June 16, 1971: Tupac Amaru Shakur is born in East Harlem, New York, to parents Afeni Shakur and William Garland. His name Tupac Amaru means “shining serpent” in Inca. In Arabic, Shakure means “grateful to God”.
1975 -1983: Afeni raises Tupac and half-sister Sekyiwa as a single mother in shelters between the Bronx and Harlem.
1986: Tupac’s family leaves New York and heads for Maryland. He enrolls at the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he develops a deep friendship with Jada Pinkett-Smith. He grows a love for poetry and writes his first rap. He also performs in theatrical plays in school.
1988: They move again to Marin City, California. They live in a ghetto, where mother and son got involved in drug use and trade.
1989: He meets Leila Steinberg, who would introduce him to music manager Atron Gregory.
1990: Tupac joins hip hop group Digital Underground as a dancer, backup MC, and roadie. This is his first break in the music scene.
1991: Tupac makes his rapping debut on the single “Same Song” from Digital Underground’s album, Sons of the P. He then joins Interscope records to release his first solo album called 2Pacalypse Now.
1992: Tupac makes his Hollywood debut in the movie Juice by director Ernest Dickerson.
1993: Tupac releases his second album, entitled “Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.“ This becomes a platinum record. In the same year, he stars with Janet Jackson in the film Poetic Justice. He also pursues a side project by forming the group Thug Life with his friends Big Syke, Macadoshis, Rated R, and his stepbrother Mopreme Shakur.
1994: Tupac continues his acting career with Jeff Pollack’s film Above the Rim. His group Thug Life releases their only album called Thug Life, Volume 1. It is during this year when Tupac is robbed and suffered multiple gunshots in the lobby of Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan, New York.
1995: Tupac serves a prison sentence for rape charges. He was involved in a sexual assault in a hotel room back in 1993. He only serves 9 months in jail before Suge Knight, the boss of Death Row records, bails him out. Knight pays his $1.4 million bail in exchange for a record deal with his record label. He releases the multi-platinum album Me Against the World. He also forms a new group called Outlaw Immortalz, also known as Outlawz.
1996: Tupac releases his fourth album, All Eyez on Me. The double-disc album reaches multi-platinum status. The single “Hit ‘Em Up” is released by Tupac and the Outlawz, which fuels the fire of the east and west coast rivalry. Tupac is shot in a drive-by shooting after watching a boxing match in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 7. After six days, Tupac dies in the hospital due to complications from his gunshot wounds. The movie Bullet and the album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory are released months after his death.