Tupac Shakur

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Tupac Shakur

Background information
Also known as 2Pac, Makaveli
Born June 16, 1971
New York City, New York, USA
Origin Flag of United States Flag of California Los Angeles, California, United States
Died September 13, 1996 (aged 25)
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Genre(s) Hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper, actor, producer, poet, screenwriter, activist
Years active 1991 – 1996
Label(s) Interscope, Out Da Gutta, Death Row, Makaveli, Amaru
Outlawz, Thug Life, Digital Underground
Website www.2paclegacy.com

Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names: 2Pac, Makaveli, or simply Pac, was an American artist renowned for his rap music, movie roles, poetry, and his social activism. He is recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best selling hip-hop artist, with over seventy-five million albums sold worldwide[1] including over fifty million in the United States alone. Most of Shakur's songs are about growing up around violence and hardship in ghettos, racism, problems in society, and sometimes qualms with other fellow rappers. Shakur's work is known for advocating political, economic, social, and racial equality as well as his raw descriptions of violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and conflicts with the law. Many fans, critics, and industry insiders rank him as the greatest rapper ever.[2][3]

In 1990, Shakur was a roadie and backup dancer for the alternative rap group Digital Underground. Shakur's debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, gained critical recognition and backlash for its controversial lyrics. Shakur became the target of lawsuits and experienced other legal problems. Later, Shakur was shot five times in a recording studio lobby in Manhattan and was robbed. Following the incident, Shakur grew suspicious that other figures in the rap industry had prior knowledge of the shooting and did not warn him; the controversy would help spark the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry. After serving eleven months of his sentence, Shakur was released from prison on an appeal financed by Marion "Suge" Knight, the CEO of Death Row Records. In exchange for Suge's assistance, Shakur agreed to release three records under the Death Row label. Shakur's fifth album, the first double-disc release in hip hop history All Eyez on Me, counted as two albums. On September 7, 1996, Shakur was shot four times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, and died six days later of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest at University Medical Center, Las Vegas.


  • 1 Biography
    • 1.1 Early life
    • 1.2 Early career
    • 1.3 Acting career
    • 1.4 Thug Life
    • 1.5 Legal issues
    • 1.6 November 1994 shooting
    • 1.7 Prison sentence
    • 1.8 Life on Death Row
      • 1.8.1 Makaveli
    • 1.9 September 1996 shooting
  • 2 Style and influences
  • 3 Legacy
  • 4 Records
  • 5 Awards
  • 6 Discography
    • 6.1 Studio albums
    • 6.2 Posthumous Studio albums
    • 6.3 Other Project Albums
    • 6.4 Top 10 Billboard singles
  • 7 Filmography
  • 8 Documentaries
  • 9 Biographical books
  • 10 Poetry books
  • 11 See also
  • 12 Notes and references
  • 13 External links


Early life

Tupac Amaru Shakur was born in the East Harlem section of Manhattan in New York City.[4] He was named after Túpac Amaru II, an Incan revolutionary who led a Peruvian uprising against Spain and was subsequently sentenced to death. "Shakur" comes from the Arabic word thankful (to God). His mother, Afeni Shakur, was an active member of the Black Panther Party in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s; Shakur was born just one month after her acquittal on more than 100 charges of "Conspiracy against the United States government and New York landmarks" in the New York Panther 21 court case.[5] Although officially unconfirmed by the Shakur family,[6] several sources list his birth name as either "Parish Lesane Crooks"[7][8] or "Lesane Parish Crooks".[9] Afeni supposedly feared her enemies would attack her son, and disguised their relation using a different last name, only to change it three months[7] or a year[10] later, following her marriage to Mutulu Shakur.

Struggle and incarceration surrounded Tupac from an early age. Shakur's godfather, Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, a high ranking Black Panther, was convicted of murdering a school teacher during a 1968 robbery, although his sentence was later overturned. His stepfather, Mutulu Shakur, spent four years at large on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list beginning in 1982, when Tupac was a pre-teen. Mutulu was wanted in part for having helped his sister Assata Shakur, Tupac's godmother, to escape from prison in New Jersey, where she had been incarcerated for allegedly shooting a state trooper to death in 1973. Mutulu was caught in 1986 and imprisoned for an attempted robbery of a Brinks armored car in which two police officers and a guard were killed.[11] Tupac had a half-sister, Sekyiwa, two years his junior, and an older step-brother, Mopreme "Komani" Shakur, who appeared on many of his recordings.

At the age of twelve, Shakur enrolled in Harlem's famous "127th Street Ensemble." His first major role with this acting troupe was as Travis in A Raisin in the Sun. In 1984, his family relocated to Baltimore,[12] After completing his sophomore year at Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School he transferred to the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he studied acting, poetry, and jazz. He performed in Shakespeare plays and in the role of the Mouse King in The Nutcracker.[11] Tupac, accompanied by one of his friends, Dana "Mouse" Smith, as his beatbox, won most of the many rap competitions that he participated in and was considered to be the best rapper in his school.[13] Although he lacked trendy clothing, he was one of the most popular kids in his school because of his sense of humor, superior rapping skills, and ability to mix in with all crowds.[13] He developed a close friendship with a young Jada Pinkett (later Jada Pinkett Smith) that lasted until Shakur's death. In the documentary Tupac: Resurrection, Shakur says, "Jada is my heart. She will be my friend for my whole life," and Smith calls Shakur "one of my best friends. He was like a brother. It was beyond friendship for us. The type of relationship we had, you only get that once in a lifetime." A poem written by Shakur titled "Jada" appears in his book, The Rose That Grew From Concrete, which also includes a poem dedicated to Smith called "The Tears in Cupid's Eyes".

