By Gil Kaufman
Rihanna has raised a lot of eyebrows this week with her latest body modification: a tattoo that reads “Thug Life”, in honor of late hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur. While ‘Pac had the words emblazoned across his abdomen, Rihanna opted to write them across her knuckles in what appears to be glow-in-the-dark ink.
Say what you will about whether the pop princess is living the kind of rising-up-from-the-streets life Shakur was honoring by splashing the name of his crew across his stomach, but she joins a long list of musicians who’ve used body art to pay homage to fallen homeys or musical inspirations.
When hip-hip hookmaster Nate Dogg died last year, his old friend and collaborator Snoop Dogg had an image of Nate’s face with the legend “All Doggs Go to Heaven” written on his arm as a remembrance of the G-funk singer. And while Faith Evans once proudly bore a heart-shaped tattoo that read “B.I.G.” in honor of her then-husband Biggie Smalls. (After the couple split, however, she added some ink so it read “B.I.G. FAYE.”)