to pay homage to Tupac’s memory. When choosing your Tupac t-shirt, remember to keep in mind authenticity. When choosing your own, I recommend paying attention to the fabric, if it isn’t comfortable then you won’t wear it, no matter how cute it is. Price-wise, all the Tupac shirts tend to be in the twenty-ish dollar range, so if you see something that’s crazy expensive, ask yourself why.
Some shirts are really beautiful and authentic such as this one from Hot Topic. The picture is Tupac’s face and the writing around him is not only his words, but it’s in his handwriting, pulled from his poetry book The Rose That Grew From Concrete. I consider this shirt a great example of a great shirt to buy to honor Tupac’s memory.
On the other hand, also from Hot Topic is this shirt, which portrays Tupac in a white suit with the song title California Love. The big issue I have with this shirt is that the California Love promotion and video were all in Mad Max-style.
The wardrobe was leather, studs, eye patches, all that sort of fun post-apocalyptic stuff. The white suit is more appropriate with the music video for his (ridiculously amazing) song with Snoop Dogg, Ambitionz Az a Ridah.
Here are some more examples of the best Tupac shirts I’ve seen so far!
This shirt was inspired by Tupac’s role in the movie he starred in with Janet Jackson, Poetic Justice. The font is true to the movie’s font, and the colors used are very true to the 90s era. I love this picture of Tupac too, it shows a lot of the emotions and intelligence in his eyes.
One of my favorite Tupac quotes is “I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world”, and for that reason, I love this simple white t-shirt from 2Pac Official Store. The quote is on the back and the front has “2Pac” with a fish in the air. I love this shirt’s simplicity and the all-too-often forgotten quote on the back.
Aside from the shirt above, I tend to prefer my Tupac shirts simple, with either only his image or only his image and his name. Less is more, in my opinion, Tupac speaks for himself.
A few months ago my sister got me these Tupac socks, which have a very accurate portrayal of his front with his tattoos, which are even on his back! On his front, he has a cross necklace and even has a watch on! He has a shiny nose ring and earring, with a white bandana that is a different material and comes off the top of his head.
In short, these socks are really intricate with an awesome amount of attention to detail. However, these socks do not fit me. They are way too big for me but if you’re ordering for yourself, you can avoid this. You can choose a size (small, medium, large, or extra-large.) I’d recommend taking the measurements here, not being able to wear these awesome socks is really disappointing!
And finally, I have to list this very simple THUG LIFE hoodie. The font matches Tupac’s (perhaps most famous) stomach tattoo that read “THUG LIFE” with a bullet for the letter “I”. This hoodie is black but for the white font of “THUG LIFE”.
It’s important to note that the term “THUG LIFE” was not a call to be a thug, Tupac broke down the saying, “the hate you give little infants fucks everybody”. This was not a call for violence, destruction, and thievery, this was a call to end generational hate and bias. Have I mentioned how much I love Tupac?
You heard me, Tupac jewelry. Don’t dare act surprised!
I’m in love with this Tupac necklace from jewelry-maker Silver Desing Jewelry on Etsy! The necklace is a simple chain with a pendant in the depiction of Tupac, with his bandana tied around his head. It’s very simple, with really nice shading. It’s very apparent who this is and that’s important. T
he necklace is handmade and made of sterling silver. You can get a variety of chain lengths, which affects the price, but these start at $30.96 and go up to only $34.40.
I consider this a really good price for anything that is sterling silver. The craftsmanship also looks awesome. If anyone is looking to gift me something, consider this your not-so-subtle hint.
If you have a much, much, much, larger budget, you can go to King Ice and get a reproduction of the Death Row Records necklace Tupac often wore. For $8,000.00 you can get this in 14K gold with real diamonds, or go the more cost-effective route for $120.00. That will get you a gold-dipped necklace with fake diamonds.
This is an official collaboration with Death Row Records for these recreations. The necklace portrays a man on death row, in the electric chair. The words “Death Row” are over him and “Records” is at his feet.
He has a bag over his head and his chair is lined with diamonds. This is dark, but so is calling your entire record label Death Row Records. Suge Knight understood the assignment.
Years ago someone got me a set of earrings that were studs, one of them was a picture of Tupac and one was a picture of Biggie. They are full color, discreet, and beautiful. This is a great example of a simple, sweet way to represent Tupac (and Biggie) in an authentic way.
But Tupac merch goes beyond socks, shirts, and jewelry! You can get figurines, wall art, and even candles with Tupac’s image and quotes on it. Let’s talk about some misses and some hits in this wider category.
