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2Pac (Tupac)

2Pac became the unlikely martyr of gangsta rap, and a tragic symbol of the toll its lifestyle exacted on urban black America. At the outset of his career, it didn't appear that he would emerge as one of the definitive rappers of the '90s -- he started out as a second-string rapper and dancer for Digital Underground, joining only after they had already landed their biggest hit. But in 1991, he delivered an acclaimed debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, and quickly followed with a star-making performance in the urban drama Juice. Over the course of one year, his profile rose substantially, based as much on his run-ins with the law as his music. By 1994, 2Pac rivaled Snoop Dogg as the most controversial figure in rap, spending as much time in prison as he did in the recording studio. His burgeoning outlaw mythology helped his 1995 album Me Against the World enter the charts at number one, and it also opened him up to charges of exploitation. Yet, as the single "Dear Mama" illustrated, he was capable of sensitivity as well as violence. Signing with Death Row Records in late 1995, 2Pac released the double-album All Eyez on Me in the spring of 1996, and the record, as well as its hit single "California Love," confirmed his superstar status. Unfortunately, the gangsta lifestyle he captured in his music soon overtook his own life. While his celebrity was at its peak, he publicly fought with his rival, the Notorious B.I.G., and there were tensions brewing at Death Row. Even with such conflicts, however, 2Pac's drive-by shooting in September 1996 came as an unexpected shock. On September 13, six days after the shooting, 2Pac passed away, leaving behind a legacy that was based as much on his lifestyle as it was his music.

The son of two Black Panther members, Tupac Amaru Shakur was born in New York City. His parents had separated before he was born, and his mother moved him and his sister around the country for much of their childhood. Frequently, the family was at the poverty level, but Shakur managed to gain acceptance to the prestigious Baltimore School of the Arts as a teenager. While he was at the school, his creative side flourished, as he began writing raps and acting. Before he could graduate, his family moved to Marin City, CA, when he was 17 years old. Over the next few years, he lived on the streets and began hustling. Eventually, he met Shock-G, the leader of Digital Underground. The Oakland-based crew decided to hire him as a dancer and roadie, and as he toured with the group, he worked on his own material. 2Pac made his first recorded appearance on the group's spring 1991 record, This Is an EP Release, and he also appeared on their second album, Sons of the P. The following year, he released his own debut, 2Pacalypse Now. The album became a word-of-mouth hit, as "Brenda's Got a Baby" reached the R&B Top 30 and the record went gold. However, its blunt and explicit lyrics earned criticisms for moral watchdogs, and Vice President Dan Quayle attacked the album while he was campaigning for re-election that year.

Shakur's profile was raised considerably by his acclaimed role in the Ernest Dickerson film Juice, which led to a lead role in John Singleton's Poetic Justice the following year. By the time the film hit theaters, 2Pac had released his second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., which became a platinum album, peaking at number four on the R&B charts and launching the Top Ten R&B hit singles "I Get Around" and "Keep Ya Head Up," which peaked at number 11 and 12, respectively, on the pop charts. Late in 1993, he acted in the basketball movie Above the Rim. Although Shakur was selling records and earning praise for his music and acting, he began having serious altercations with the law; prior to becoming a recording artist, he had no police record. He was arrested in 1992 after he was involved in a fight that culminated with a stray bullet killing a six-year-old bystander; the charges were later dismissed. 2Pac was filming Menace II Society in the summer of 1993 when he assaulted director Allen Hughes; he was sentenced to 15 days in jail in early 1994. The sentence arrived after two other high-profile incidents. In October of 1993, when he was charged with shooting two off-duty police officers in Atlanta. The charges were dismissed, but the following month, he and two members of his entourage were charged with sexually abusing a female fan. In 1994, he was found guilty of sexual assault. The day after the verdict was announced, he was shot by a pair of muggers while he was in the lobby of a New York City recordings studio. Shakur was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison on February 7, 1995.

Later that month, Shakur began serving his sentence. He was in jail when his third album, Me Against the World, was released in March. The record entered the charts at number one, making 2Pac the first artist to enjoy a number one record while serving a prison sentence. While he was in prison, he accused the Notorious B.I.G., Puffy Combs, Andre Harrell, and his own close friend Randy "Stretch" Walker of orchestrating his New York shooting. Shakur only served eight months of his sentence, as Suge Knight, the president of Death Row Records, arranged for parole and posted a 1.4 million dollar bond for the rapper. By the end of the year, 2Pac was out of prison and working on his debut for Death Row. On November 30, 1995 -- the one-year anniversary of the New York shooting -- Walker was killed in a gangland-styled murder in Queens.

2Pac's Death Row debut, All Eyez on Me, was the first double disc of original material in hip-hop history. It debuted at number one upon its February release, and would be certified quintuple platinum by the fall. Although he had a hit record and, with the Dr. Dre duet "California Love," a massive single on his hands, Shakur was beginning to tire of hip-hop and started to concentrate on acting. During the summer of 1996, he completed two films, the thriller Bullet and the dark comedy Gridlock'd, which also starred Tim Roth. He also made some recordings for Death Row, which was quickly disintegrating without Dre as the house producer, and as Knight became heavily involved in illegal activities.