In June 1988, Shakur and his family moved once again, this time to Marin City, California, where he attended Tamalpais High School. He joined the Ensemble Theater Company (ETC) to pursue his career in entertainment. His mother's crack addiction led him to move into Leila Steinberg's home with his friend Ray Luv at the age of seventeen. Leila Steinberg acted as a literary mentor to Shakur, an avid reader. Steinberg has kept copies of the books that Tupac read, which include J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, Jamaica Kincaid's At the Bottom of the River, Herman Melville's Moby Dick, Eileen Southern's Music of Black Americans, and the feminist writings of Alice Walker and Robin Morgan.[14] Most of these books were read before the age of twenty.[15] It has been claimed that Shakur was in fact more well-read and intellectually well-rounded at that age than the average student in the first year class of most Ivy League institutions.[16] In 1989, Leila Steinberg organized a concert with Shakur's group, Strictly Dope. The concert lead to him being signed with Atron Gregory who set him up with Digital Underground. In 1990, he was hired as a back-up dancer and roadie for up-and-coming rap group Digital Underground.[17]

Early career

2Pacalypse Now
2Pacalypse Now

Shakur's professional entertainment career began in early 1991, when he debuted his rap skills on the single "Same Song" from the Digital Underground album This is an EP Release. Also in 1991, he appeared in the music video for "Same Song". In late 1991, after his rap debut, Tupac Shakur performed with Digital Underground again on the album Sons Of The P. Later that year, he released his first solo album, 2Pacalypse Now. Initially he had trouble marketing his solo debut, but Interscope Records executives Ted Field and Tom Whalley eventually agreed to distribute the record.

Shakur claimed his first album was aimed at the problems facing young black males, but it was publicly criticized for its graphic language and images of violence by and against police.[18] In one incident, a young man claimed his killing of a Texas trooper was inspired by the album. Former Vice President Dan Quayle publicly denounced the album as having "no place in our society". 2Pacalypse Now did not do as well on the charts as future albums, spawning no top ten hits. His second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., was released in 1993. Heavily produced by Stretch and the Live Squad, the album generated two hits, "Keep Ya Head Up" and "I Get Around", the latter featuring guest appearances by members of the Digital Underground.

Acting career


In addition to rapping, Shakur acted in films. He made his first film appearance in the 1991 film Nothing But Trouble, as part of a cameo by Digital Underground. His first starring role was in the 1992 movie Juice as Bishop, a trigger happy teen, for which he was hailed by Rolling Stone's Peter Travers as "the film's most magnetic figure." He went on to star in Poetic Justice (with Janet Jackson) and Above the Rim. After his death in 1996, three of his completed films Bullet, Gridlock'd and Gang Related were posthumously released.

He had also been slated to star in the Hughes brothers' Menace II Society but was replaced by Larenz Tate after assaulting the directors. Director John Singleton claimed that he wrote the film Baby Boy with Shakur in mind for the leading role.[citation needed] It was eventually filmed with Tyrese Gibson in his place and released in 2001, five years after Shakur's death. The movie features a mural of Shakur in the protagonist's bedroom as well as featuring "Hail Mary" in the movie's score. Later on while he was in prison who wrote the screenplay for an upcoming film "Live 2 Tell" which tells the story of a teenager who becomes a drug lord.[19]

Thug Life

Main article: Thug Life

In late 1993, Shakur formed the group Thug Life with a number of his friends, including Big Syke, Macadoshis, his step-brother Mopreme Shakur, and Rated R. The group released their first and only album Thug Life Vol. 1 on September 26, 1994. The group usually performed their concerts without Shakur.[20]

The concept of "Thug Life" was viewed by Shakur as a philosophy for life. Shakur developed the word into an acronym standing for "The Hate U Gave Little Infants Fucks Everybody". He declared that the dictionary definition of a "thug" as being a rogue or criminal was not how he used the term, but rather he meant someone who came from oppressive or squalid background and little opportunity but still made a life for themselves and were proud.

Legal issues

Even as he garnered fame as a rapper and actor, Shakur gained notoriety for his conflicts with the law. In October 1991, he filed a $10 million lawsuit against the Oakland Police Department, alleging they brutally beat him over a jaywalking incident. The suit was later settled for $42,000.[21][22]

In October 1993, in Atlanta, Georgia, Shakur shot two off-duty police officers (one in the leg, one in the buttocks) who were harassing a black motorist. Charges against Shakur were dismissed when it was discovered that both officers were intoxicated and were in possession of stolen weapons from an evidence locker during the incident.[23]

In December 1993, Shakur was charged with sexually abusing a woman in his hotel room. According to the complaint, Shakur sodomized the woman and then encouraged his friends to sexually abuse her. Shakur vehemently denied the charges. He had prior relations days earlier with the woman who was pressing the charges against him. She performed oral sex on him on a club dance floor and the two later had sex in his hotel room. The allegations were made after she revisited his hotel room for the second time where she engaged in sexual activity with his friends and claimed Shakur's entourage had gang-raped her, saying to him while leaving, "How could you do this to me?"[24] Shakur stated he had fallen asleep shortly after she arrived and later awoke to her accusations and legal threats. He later said he felt guilty for leaving her alone and did not want anyone else to go to jail, but at the same time he did not want to go to jail for a crime he didn't commit. Shakur was convicted of "sexual abuse (forcibly touching the buttocks)". In sentencing Shakur to one-and-a-half years in prison, the judge described the crime as "an act of brutal violence against a helpless woman".[25]

