The Harlem-born rapper wrote the letter whilst in prison on sexual assault charges in 1995. Tupac was in New York's Clinton Correctional Facility when he wrote the letter to Nina Bhadreshwar, an employee of his record label Death Row Records.

In the letter Tupac wrote: "Thug Life to me is dead. A Boss Playa plays life. A Boss Playa is a thinker, a leader, a builder, a moneymaker, a souljah, a teacher and most of all, a Man! I want all my homiez to know there is another level."

On sending Bhadreshwar the letter, Tupac asked her to keep its content private; "I am not granting this information to any other publication, not even Time & Rolling Stone so please represent it as it is layed. I trust u."

Bhadreshwar explained that the five-page essay was Tupac's view of the rite of passage of a young black male in America. A year after the essay was written, the rapper died after being shot in a drive-by shooting.