1989-08-02 / Tupac Contract with Atron Gregory & Leila Steinberg

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On August 02, 1989, Tupac signed his first contract with Atron Gregory and Leila Steinberg as his exclusive personal manager.

Leila Steinberg (born December 18, 1961) is an American manager, business woman, educator, writer, poet, and founder of AIM4TheHeAR. She is best known as the artist mentor and first manage for superstar rapper Tupac Shakur. They met when he was a student in her writing workshop, The Microphone Sessions, in the Oakland Bay area.

Tupac & Leila Steinberg

Atron Gregory is an entertainment business entrepreneur with Executive Producing and/or management credit on multiple multi-platinum albums from Tupac Shakur, digital underground to Stanley Clarke and producing credits on four films including his soon to be released Tupac Shakur “Tha Early Years.” Atron was one of the West Coast Record distributors co-founders and comanaged the World Class Wrekin Cru’ (one of the pioneering groups of west Coast hip-hop)

Tupac and Atron Gregory

Usually rapping with his roommates—the One Nation Emcees, they called themselves—he attended class sporadically, and, just shy of graduation, stopped going altogether. Thinking a change of scene would do Tupac good, Watani Tchyemba, a politically active friend of Afeni’s, invited him to L.A., where he was organizing youth programs in the sprawling South Central ghetto. Tupac joined in for several months, but the political cast of the work—so much like Afeni’s—put him off. “He loved her,” Watani says. “But he wanted to carve out an identity of his own.” That meant going back to rap and Marin, where he met a young white woman: Leila Steinberg.

They happened on each other in a park one afternoon not far from where Leila, an accomplished singer and dancer, was giving workshops on using music to build self-esteem. “I was reading Winnie Mandela’s A Part of My Soul Went with Him,” she remembers, “when I hear a voice behind me say, ‘That’s a good one. It really moves well.’ I turn around and see this stunning young man. ‘You really read it?’ I ask. And Tupac begins reciting quotations from memory.”

By the time they’d finished talking, Leila, a single mother of three little girls, had offered him a room in her Sonoma County house, and Tupac had appointed her his manager. “So my business is going to be handling you,” laughed Leila. “What’s yours?” “Mine,” said Tupac, deadly serious, “is young black males.”

They toured inner-city schools, Leila giving talks, Tupac rapping. Eight months slipped by, however, with no gigs. “It’s easy,” Pac said one evening, as they dined on his specialty, potato tacos. “Just tell people what I always tell you: that I’m gonna sell more records than any rapper ever.”

The next day, Leila phoned Atron Gregory, manager of Digital Underground, an Oakland-based dance-party group. “The most ever, huh?” said Atron, amused by Tupac’s pretensions. “O.K., I’ll give him a chance.”

Tupac started as a roadie, carrying bags. Soon he was dancing, then commanding the mike. “He demanded attention,” says D.U. rapper Money-B. “You could depend on that. The only way you couldn’t depend on Pac was to keep his cool.” He lost it his very first time performing. Something went wrong with the sound system and Atron had to restrain him from slugging one of the equipment men. “We said, ‘O.K., we can’t use you,’” recalls Shock-G, Tupac’s closest friend in the group. “Two hours later, Tupac’s back, like nothin’ happened. It was like that all the time. He’d flip on you, then the incident didn’t exist.”

Tupac contract with Atron Gregory and Leila Steinberg
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