In 1994, he was convicted of attacking a former employer while on a music video set. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail with additional days on a highway work crew, community service, and a $2000 fine. In 1995, a wrongful death lawsuit was brought against Shakur for a 1992 shooting that left Qa'id Walker-Teal, a six-year old of Marin City, California dead. The child had been the victim of a stray bullet in a shootout between Shakur's entourage and a rival group, though the ballistics tests proved the bullet was not from any members Shakur's entourage's guns. Criminal charges were not sought, and Shakur settled with the family for an amount estimated between $300,000 and $500,000.[26][27] After serving part of his sentence on the sexual abuse conviction, he was released on bail pending his appeal. On April 5, 1996, a judge sentenced him to serve 120 days in jail for violating terms of probation.[28]

November 1994 shooting

On the night of November 30, 1994, the day before the verdict in his sexual abuse trial was to be announced, Shakur was shot five times in the lobby of the Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan by two black men in an apparent robbery attempt. He would later accuse Puff Daddy and Notorious B.I.G. — whom he saw after the shooting — of setting him up. According to the doctors at Bellevue Hospital, where he was admitted immediately following the incident, Shakur was shot five times, twice in the head, twice in the groin and once through the arm and thigh. He checked out of the hospital, against doctor's orders, three hours after surgery. The day following the shooting, Shakur entered the courthouse in a wheelchair and was found guilty of three counts of sexual abuse, but innocent of six others, including sodomy.

Prison sentence

Tupac in a police mugshot (March 8, 1995)
Tupac in a police mugshot (March 8, 1995)

Shakur began serving his prison sentence at Clinton Correctional Facility on February 14, 1995. Shortly afterwards, he released his multi-platinum album Me Against the World. Shakur is the only artist ever to have an album at number one on the Billboard 200 while serving a prison sentence. The album made its debut on the Billboard 200 and stayed at the top of the charts for five weeks. The album had first week sales of 240,000 copies which was the record for highest first week sales for a solo male rap artist at the time.[29] He married his long-time girlfriend, Keisha Morris, while serving his sentence. This marriage was later annulled. While in prison, Shakur read many books by Niccolò Machiavelli, Sun Tzu's The Art of War and other works of political philosophy and strategy.[30] He also wrote a screenplay titled Live 2 Tell while incarcerated.

In October 1995, Shakur's case was on appeal but due to all of Shakur's legal fees he could not raise the $1.4 million bail. After serving eleven months of his one and a half year to four and a half year sentence,[31] Shakur was released from prison, due in large part to the help and influence of Marion "Suge" Knight, CEO of Death Row Records. Knight posted $1.4 million bail pending appeal of the conviction, in exchange for which Shakur was obligated to release three albums for the Death Row label.[32]

Life on Death Row

Image of Tupac, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and Suge Knight during Tupac's tenure on Death Row Records. (1996)
Image of Tupac, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and Suge Knight during Tupac's tenure on Death Row Records. (1996)

After his release from prison, Shakur immediately went back to work recording. He began a new group, The Outlawz, and with them released the notorious "diss track" "Hit 'Em Up", a scathing lyrical attack on The Notorious B.I.G (Christopher Wallace) and others associated with him. In the track, Shakur claims to have had sex with Faith Evans, Wallace's wife at the time, and attacks Wallace's street credibility. Though there is no hard evidence suggesting that they did, Tupac was convinced that Wallace and Sean "Puffy" Combs had known about the shooting beforehand based on their behavior that night and what his sources told him.

Shakur aligned himself with Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight, who was already bitter toward Combs and his successful Bad Boy label; this added fuel to the building East-West feud. Wallace and Shakur remained bitter enemies until Shakur's death.

In February 1996, Shakur released his fourth solo album, All Eyez on Me. This double album was the first and second of his three-album commitment to Death Row Records. It sold over nine million copies.[33] The album was a general departure from the introspective subject matter of Me Against the World, being more oriented toward a thug and gangsta mentality. Shakur continued his recordings despite increasing problems at the Death Row label. Dr. Dre left his post as house producer to form his own label, Aftermath. CEO Suge Knight was under investigation for illegal and unethical activities and business practices.[citation needed] Despite these problems, Shakur produced hundreds of tracks during his time at Death Row, most of which would be released on posthumous albums such as Better Dayz and Until the End of Time. He also began the process of recording an album with the Boot Camp Clik and their label Duck Down Records, both New York-based, entitled One Nation.


The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

While in prison Shakur read and studied Niccolò Machiavelli and his works, which inspired his pseudonym "Makaveli" under which he released the album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. The album presents a stark contrast to previous works. Throughout the album, Shakur continues to focus on the themes of pain and aggression, making this album one of the emotionally darker works of his career. Shakur wrote and recorded all the lyrics in only three days and the production took another four days, combining for a total of seven days to complete the album (hence the name). The album was completely finished before Shakur died and Shakur had complete creative input on the album from the name of the album to the cover, which Shakur chose to symbolize how the media had crucified him. The album debuted at number one and sold 663,000 copies in the first week.[34] Shakur had plans of starting Makaveli Records which would have included the Wu-Tang Clan, The Outlawz, Big Daddy Kane, Big Syke, and Gang Starr.

September 1996 shooting

The famous photograph of Shakur and Suge Knight just moments before the shooting, from the cover of the book The Killing of Tupac Shakur
The famous photograph of Shakur and Suge Knight just moments before the shooting, from the cover of the book The Killing of Tupac Shakur

On September 7, 1996, Shakur attended the Mike Tyson - Bruce Seldon boxing match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. After the boxing match, Shakur spotted twenty-one year-old Orlando "Baby Lane" Anderson, a member of the Southside Crips in the MGM Grand lobby. Shakur rushed him and knocked Anderson down, and Shakur's entourage beat him. The incident was captured on the hotel's video surveillance. Anderson and a group of Crips had beaten up a member of Death Row's entourage in a Foot Locker store a few weeks earlier, precipitating Shakur's attack. After the fight with Anderson, Shakur met up with Suge Knight to go to Death Row-owned Club 662 (now known as restaurant/club Seven). Shakur rode with Knight in Knight's 1996 black BMW 750i sedan as part of a larger convoy of cars including some of Shakur's friends, The Outlawz, and bodyguards.