I’m personally a big fan of prayer candles for Tupac, which, like the rest of his merch, there’s no shortage of. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorites that I’ve seen, and they have made this list because they’re well-made, they look like Tupac, they aren’t making light of his name or legacy, and they represent his personality well. Anyway, here are some of my favorites:
- Saint Celebrity Prayer Candles
- The Luminary and Co. Chelsea Merrill Tupac Devotional Prayer Saint Candle
- Snarky Goodness Tupac Prayer Candle
- Moirae Goods 2pac Shakur Celebrity Prayer Candle
More fun options to remind you to have the beauty of Tupac are coffee mugs! Here are some that stand out to me:
Let’s start with one I hate, and I’ll tell you why: this mug I found on eBay which reads “Mug Life” with Tupac’s face, poorly portrayed, on the mug. Why do I hate this mug? It falls into the category of making light of Tupac’s message and legacy. Remember, THUG LIFE stands for “the hate you give little infants fucks everybody”, he was calling people to end bias and stop teaching their children to hate others.
He was calling for people to give their kids a chance to love freely. “Mug life” makes me sick. This was clearly made by someone who doesn’t know anything about Tupac and judging by their poor artwork, they may never have even seen his face.
Fine Art America makes this beautiful mug not only with Tupac’s face on it but with lyrics to one of his songs behind him. It doesn’t say what song, but does it really matter? They’re all gold!
I like this black mug from Bonanza with half of Tupac’s smiling face and a quote from his song Baby Don’t Cry. It reads, “For every dark night there’s a brighter day.” Now tell me you wouldn’t want that inspiration every morning?
And without further adieu, let’s talk about the figurines. This is a real mixed bag and I don’t really know how I feel about them, but some of them are authentic.
The Tupac Pop Rocks figure for only $11.99 claims to be a collectible. This figure is Tupac’s wardrobe a la the California Love music video: leather vests, black bandana, no shirt.
He wears a gold bracelet, gold watch, and gold chain, and his nose is pierced so I give props to this figure for accuracy. If you need a Tupac figure, I like this one well enough.
The Tupac Funko Gold is another decent figurine. This is Tupac without a shirt again, his white boxers are visible beneath his baggy jeans. His tattoos are present on the front but I can’t see the back from the website pictures. (I do think it’s fair to say someone who bought this might never remove it from the box though, so back tattoos are not necessary in that case.)
He’s wearing a white bandana which I like (no gang colors) and while he doesn’t have his nose pierced or any bracelets or watches, he is wearing his Death Row Records chain. For only $9.99 this is fine and definitely doesn’t offend.
This Tupac figurine from Mercari takes the cake though. It’s $1600 and doesn’t claim to be a collectible like the Pop Sock, it is a collectible. This expensive action figure is also more than twenty years old, it was released in 2001.
The details on this shirtless figurine of Tupac are amazing; with his tattoos in great detail, even his boxers have a pattern and texture, just like his jeans. He wears white sneakers and a blue bandana and while I do rail against gang colors, Tupac did wear blue bandanas from time to time.
FAQs About Tupac Merch
Answer: Pay attention to the style, does this fit the 90s Tupac or some modern designer’s interpretation of him? Check for his tattoos if he’s shirtless, his nose ring, and even his earring. Make sure the font matches his aesthetic too, many people use the font of his THUG LIFE tattoo on merch which I like.
Answer: Yes and no. I believe so much in Tupac’s message that I love seeing his face and legacy continue to live on, even if it is on a teenager’s t-shirt. There’s a big conspiracy that Tupac is still alive somewhere and while I’d love to believe he is, in a metaphorical sense, we keep him alive by listening to his music, living his message, and remembering his face.
Answer: It depends on what you’re getting. Obviously, if something is from the 90s and super authentic, it will be more expensive. A contemporary t-shirt shouldn’t be more than you’d pay for a regular band t-shirt. And of course, if you’re getting a solid gold necklace with diamonds, that too will be more expensive!
Final Thoughts on The Best Tupac Merch
I’d like to reiterate what I said before in the FAQs section about keeping Tupac’s legacy alive. While it’s easy to see the money-grubbing aspect of people selling clothes, mugs, and plastic figurines in Tupac’s name and likeness, I prefer to look on the positive side.
I love that people ten and more years younger than me can still listen to Tupac and consider him relevant. I love that people still want to wear his face on their shirt or get a matching tattoo. To me, that is a part of his legacy and his immortality. That is also why I take Tupac merch so seriously.
Tupac was important and continues to be important. He was taken far too soon and far too young and the least we can do is respect his work with authentic recreations of his face, words, and culture.