Who is Tupac?
Tupac Amaru Shakur, who went by the stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, is considered by many as one of the best hip hop legends of all time. He was an American rapper and actor who made waves during the early 1990s. Many years after his death, he has solidified his reputation as an icon of gangsta-rap and as a prominent voice of the African-American struggle.
On June 16, 1971, Tupac was born as Lesane Parish Crooks in Manhattan, New York. A year after, his mother changed his name to Tupac Amaru, after a Peruvian revolutionary who led an uprising against the Spanish. His surname came from his sister’s father, Mutulu Shakur. His mother, Afeni, raised the family as a single parent. They moved to Maryland, where Tupac studied at the Baltimore School for the Arts. He gained fame as the best rapper in school. This is where he developed a close friendship with Jada Pinkett-Smith, now famously married to actor Will Smith.
The Road to Fame
Tupac’s family moved to Marin City, California, where they found themselves involved in the drug trade. Fortunately, Tupac’s passion for poetry and hip hop diverted him from crime. He scored his first gig in 1990 as a dancer for Digital Underground. After a year, he made his recording debut with the group’s “Same Song”. This was part of the soundtrack of the film Nothing but Trouble, where Digital Underground also appeared. His career really took off as he landed a deal with Interscope Records for his debut album as a solo artist, 2Pacalypse Now.
His success was not without troubles. He developed a rivalry against Biggie Smalls, which would increase the tension between the East and West Coast rap scene. In the middle of starring in movies like Juice and Poetic Justice, and releasing best-selling albums like Me Against the World, Tupac was involved in several lawsuits and prison time for assault. He was also shot and robbed a couple of times but survived. He also got imprisoned on rape charges but was later bailed out by Suge Knight, on the condition that he sign on to his record label Death Row records. He was released in October 1995 after the one-million-dollar bail was posted.
Gone Too Soon
Tupac died in the hospital on September 13. 1996 after suffering multiple gunshot wounds six days earlier. To this day, his murder remains unsolved. The crime happened after Tupac and Knight watched a boxing fight at the MGM grand hotel. He was shot inside the car they were in.
Is Tupac Alive?
There are conspiracy theories that Tupac faked his death, even if it was reported that his remains were cremated. Some potential sightings of Tupac have circulated, but nothing has been proven.