Tupac Shakur is one of the most influential and iconic figures in hip-hop music, known for his lyrics that draw attention to issues facing black communities across America. Through his activism and music, he continues to champion these causes.
Shakur was raised by his mother Afeni, a member of the Black Panther Party in Harlem. She instilled in him an understanding that most Americans live in a fantasy world that obscures racism and police brutality.
Tupac Shakur was born in East Harlem, New York on June 16, 1971, and named for Tupac Amaru II – an 18th-century Peruvian revolutionary who led a rebellion against Spanish rule and was ultimately executed for his efforts. As the youngest child of Afeni Shakur and Billy Garland – members of the Black Panther Party – Tupac Shakur received his name from his ancestor Tupac Amaru II.
He was raised in various parts of the United States, such as San Francisco and Baltimore. While at Baltimore School for the Arts, he studied acting, poetry, jazz, and ballet; performing in several plays by Shakespeare and taking a role as Mouse King in The Nutcracker ballet.
Tupac began his musical career as a teenager, performing for crowds and winning many competitions with his fantastic rapping skills and sense of humor. As an accomplished rapper, his performances were highly praised by critics everywhere for his unique blend of talent and charisma.
His debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, was released in 1991 to critical acclaim and controversy due to its controversial lyrics which highlighted life in ghettos, poverty, and racism in America.
In 1994, he signed to Marion “Suge” Knight’s label Death Row Records and became deeply engaged in the growing East Coast-West Coast hip-hop rivalry. Tragically, in 1996 he was shot and killed on a Las Vegas roadside while accompanying Knight.
On September 7, 1996, Shakur was shot four times during a drive-by shooting at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane. Tragically, Shakur succumbed to his injuries six days later on September 14.
Tupac Shakur’s career ended tragically, yet he remains one of the world’s most popular rappers. His albums have sold more than 75 million worldwide and his lyrics often tackle issues such as political equality, economic hardship, and racial equality.
Legal troubles and lawsuits marked Shakur’s career. In 1993, he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman (although he vigorously denied these charges). In 1995, he spent eight months in prison on those charges but was released the day before his sentence was to expire.
His music had an immense impact on many other rappers, such as Eminem and Lil Wayne. He’s been dubbed the “voice of the hood.” Additionally, he had a successful acting career, appearing in multiple films.
Tupac Shakur is one of the most influential rappers in history. His songs are known for their gritty realism and social commentary, often drawing upon references to violence, poverty, and racism found within inner cities. Much of Tupac Shakur’s musical output was directly inspired by his upbringing growing up in New York’s ghettos.
At the age of 12, Shakur began rapping and by 17 had won several rap competitions. Additionally, his mother who worked as an assistant manager for a local record label in Brooklyn introduced him to the industry.
In 1988, the Shakur family moved to Marin City, California and he attended Tamalpais High School in nearby Mill Valley. While in high school, he studied acting, poetry, jazz, and ballet while becoming a member of the Baltimore Youth Communist League USA. He started dating the daughter of the director of their local chapter of CPI (Communist Party USA) and experimented with revolutionary politics.
He read widely, studying the works of authors such as J.D. Salinger, Jamaica Kincaid, Herman Melville, and Eileen Southern among others. While in prison he even wrote a screenplay; additionally his interests extended to political philosophy and strategy with texts from Niccolo Machiavelli and Sun Tzu.
After his release from prison in 1995, he immediately returned to rap with Me Against the World (Death Row Records, 1995), which reached No. 1 on Billboard 200 chart and is widely considered his masterpiece.
His stepbrother Mopreme contributed to the album with his single “Bittersweet”, which became a hit and is widely considered as an influential influence on hip-hop music.
Tupac had several major disagreements throughout his career with other rappers and record-label personnel. Additionally, he had an ongoing feud with his former label, Death Row Records.
Following Tupac’s passing, many of his songs were reissued as posthumous singles. While these albums often incorporate current musical trends and artists, some cynics view them as attempts to profit off of the rapper’s legacy.
Tupac Shakur was an accomplished rapper and actor, but his life tragically ended too soon. At 25 years old, he was tragically shot to death during a police encounter in 1996.
Despite his tragic passing, the rapper made a lasting impact on the world with his music and acting career. His fan base was immense, making him one of the most beloved rappers of his era.
He appeared in several movies throughout his career, such as Gridlock and Juice. Additionally, he guest-starred on numerous television shows.
Juice is an impressive film that examines New York City’s hood community. Its success can be attributed to its compelling depiction of the gangs that live there and Tupac’s charismatic performance as leader Roland Bishop.
This role was an integral part of his rap career, helping him gain popularity with a wider audience. Furthermore, it allowed him to showcase his natural charisma on camera.
In this movie, he met his future girlfriend Kidada. They quickly became close friends and shared an affinity for music.
Later in life, she joined the Black Panther Party and was active in several political causes. Additionally, she had a daughter named Sekiya.
Before his passing, Shakur had intended to release his second album in 1994. Unfortunately, he was arrested and found guilty of molestation in 1995 and sentenced to one to four and a half years in prison.
In 1996, Shakur was shot outside a boxing match in Las Vegas while accompanied by Suge Knight, his manager, and friend. At the time of the shooting, Knight, Knight’s girlfriend, and Shakur’s mother Afeni stood around him.
Fans are grieving the passing of a beloved rapper, yet his music continues to have an immense impact on people around the globe.
Director Allen Hughes’ upcoming documentary Dear Mama delves into the life and legacy of Tupac Shakur and his mother Afeni Shakur. He also interviews many people who were there for him during his final days, such as Kidada – his girlfriend.
Tupac Shakur was an American rapper, actor, and activist renowned for his distinctive rap style that combined gangster imagery, themes of police brutality, and social issues related to racial inequality. His songs and lyrics were deeply personal reflections on growing up in Baltimore, Maryland; Tupac had an affinity for literature which he pursued at Baltimore School for the Arts.
Before becoming a rapper, Shakur had composed poetry. He quickly gained notoriety for his impressive lyrical skills and ability to use rhymes to express his thoughts and emotions. Furthermore, as an intelligent student, he enjoyed learning about different cultures and religions.
He was an avid reader, devouring books such as J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Jamaica Kincaid’s At the Bottom of the River, and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Additionally, he studied philosophy and strategy from Niccolo Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, and others.
In 1988, Shakur and his family relocated to Marin City, California where he joined the Ensemble Theater Company (ETC) with plans of pursuing a career in entertainment. Here he became close friends with Jada Pinkett Smith while studying dance, ballet, and other art forms at the school.
At 17, Shakur moved into the home of literary mentor Leila Steinberg and she served as his tutor in literature. She taught him how to craft poems – an ability that would prove crucial during Shakur’s rap career.
Shakur had to overcome many hardships throughout his career, despite his early success. In 1994 he was robbed and shot five times; this inspired him to boast of his endurance in songs later that year. Additionally, in 1995 he was arrested for sexually assaulting a female fan.
Due to these problems, he was sent to prison where he spent nine months. During this period, he wrote numerous diss tracks directed at other rappers and label staff members. In 1996, he released “Hit ‘Em Up,” a scathing lyrical assault against The Notorious B.I.G. and other members of Bad Boy Records.
Following his release from prison, Shakur continued recording albums. In total, six studio albums were released posthumously – Don Killuminati: The Seven Day Theory and Pac’s Life being two examples.