Tupac Shakur's career lives on -- The slain rapper's decade-old screenplay goes into production

Two years before four bullets ended his life, Tupac Shakur released a track called ”How Long Will They Mourn Me?” Now, nearly a decade after his death at age 25, he may have his answer: It’s in the movie, scheduled to go into production next March, based on his script Live 2 Tell, a tale of inner-city redemption that he wrote in prison in 1995. It’s in the bronze memorial statue unveiled last month in Atlanta. It’s in the just-released all-star collection of songs inspired by his poetry. And most of all, it’s in the continued sales of more than a dozen posthumous records (and books, T-shirts, and DVDs), including 2004’s platinum Loyal to the Game.

Why does Tupac continue to be a multimillion-dollar industry — both mourned and celebrated? ”[He was] a good artist, a great artist,” says his mother, Afeni Shakur, who handles his estate. Then again, she adds, laughing, ”I’m his mama, so of course I think everything he does is wonderful.” Author Randall Sullivan, whose 2002 book LAbyrinth explored the murders of Tupac and friend-turned-foe the Notorious B.I.G., has a more sobering view. ”Dying young,” he says, ”especially in violent circumstances with mystery and suspicion, creates a mystique that will feed any interpretation because there is no resolution.”

With or without that resolution, says Afeni, ”when the 10th anniversary of his death comes next year, I want to stop with the [commercial projects] and turn fully to honoring his legacy. To start building peace for young people” — hence the recently opened Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts in Atlanta — ”something to help them love themselves and not hurt each other. I want no more violence in his name.”