At approximately 11:10 p.m., Suge pulled over to an intersection by another vehicle so Shakur could exchange words with the two unidentified women in the other vehicle and invite them to go to the club with them. At approximately 11:15 p.m., while stopped at the intersection of East Flamingo Road and Koval Lane, Shakur was shot several times in a drive-by shooting. Shakur was struck by four bullets out of the twelve shots that were fired at him; he was hit twice in the chest, and once each in his left arm and thigh, while Knight was grazed in the head by a piece of flying glass.

At the time of the shooting, Shakur was riding alongside with Suge Knight, with his bodyguard following behind in a vehicle belonging to Kidada Jones, Shakur's then-fiancée. The bodyguard, Frank Alexander, stated that when he was about to ride along with the rapper in Suge Knight's car, Shakur asked him to drive Kidada Jones' car instead just in case they were too drunk and needed additional vehicles from Club 662 back to the hotel. Shortly after the shootings, the bodyguard reported in his documentary, Before I Wake, that one of the convoy's cars drove off after the assailant but he never heard back from the occupants.

After arriving on the scene, police and paramedics took Shakur and Knight to the University Medical Center. According to one of Shakur's closest friends and music video director Gobi, while at the hospital he received news that the shooters were sending death threats aimed at Shakur. Apparently one of Death Row's marketing employees received a call from the shooters, who told him they were coming to the hospital to kill Shakur. After Gobi heard what happened, he immediately alerted the Las Vegas police, but the police were understaffed and no one could be sent.[35] Although the shooters never came to the hospital, Shakur was later placed on life support until his death six days later, on September 13, 1996, at 4:03 p.m. PDT at the age of twenty-five. The official cause of death was respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. After his death, Shakur's body was cremated. His ashes were spread over Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean, Shakur's aunt's land, and his mother's land in North Carolina, and some was mixed with cannabis and smoked by The Outlawz.[36] Family and friends plan to spread the remaining ashes during a ceremony in Soweto, South Africa. The ceremony was delayed from September 13, 2006 to June 16, 2007, which would have been Shakur's 36th birthday.[37]

Due largely to the perceived lack of progress on the case by law enforcement, many independent investigations and theories of the crime have emerged. Because of the acrimony between Christopher Wallace (aka The Notorious B.I.G.) and Shakur, there was speculation from the outset about the possibility of Wallace's involvement in the murder. Wallace vehemently denied involvement. However, in a notable 2002 investigation by the Los Angeles Times, writer Chuck Phillips claimed to have uncovered evidence implicating Wallace, in addition to Anderson and the Southside Crips, in the murder.[38] In the article, Phillips quoted unnamed gang-member sources who claimed Wallace had ties to the Crips, often hiring them for security during West Coast appearances. Phillips' informants also state that Wallace gave the gang members one of his own guns for use in the attack on Shakur, and that he put out a $1 million contract on Tupac's life. By the time Phillips' specific allegations were published, however, Wallace himself had been murdered.[39]

Wallace's family and associates have vehemently denied Wallace's involvement in Shakur's death.[40] In support of their claims, Wallace's family submitted documentation to MTV indicating that Wallace was working in a New York recording studio the night of Shakur's murder. Wallace's manager Wayne Barrow and rapper James "Lil' Cease" Lloyd made public announcements denying Wallace's involvement in the murder and claiming further that they were both with Wallace in the recording studio the night of the shooting.

The high profile nature of the killing and ensuing gang violence caught the attention of British filmmaker Nick Broomfield, who made the documentary film Biggie & Tupac which examines the lack of progress in the case by speaking to those close to Wallace, Shakur, and the investigation. Shakur's close childhood friend and member of The Outlawz, Yafeu "Yaki Kadafi" Fula, was in the convoy when the shooting happened and indicated to police that he might be able to identify the assailants. He was killed shortly thereafter in a housing project in Irvington, New Jersey.[41]

In the first few seconds of the song "Intro/Bomb First (My Second Reply)" on the album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, Shakur can be heard saying "Shoulda shot me".[42][43] Many theorists mistook the statement as "Suge shot me" or "Suge shot 'em" until confirmation by multiple audio tests and confirmation from members of The Outlawz. This, along with reports of Knight's strong-arm tactics with artists and other illegal business tactics including involvement with the Mob Piru Bloods street gang gave rise to a theory that Knight was complicit in Shakur's murder, as it was reported that Suge Knight owed Tupac up to seventeen million dollars in back royalties, but no evidence has been provided to support this theory.

Other theories have been put forth, including a conspiracy theory that Shakur is alive and well, but in hiding. Many supporters of these theories point to the symbolism in Shakur's The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory album and in the video for the single "I Ain't Mad at Cha". Efforts exposing these conspiracy theories include 2Pac Lives The Death of Makaveli / The Resurrection of Tupac Amaru (Volume 1) released in 2005.

A new DVD, titled, Tupac Revelation will be released on September 7, 2007, eleven years after the shooting. It will explore the murder and provide new information about the murder case with the help of Shakur's bodyguard, Frank Alexander.