At the time of his murder in September 1996, there were indications that Shakur was considering leaving Death Row, and maybe even rap, behind. None of those theories can ever be confirmed, just as the reasons behind his shooting remain mysterious. Shakur was shot on the Las Vegas strip as he was riding in the passenger seat of Knight's car. They had just seen the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon fight at the MGM Grand, and as they were leaving the hotel, 2Pac got into a fight with an unnamed young black man. The case was never solved, but it has been suggested that this was the cause of the drive-by shooting, and it has also been suggested that Knight's ties to the mob and to gangs were the reason; another theory is that the Notorious B.I.G. arranged the shooting as retaliation for 2Pac's comments that he slept with Biggie's wife, Faith Evans. Either way, Shakur was shot four times and was admitted to University of Nevada Medical Center. Six days later, he died from his wounds.

Hundreds of mourners appeared at the hospital upon news of his death, and the entire entertainment industry mourned his passing, especially since there were no leads in the case. Many believed his death would end the much-hyped East Coast/West Coast hip-hop rivalry and decrease black-on-black violence. Sadly, six months after his death, the Notorious B.I.G. was murdered under similar circumstances. As Shakur's notoriety only increased in the wake of his death, a series of posthumous releases followed, among them Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (issued under the alias Makaveli in 1996), R U Still Down? (Remember Me) (1997), Still I Rise (1999), Until the End of Time (2001), and Better Dayz (2002). ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

f_ah
2pac was immediately controversia l with the release of his first album and attacked by the Vice President of the United States because of his powerful lyrics. He is the son of two Black Panthers! Interesting article that I learned some interesting facts from but I think you should re-think the first sentence of the article. He is not an unlikely martyr. He was the real gangster of rap. And, secondly, he is not the symbol of the toll of its lifestyle. He is the symbol of ghetto youth.
#TBT baby ....
flameonetwot h r e e
Noctorios B.I.G whatever his name is used 2pac as a human shield during a arranged shooting
One of the greatest albums ever. And it was a rush project by 2pac! I miss u Pac R.I.P.
Yep
Who ever killed tupac you better run or I will take your life sense you took his life�������� by the way makavelli says me ( ME ALIFE
A TRUE POET!!! I MISS HIS MIND.
TUPAC MAKAVELLI..H a i l Mary West Side Outlaw..!!!
he cool brah he helps me chile and live in the moment :)
Tupac hands down is greatest rapper alive dead and reincarnated . Its no comparison to him. He was the bible of hip- hop. People do not like the truth and he told it ere song ya dig. The man was a genius and furthermore displayed his greatness ere song album and would still be the best if he was still living. You are not dead Pac. Your music and your lives in us real treal n...as ya dig. Fa real fanly..
LIFE GOES ON ... But it would of been better with our boy 2Pac here.. DAM ..MY N**GAS WE THE LAST ONES LEFT. ..for reals though. Never has there
been any to compare his words and music will live on longer then we know.
tiscarenov60
Jamming to tupac for life
the man!!!!
antonio_judl i n 0 2
2pac u r a true thug in loveing memorie of 2pac(thugz never die fully)$$$$$$ $ $
Tupac you will always still live on your music in people hearts to
its good what they doing.....
THA GOOD DIE YUNG, THANK U PAC.. I KEEP YOUR TEACHINGS CLOSE.. STILL I RISE!!
GOTTA BE A G TO GET IN THUG MANSION
Best rapper in the history of mankind. Tupac Amaru Shakur.
Dam Tupac put these youngsters up on game. They just don't know what being real or solid is all about.
Now s**t's constantly hot, on my block, it never fails to be gunshots
Can't explain a mother's pain, when her son drops
Black male living in hell when will we prevail
Fearin jail but crack sales got me livin well
In a sense I'm suicidal with this Thug's Life
Stayin strapped, forever trapped in this drug life
God help me, cause I'm starvin, can't get a job
So I resort to violent robbings, my life is hard
Can't sleep cause all the dirt make my heart hurt
Put in work and shed tears for my dead peer
R.I.P. Tupac ....gone way too soon
Great rapper but died to soon
I love this song so much that I love 2pac and dr dre too much now it came from the movie iron man 2

rip tupac
Don Killuminati and still I Rise the greatest illusion of the 20th century
aewing626
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will be injured ( but you won't die) in two days. Now you started reading this so don't stop. Posted on at least 5 songs in the next 143. When you are done press f6 and your lovers name will appear the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works.
How do you won it how do you feel, come up as a n**ga in a cash flow lane forreal. Rip 2pac
The realest rapper that lived
Rather be ya n.i.g.g.a
trio77
Miss ya PAC!
R.I.L So Much Trouble In The World Can't Nobody Feel Your Pain!!!!!
Staring At The World Through My RearView
Rip
Found some 2pac an Johnny cash remixes, off the chain
I aint no fun lol
Lol pam b where u at this r s**t lol lol
Gone
Shed so many tears my brother. gobs
Love u pac an my lil bro rip both yall
ibarra357
One of the best rappers in the game 2pac
������������
Genius
RIP
long live 2Pac
My Sh#t
I'll tell my future kids about this great man...
Some good s**t
Show more

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