Afeni Shakur was much more than just the mother of Tupac Shakur, but her recent passing could have a profound effect on her son's music for decades to come, and perhaps much sooner.
Following her son's murder Afeni Shakur was left control of Tupac's estate, but during the last three years of her life, she appointed Tom Whalley, a music exec who worked directly with Tupac during his time at Interscope Records, as a trustee. Afeni's passing now means that Whalley will decide how Tupac's image, likeness and most importantly his music, can be used and sold.
Don't expect that to mean a rush of cheap Tupac bobbleheads and holograms appearing at your local mall though. Unlike in some of the years closely following his passing, Whalley has a reputation for eschewing cash grabs and focusing on protecting the long term.
“Someone who actually had an authentic relationship with Tupac is in a position of power now. Things seem more hopeful and positive than they have in the last 20 years.” —Gobi M. Rahimi, Shakur family friend, Billboard
However, with a heavyweight music executive (Whalley is also the former CEO of Warner Bros. Records) now in control of Tupac's estate, the odds of new music on the horizon are high. That same Billboard article confirmed that there is "a great deal of unearthed Tupac music" left sitting in the vaults and that many inside Shakur's circle are hoping that music sees the light of day soon.
With Whalley at the helm, hopefully, a new (actually high quality) Tupac project is now in the pipeline. In many ways, we need his message now more than ever.