Style and influences

  • "Changes" (file info) — play in browser (beta)
    • Arguably one of Tupac's most famous and influential songs, "Changes", from his album Greatest Hits, released posthumously in 1998
  • "Hit 'Em Up" (file info) — play in browser (beta)
    • In "Hit 'Em Up," one of Tupac's more famous "diss songs", he attacked foe rapper The Notorious B.I.G. and Bad Boy members including Lil' Kim, Faith Evans, Mobb Deep, and Chino XL. Warning: contains explicit language.
  • Problems playing the files? See media help.
All Eyez on Me, Shakur's 1996 album
All Eyez on Me, Shakur's 1996 album

Shakur's first album, 2Pacalypse Now, revealed the socially conscious side of Shakur. On this album Shakur attacked social injustice, poverty and police brutality on songs "Brenda's Got a Baby", "Trapped" and "Part Time Mutha". His style on this album was heavily influenced by the social consciousness and Afrocentrism pervading hip-hop in the late 1980s and early 1990s. On this initial release, Shakur helped extend the legacy of such rap groups as Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy, X-Clan, and even Grandmaster Flash, as he became one of the first major socially conscious rappers from the West Coast.

On his second album, Shakur continued to rap about the social ills facing African-Americans, with songs like "The Streetz R Deathrow" and "Last Wordz." He also showed his compassionate side with the inspirational anthem "Keep Ya Head Up", while simultaneously putting his legendary aggressiveness on display with the title track from the album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. He even added a salute to his former group Digital Underground by including them on the playful track "I Get Around". Throughout his career, an increasingly aggressive attitude can be seen pervading Shakur's subsequent albums.

The contradictory themes of social inequality and injustice, unbridled aggression, compassion, playfulness, and hope all continued to shape Shakur's work, as witnessed with the release of his incendiary 1995 album Me Against the World. In 1996, Shakur released All Eyez on Me. With many tracks on the album considered to be classics, including "Ambitionz Az a Ridah", "I Ain't Mad at Cha", "California Love (RMX) [Remix]", "Life Goes On" and "Picture Me Rollin'", many critics consider this album to be a classic. All Eyez on Me was a change of style from his earlier works. While still containing conscious songs and themes, Shakur's album was heavily influenced by party tracks and tended to have a more "feel good" vibe than his earlier albums. Shakur described it as a celebration of life. Nonetheless, the album was critically and commercially successful.

Shakur's work has influenced many modern rap artists. Eminem,[44] Nas,[45] Lloyd Banks,[46] Rick Ross,[47] Ja Rule, The Game, and 50 Cent[48] all acknowledge his influence on their work. The likes of Snoop Dogg, Diddy, Pharrell, Ghostface Killa, Lil' Scrappy, DMX, Lil' Jon, Mary J. Blige, Juvenile, Outkast, Jermaine Dupri, WC, Sean Paul, Ice Cube, Missy Elliot, Mike Tyson and Nelly have all named songs by Shakur that they personally enjoyed.[49]


Grafitti art of Tupac and Biggie
Grafitti art of Tupac and Biggie

Tupac Shakur has one of the largest personal legacies of any music artist in history.[citation needed] The music and messages in his work pervaded the styles of the following generations and his music had great impact all over the nation and world. At a Mobb Deep concert following the death of the famed icon and release of his The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory album, Cormega recalled in an interview that the fans were all shouting "Makaveli"[50], and emphasized the influence of the The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory and of Shakur himself even in New York at the height of the media-dubbed 'intercoastal rivalry'. About.com named Tupac the most influential rapper ever.

To preserve Shakur's legacy, his mother founded the Shakur Family Foundation (later re-named the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation or TASF) in 1997. The TASF's stated mission is to "provide training and support for students who aspire to enhance their creative talents." The TASF sponsors essay contests, charity events, a performing arts day camp for teenagers and undergraduate scholarships. The Foundation officially opened the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts (TASCA) in Stone Mountain, Georgia on June 11, 2005.

A bronze statue of Shakur at the Peace Garden in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
A bronze statue of Shakur at the Peace Garden in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

On November 14, 2003, a documentary about Shakur entitled Tupac: Resurrection, was released under the supervision of his mother and narrated entirely in his voice. The movie was nominated for Best Documentary in the 2005 Academy Awards. Proceeds will go to a charity set up by Afeni Shakur.

On April 17, 2003, Harvard University co-sponsored an academic symposium entitled "All Eyez on Me: Tupac Shakur and the Search for the Modern Folk Hero." The speakers discussed a wide range of topics dealing with Shakur's impact on everything from entertainment to sociology.[51]

Many of the speakers discussed Shakur's status and public persona, including State University of New York English professor Mark Anthony Neal who gave the talk "Thug Nigga Intellectual: Tupac as Celebrity Gramscian" in which he argued that Shakur was an example of the "organic intellectual" expressing the concerns of a larger group.[52] Professor Neal has also indicated in his writings that the death of Shakur has left a "leadership void amongst hip-hop artists."[53] Neal further describes Tupac as a "walking contradiction", a status that allowed him to "make being an intellectual accessible to ordinary people".

Professor of Communications Murray Forman, of Northeastern University, spoke of the mythical status surrounding Shakur's life and death. He addressed the symbolism and

A memorial of Tupac Shakur at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia
A memorial of Tupac Shakur at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia

mythology surrounding Shakur's death in his talk entitled "Tupac Shakur: O.G. (Ostensibly Gone)". Among his findings were that Shakur's fans have "succeeded in resurrecting Tupac as an ethereal life force".[54] In "From Thug Life to Legend: Realization of a Black Folk Hero", Professor of Music at Northeastern University, Emmett Price, compared Shakur's public image to that of the trickster-figures of African-American folklore which gave rise to the urban "bad-man" persona of the post-slavery period. He ultimately described Shakur as a "prolific artist" who was "driven by a terrible sense of urgency" in a quest to "unify mind, body, and spirit".[55]

Michael Dyson, University of Pennsylvania Avalon Professor of Humanities and African American Studies and author of the book Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur[56] indicated that Shakur "spoke with brilliance and insight as someone who bears witness to the pain of those who would never have his platform. He told the truth, even as he struggled with the fragments of his identity."[56] At one Harvard Conference the theme was Shakur's impact on entertainment, race relations, politics and the "hero/martyr".[57] In late 1997, the University of California, Berkeley offered a student-led course entitled "History 98: Poetry and History of Tupac Shakur."[58]

In late 2003, the Makaveli Branded Clothing line was launched by Afeni Shakur.

