Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), known by his stage names 2Pac (or simply Pac) and Makaveli, was an American rapper. He has sold 75 million albums to date and is one of the best-selling music artists in the world. In addition to his status as a top-selling recording artist, Shakur was a promising actor and a social activist. Most of Shakur's songs are about growing up amid violence and hardship in ghettos, racism, problems in society and conflicts with other rappers. Shakur's work is known for advocating egalitarianism. Shakur was initially a roadie and backup dancer for the alternative hip hop group Digital Underground.
Shakur became the target of lawsuits and experienced other legal problems. He was later shot five times and robbed in the lobby of a recording studio in New York City. Following the event, Shakur grew suspicious that other figures in the rap industry had prior knowledge of the incident and did not warn him; the controversy helped spark the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry. Shakur was later convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to one and half to four and a half years in prison. After serving eleven months of his sentence he 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 albums for the Death Row label.
On the night of September 7, 1996, Shakur was shot four times in a drive-by shooting in the Las Vegas metropolitan area in Nevada. He died six days later of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest at the University Medical Center.
MTV ranked Pac at #2 on their list of The Greatest MCs of All Time.