- Dave Thomas American-Statesman staff
Tupac Shakur was born in East Harlem, N.Y., grew up to be a central figure in the West Coast rap scene and died in Las Vegas — but an important part of his mythology came from right here in Texas.
Shakur, who died 21 years ago today, got his iconic “Thug Life” tattoo in 1992 at Dago’s Tattoo and Piercing Studio, the oldest tattoo shop in Houston.
The tattoo was the work of shop owner Dennis "Dago" Coelho. A Houston Chronicle story published on Tuesday described Shakur’s history with Dago’s.
A Source magazine article in June talked about the connection Coelho had with Shakur. “Back in the day, everybody downed me, mocked me, and blackballed me for associating my business with the African-American community,” Coelho said. “Having the opportunity to work with (Shakur) really made everything worth it.”