In 2005, Death Row released Tupac: Live at the House of Blues. The DVD was the final recorded performance of Shakur's career, which took place in July 4th, 1996 and features other Death Row artists.

In August 2006, Tupac Shakur Legacy was released. The interactive biography was written by Jamal Joseph. It features unseen family photographs, intimate stories, and over 20 removable reproductions of his handwritten song lyrics, contracts, scripts, poetry, and other personal papers.

Shakur's sixth posthumous studio album, Pac's Life, was released on November 21, 2006 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Shakur's death. Even ten years after his death he is still considered one of the most popular artists in the music industry.[59]


Although Tupac Shakur's life was cut short in 1996, he still manages to hold and break new records even to this day.

  • In 1995, with the release of Me Against the World Shakur became the first music artist to be incarcerated and have a number one album on the Billboard 200 album at the same time. Me Against the World was written during Shakur's incarceration at Clinton Correctional Facility.
  • In 1996, with the release of All Eyez on Me Shakur became the first rapper to release a two-disc album.
  • In 1996, Shakur also became the first rap artist to release two number one albums on the Billboard 200 in the same year. Shakur's All Eyez on Me, released February 13, 1996, and his first album released under the pseudonym, Makaveli, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, also released that year on November 5.
  • With over seventy-five million albums sold to date, Shakur is the highest selling rap artist of all-time. With very few updates on his sales, new albums still being released and the continued sales of his prior albums, this number continues to rise.


During his lifetime, and since his death, Tupac's body of work has always been highly regarded by his fans and entertainment industry insiders alike. Here are some of the industry and fan awards Tupac has received for his work:

  • At the American music awards held on January 29, 1996, he was awarded favorite rap/hip hop artist.
  • Shakur was inducted into the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame in 2002.[60]
  • In 2003, MTV's "22 Greatest MCs" countdown listed Tupac as the "number 1 MC", as voted by the viewers.[61]
  • In 2004, at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors Shakur was honored along with DJ Hollywood, Kool Herc, KRS-One, Public Enemy, Run-DMC, Rock Steady Crew, and Sugarhill Gang.[62]
  • Also in 2004, a VIBE magazine poll rated Shakur "the greatest rapper of all time" as voted by fans.
  • In 2005, Top Soundtrack Song of the Year: "Runnin' (Dying To Live)" from Tupac: Resurrection by Shakur featuring The Notorious B.I.G. at the 18th Annual [SCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards].
  • Also in 2005, MTV listed Tupac's The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (released under the pseudonym "Makaveli") as one of the "Top 10 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of All Time."
  • At the First Annual Turks & Caicos International Film Festival held on Tuesday, October 17, 2006, Tupac Shakur was honored for his undeniable voice and talent and as a performer who crossed racial, ethnic, cultural and medium lines; his mother, Afeni Shakur, accepted the award on Tupac's behalf.[63]


Main article: Tupac Shakur discography

Studio albums

  • 1991: 2Pacalypse Now
  • 1993: Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
  • 1994: Thug Life: Volume 1
  • 1995: Me Against the World
  • 1996: All Eyez on Me
  • 1996: The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

Posthumous Studio albums

  • 1997: R U Still Down? (Remember Me)
  • 1999: Still I Rise
  • 2001: Until the End of Time
  • 2002: Better Dayz
  • 2004: Loyal to the Game
  • 2006: Pac's Life

Other Project Albums

  • 1993: Poetic Justice (Original Soundtrack)
  • 1994: Above the Rim (Original Soundtrack)
  • 1997: Gridlock'd (Original Soundtrack)
  • 1997: Gang Related (Original Soundtrack)
  • 1998: Greatest Hits
  • 2000: The Rose that Grew from Concrete
  • 2003: The Prophet: The Best Of The Works
  • 2003: Nu-Mixx Klazzics
  • 2003: Tupac: Resurrection (Original Soundtrack)
  • 2004: 2Pac Live
  • 2005: The Rose, Vol. 2
  • 2005: Tupac: Live at the House of Blues
  • 2007: Beginnings: The Lost Tapes 1988-1991
  • 2007: Evolution: Duets & Remixes
  • 2007: Best of 2Pac

Top 10 Billboard singles

  • 1991: "Brenda's Got a Baby"
  • 1991: "If My Homie Calls"
  • 1993: "I Get Around"
  • 1993: "Keep Ya Head Up"
  • 1995: "Dear Mama"
  • 1995: "Old School"
  • 1995: "So Many Tears"
  • 1996: "California Love"
  • 1996: "How Do You Want It"
  • 1997: "To Live & Die in L.A."
  • 1997: "Made Niggaz"
  • 1997: "Do For Love"
  • 1998: "Changes"
  • 2002: "Thugz Mansion"
  • 2003: "Runnin' (Dying to Live)"
  • 2005: "Ghetto Gospel"
  • 2006: "Pac's Life"


Main article: Tupac Shakur filmography
Year Title Role Notes
1991 Nothing But Trouble Himself (Brief appearance)
1992 Juice Bishop First starring role
1993 Poetic Justice Lucky Co-starred with Janet Jackson
1994 Above the Rim Birdie
1996 Bullet Tank Released one month after Shakur's death.
1997 Gridlock'd Ezekiel 'Spoon' Whitmore Released several months after Shakur's death.
1997 Gang Related Detective Rodríguez Shakur's last performance in a film.
2003 Tupac: Resurrection Himself Official documentary
2008 Live 2 Tell (Screenwriter) Expected 2008
Unknown Untitled Tupac Biopic[64] Recently Announced[65]


Main article: Tupac Shakur documentaries

Tupac Shakur's life has been recognized in big and small documentaries each trying capture the many different events during his short lifetime, most notably the Academy Award-nominated Tupac: Resurrection, released in 2003.

