Updated: Oct 23, 2021
Tupac Amaru Shakur was/is one of the greatest rappers the Hip hop world has ever known . He was different things to different people, to some he was a rebel and to others he was a revolutionary and to some others he was just another rich Black boy seeking relevance, more like a pest. Like him or not at the time of his death he was as he claimed a "self made millionaire" he had sold well over 25M records, he had become some sort of cultural Icon and a god to millions of his followers across the globe.
He courted death severally through his songs and as he himself said he was not afraid of death. He was once shot and survived which increased his mystique and he sang in one of his songs " five bullets couldn't stop me......." But like all mortals he finally succumbed to death in very controversial circumstances through the same bullets he earlier survived.
PAC was a philosopher and a poet and could rhyme like no other, while rappers of his time did the gangsta stuff, PAC did gangsta and also talked about the conditions of his people in the projects, the lot of the Blackman in America, running a system unfairly rigged against him. He eulogized his mum in a song " Dear Mama" . PAC was a prolific song writer and he could literally construct a song out of nothing. It is on record he did a whole album in 7 days. PAC was said to have in death, a more extensive catalog of songs than the ones released whilst alive. Any surprise his songs were being released even after his death. The truth of the matter is, the likes of Jay Z, Snoop, Eminem, and a host of Hip hop megastars of today were babies when PAC and Notorious were running the scene. It was during PAC and Biggie's reign that the East coast, West Coast beef and rap wars and consequent gun wars started . PAC and Biggie who incidentally started as friends ended up bitter enemies with their beef fueling the East coast, West coast rivalry.
Tupac Amaru Shakur originally born Lesane Parish Crooks was born in 1971 in Manhattan, he later relocated to Los Angeles California in 1988 where he finished his high School. So originally he was an East coast boy. Lesane Parish Crooks or 2Pac was renamed Tupac Amaru Shakur by his mum after the original name owner who was of the Inca tribe, a revolutionary who resisted the Spanish Conquistadors and was executed in the 18th century by the Spanish. His mother Afeni Shakur and his father Billy Garland were active members of the Black Panther movement of new York in the late 60's and 70's.
PAC had two other siblings of the same mother. From his parents antecedents the seeds of rebellion and fight for social and economic justice for blacks was already embedded in his DNA. PAC's family involvement in the Black Panther movement and the price they paid through detentions, convictions and jailing influenced his world view. The experiences of his parents and the Black Americans and his own brushes with the law greatly influenced his lyrics, Those lyrics plus his style of delivery perhaps made him the icon that he is today with his fans.
Black Panther Movement
PAC had his schooling in both new York and Baltimore Maryland at the Baltimore school of Arts he studied Poetry, Jazz, and ballet, and was already winning Rap competitions in high school.
Tupac In School
This music Icon, mega superstar, revolutionary, Film actor, Prisoner, and Martyr began his music career in 1991 under the name 2Pac , his first album released in 1991 was called "2Pacalypse now" his next album came in 1993 called " Strictly for my NIGGAZ", In 1995 he released "me against the world" His fourth album released in 1996 was " All eyes on me" This was done under Death Row Records of Suge Knight and Dre. His fifth album done under the name Makaveli was named " The Don Killuminati", The 7 day theory, this album was done in one week. He released a couple of albums posthumously " R U still down" (1997)
"still i rise" (1999) "Until the end of time" (2001) " Better days" (2002) " Loyal to the game" (2004) "Pac's Life" (2006)
East coast, West coast Beef & the death of 2PAC
In the 90's The West coast artists like NWA were churning out hits, you had Dre with his hit the G thang, You had snoop, Pac was also based in the West coast, though originally an East Coast boy, The East coast had Run DMC and some other stars but the pendulum was with the West Coast. Puffy, Mary J Blige were under Uptown records and at a stage Puffy was fired by one Andre Harrel, Puffy was his A and R Man. Puffy now left to form his own label Bad Boy Entertainment. Biggie was under the wings of Puffy's Bad boy entertainment and was awaiting the release of his debut album. Meanwhile he was providing rap lines to some R&B songs while waiting. There was another brother named Stretch a friend of 2PAC who collaborated with him on his first two solo albums, an East Coast Boy.
Biggie while awaiting the release of his debut album went to California in 1993 and asked for PAC's address from a local drug dealer, he got the address and he met PAC, who welcomed him and hosted him lavishly, When PAC came to New York he was hosted by Biggie, PAC used to call Biggie on stage sometimes to rap with him and stretch, together they recorded songs like" Running from the Police" and " house of Pain" During this time it was alleged that Biggie once told PAC to manage him, but PAC replied, Puffy would manage him better.
PAC asked Biggie to join his side group, "Thug Life", but Biggie instead formed his own side group "Junior MAFIA"
PAC & Biggie
2PAC made an acquaintance with a man named Haitian Jack, whom Biggie had warned him against befriending, he also made acquaintances with another gangsta named Jimmy Henchman Rosemond. On 29th November 1994 in an Hotel in New York, Tupac kept on receiving a beeper, it was Jimmy Henchman calling and offering $7000 to PAC to come do a verse for some act he was recording, PAC needed the money because of his legal troubles so he went to the Hotel in the company of his music partner Stretch and two others . In the lobby of the Hotel where he was to meet Henchman a two man gang robbery was initiated and PAC was shot by them for allegedly not cooperating. He was rushed to the Hospital and treated after which he continued his legal troubles. PAC thereafter joined Suge Knight's Death Row records and in an interview he granted in 1995 PAC claimed, Biggie, Puffy, Henchman and his buddy Stretch set him up. Thus began the bitter East Coast West coast Beef that ultimately led to two tragedies.
In 1995 imprisoned, broke and with his mum's property about to be repossessed, PAC joined Suge's Death Row records and Suge advanced his mother $15,000 to solve her house problem and he also posted bail bond for PAC. PAC was later to reward him with two multi platinum selling albums.
Suge Knight once traveled to New York for an award show, and when he mounted the stage to receive an award launched a tirade against Diddy and the East coast rap scene and advised aspiring Rappers to come to the West coast and Death Row records thus fueling the East coast, West coast beef.
We would not involve ourselves in the shenanigans of record company executives, the games they play on artists and the fatalities that sometimes results. suffice to say Suge Knight's Death Row Records and Puff's Bad boy Entertainment dominated the rap scene in the 90's.
Tupac released " Hit them Up" on June 4 1996, a venomous tirade against, Puffy, Biggie, Junior MAFIA and other East Coast Artists, where he threatened murder, mayhem and said a lot of unsavory things. It is alleged in some circles that, that song was a major contributor to his death in September 1996.
Shakur was shot on September 7th 1996 in Las Vegas, where he had gone to attend a business associate's birthday and also to see Mike Tyson's fight. He did not die immediately he was shot in the company of Suge Knight, but died almost a week later from internal bleeding from the bullets that had pierced his lungs. he died September 13th 1996.
Acted in many films including, " nothing but trouble",(1991) "Juice" (1992) " Poetic Justice" (1993, with Janet Jackson)
PAC & Janet Poetic Justice
PAC had many brushes with the law, escaped with a slap on the wrist for some and had to do time for an alleged rape conviction.
Had many awards both in his lifetime and more have come posthumously
as a lasting legacy to him, he was inducted into Hip hop hall of fame, rock and roll hall of fame to mention a few. His music and life is being studied as a course in top Universities of the world like Harvard and University of California Berkeley.
That's a wrap. Many Thanks to Wikipedia, google, Pinterest, Britanica, Hip Hop scriptures, and many other media whose images we have used.
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