  • 1997: Tupac Shakur: Thug Immortal
  • 1997: Tupac Shakur: Words Never Die (TV)
  • 2001: Tupac Shakur: Before I Wake...
  • 2001: Welcome to Deathrow
  • 2002: Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel: The Life of an Outlaw
  • 2002: Biggie & Tupac
  • 2002: Tha Westside
  • 2003: 2Pac 4 Ever
  • 2003: Tupac: Resurrection
  • 2004: Tupac vs.
  • 2004: Tupac: The Hip Hop Genius (TV)
  • 2006: So Many Years, So Many Tears
  • 2007: Tupac Revelation
  • 2008: Notorious (TV)

Biographical books

  • Tupac: Resurrection (2003) ISBN 0-7434-7435-X
  • Tupac Shakur Legacy (2006) ISBN 0-7432-9260-X
  • Tupac Remembered (2007) ISBN 1-9328-5576-9
  • Thru My Eyes: Thoughts on Tupac Shakur in Pictures and Words
  • Rebel for the Hell of It: The Life of Tupac Shakur
  • Death Rap Tupac Shakur
  • Tupac Shakur (They Died Too Young)
  • Got Your Back : The Life of a Bodyguard in the Hardcore World of Gangsta Rap
  • Back in the Day: My Life and Times With Tupac Shakur
  • The Killing of Tupac Shakur
  • Jesus and the Hip-Hop Prophets: Spiritual Insights from Lauryn Hill and Tupac Shakur
  • How Long Will They Mourn Me?: The Life and Legacy of Tupac Shakur
  • Holler If You Hear Me
  • Dear 2Pac
  • All Eyez on Me: The Life and Times of Tupac Shakur
  • Tupac (Hip Hop)
  • Tupac: A Thug Life
  • Tough Love: Cultural Criticism & Familial Observations on the life and death of Tupac Shakur (Black Words Series)
  • Tupac Shakur (Just the Facts Biographies)
  • Tupac Shakur (People in the News)
  • Tupac Shakur (Rock Music Library)
  • Tupac and Elvis (Inevitably Restless)
  • Tupac Shakur (Hip-Hop Stars)
  • Static: My Tupac Shakur Story
  • Tupac Shakur: 2Pac in the Studio (The Studio Years (1989 - 1996))

Poetry books

  • The Rose That Grew From Concrete (1999) ISBN 0-671-02844-8
  • Inside a Thug's Heart (2004) ISBN 0-7582-0789-1

See also

  • Tupac Shakur discography
  • Tupac Shakur filmography
  • Tupac Shakur documentaries
  • Tupac Shakur companies
  • Tupac Shakur Timeline
  • Amaru Entertainment
  • Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts
  • Makaveli Branded Clothing
  • Thug Life
  • Outlawz
  • Billy Garland (Tupac's Biological Father)
  • Afeni Shakur (Mother Of Tupac)
  • Assata Shakur (Tupac's aunt/godmother in exile in Cuba)
  • Mutulu Shakur (Stepfather of Tupac)
  • Best selling music artists

Notes and references

  1. ^ XXL Magazine October 2006
  2. ^ Vibe.com, Tupac Shakur's Legacy Continues
  3. ^ MTV2 Presents: 22 Greatest MC's broadcast July 2003
  4. ^ Tupac:Resurrection, published by Atria Books, 2003, ISBN 0-7434-7434-1
  5. ^ Afeni Shakur, brief biography in PDF format, published 2002 by Amaru Entertainment
  6. ^ Baltake, Joe. "Tupac taps into cultural marvel", Sacramento Bee, November 14, 2003, p. TK26. Retrieved on [[March 19, 2007]]. 
  7. ^ a b Thompson, Ericka. "Remembering hip-hop's most influential", Recorder, pp. A1. Retrieved on [[March 19, 2007]]. 
  8. ^ Call & Post. "Tupac: Resurrection' explores myths surrounding rap icon", Cincinnati, Ohio: November 19, 2003. Vol. 87, Iss. 46; pg. 2B
  9. ^ Tupac Coroner's Report. Cathy Scott. Retrieved on 2007-07-24.
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b LAbyrinth: A Detective Investigates the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, the Implication of Death Row Records' Suge Knight, and the Origins of the Los Angeles Police Scandal by Randall Sullivan, Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2002. ISBN 0-87113-838-7 pg 76
  12. ^ published by Atria Books, 2003, ISBN 0-7434-7434-1' Pg 17
  13. ^ a b Back in the Day: My Life and Times with Tupac Shakur
  14. ^ Tupac's Book Shelf: "All Eyez on Me: Tupac Shakur and the Search for a Modern Folk Hero," W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research, Harvard University, April 17, 2003
  15. ^ Tupac's Book Shelf: "All Eyez on Me: Tupac Shakur and the Search for a Modern Folk Hero," W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research, Harvard University, April 17, 2003
  16. ^ Tupac's Book Shelf, Mark Anthony Neal
  17. ^ Thug Angel
  18. ^ Top 100 Albums. Recording Industry Association of America (2006-03-08). Retrieved on 2006-04-20.
  19. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0482538/
  20. ^ Tupac: A Thug Life
  21. ^ Jones, J., "Tupac Comes to Life for Bay Area Teens". Northgate News Online, U.C.-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. November 18, 2003. Retrieved from http://journalism.berkeley.edu/ngno/stories/001588.html on April 9, 2006.
  22. ^ D., Davey. "Tupac Shakur: Online With Tupac" (Interview). nd. Retrieved from http://www.allhiphop.com/features/?ID=587 on April 9, 2006.
  23. ^ Smothers, R. "Rapper Charged in Shootings of Off-Duty Officers". New York Times. November 2, 1993.
  24. ^ http://www.thuglifearmy.com/news/?id=19
  25. ^ James, George, "Rapper Faces Prison Term For Sex Abuse", New York Times, B1 (February 8, 1995); also Olen, Helaine, "Rapper Shakur Gets Prison for Assault", Los Angeles Times, A4 (February 8, 1995); Romano, Lois, "The Reliable Source", Washington Post, B3 (February 8, 1995)
  26. ^ "Marin slaying case against rapper opens", San Francisco Chronicle, November 3, 1995
  27. ^ "Settlement in Rapper's Trial for Boy's Death". San Francisco Chronicle. November 8, 1995.
  28. ^ "Rapper Is Sentenced To 120 Days in Jail". New York Times. April 5, 1996.
  29. ^ "Timeline: 25 Years of Rap Records". BBC News. October 11, 2004. Retrieved on April 10, 2006, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/3734910.stm
  30. ^ Au, W. J. "Yo, Niccolo!". December 11, 1996. Salon.com. Retrieved on April 10, 2006, from http://archive.salon.com/media/media2961211.html
  31. ^ Info from StreetGangs.com, from http://www.streetgangs.com/topics/tupac/091496passes.html
  32. ^ "Biography: Suge Knight". AOL Music. nd. Retrieved on April 10, 2006, from http://music.aol.com/artist/main.adp?tab=bio&artistid=279843&albumid=0
  33. ^ The Top Selling Record Albums of All Time
  34. ^ XXL Magazine October 2006
  35. ^ http://www.hitemup.com/interviews/gobi-feb04.html Interview with Gobi
  36. ^ Tupac Shakur Legacy
  37. ^ http://www.allhiphop.com/hiphopnews/?ID=6135 Tupac's life after death
  38. ^ "Paper investigates rapper murder". BBC News. September 6, 2002. Retrieved on April 10, 2006, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/2240857.stm
  39. ^ "Fresh probe over rapper's murder". BBC News. March 18, 2006. Retrieved on April 10, 2006, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4820224.stm
  40. ^ "Rapper's family denies murder theory". BBC News. September 9, 2002. Retrieved on April 10, 2006, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/2246862.stm
  41. ^ Jones, S. "The Truth is Being Covered Up". Philadelphia Weekly. September 18, 2002.
  42. ^ MTV's Big Urban Myths
  43. ^ October 2006 XXL Magazine
  44. ^ MTV, Eminem: Reconstructing Tupac
  45. ^ MTV, They Told Us
  46. ^ Crave Music Lloyd Banks: The Savior
  47. ^ Rick Ross on Tupac: Hell 4 A Hustler
  48. ^ Rolling Stone, Tupac Shakur by 50 Cent
  49. ^ All Ears On Me: Essential Tupac
  50. ^ Tupac Shakur: A Roundtable Discussion
  51. ^ Gewertz, K. "Symposium analyzes, celebrates 'Thug'". Harvard University Gazette. April 24, 2003. Retrieved from http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2003/04.24/11-hiphop.html on April 16, 2006.
  52. ^ Neal, M. "Thug Nigga Intellectual: Tupac as Celebrity Gramscian". Harvard University. 2003.
  53. ^ Neal, M. "New Black Man". Retrieved on April 16, 2006, from http://newblackman.blogspot.com/2005/09/race-ing-katrina.html
  54. ^ Forman, M. "Tupac Shakur: O.G. (Ostensibly Gone)". Harvard University. 2003.
  55. ^ Price, E. "From Thug Life to Legend: Realization of a Black Folk Hero". Harvard University. 2003.
  56. ^ a b Dyson, M. Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur. BasicCivitas Books. 2001.,
  57. ^ Harvard Gazette May 1, 2003 edition, writer Ken Gewertz
  58. ^ "Berkeley University Offers Class On Tupac". VH1.com. Sep. 10, 1997. Retrieved on July 26, 2006, from http://www.vh1.com/artists/news/1171/09101997/2pac.jhtml
  59. ^ Top Musical Artists for 2006
  60. ^ BET.com - Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur To Be Inducted Into Hip-Hop Hall Of Fame
  61. ^ MTV2 Presents: 22 Greatest MC's broadcast July 2003
  62. ^ VH1 Hip Hop Honorees 2004
  63. ^ Turks and Caicos International Film Festival - Festival To Honor John Debney and Tupac Shakur, Friday, October 13
  64. ^ http://www.thuglifearmy.com/news/?id=3660 EverGreen Deal Announces Upcoming Projects
  65. ^ http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/genre/e3iff9c0702f429405d58cfc1e3515561c8 Recently announced biopic in the works
  • Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation for the Arts
  • Tupac Legacy Tour
  • Tupac Shakur at the Internet Movie Database
  • Persondata
    NAME Shakur, Tupac
    ALTERNATIVE NAMES Tupac Amaru Shakur, Tupac, Pac, 2Pac, and Makaveli
    SHORT DESCRIPTION American rap artist, actor, activist, and poet
    DATE OF BIRTH June 16, 1971
    PLACE OF BIRTH New York City, New York
    DATE OF DEATH September 13, 1996
    PLACE OF DEATH Las Vegas, Nevada
    This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from a Wikipedia article. To access the original click here.
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    with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
    A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU
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