2Pac

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Template:Infobox Biography Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971September 13, 1996), also known by his stage name 2Pac, was an American hip hop artist, poet and actor. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling rap/hip-hop artist ever, having sold 73 million albums worldwide, including 44.5 million sales in the United States alone. He has had 17 top ten singles in the United States. He is consistently ranked by fans, critics and industry insiders as the greatest rapper ever.<ref>Vibe.com, a article on Vibe.com</ref>

Born in New York City, Tupac frequently found his family changing place of residence. In 1988, his family moved to the state of California where he would continue to reside for the rest of his life. In 1990 he was hired as a back-up dancer for the alternative rap group Digital Underground. Tupac's debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, gained critical recognition and a ranged amount of backlash for its controversial criticism of the police force. Shakur became the target of various law suits and experienced legal troubles--most notably, he was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in 1993. The day before the guilty verdict was issued, Shakur was shot five times in a recording studio lobby in Manhattan. Following the incident, Shakur grew suspicious that other rappers were involved in his shooting; the controversy would help spark the later East Coast-West Coast feud. After serving eleven months of his sentence for the alleged sodomy, Shakur was bailed from prison by Marion "Suge" Knight, the CEO of Death Row Records. In exchange, Shakur would release three records under the label, with his fifth, being the double disc album All Eyez on Me counting as two albums. On September 7, 1996, Tupac was shot four times in a drive by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. On September 13, 1996, six days after the shooting, Tupac died of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest in a Las Vegas local hospital. Many posthumous albums have been released under Shakur's name.

Tupac's music addresses such topics as the hardships of growing up around violence in United States ghettos, poverty, racism, and his feuds with fellow rappers. He is known for the messages of political, economic, and racial equality that pervade his work as well as the "Thug Life" that he raps about living in. His music has attracted a large amount of controversy and was showcased in the media a number of times. He has gained a large amount of publicity for being one of the main figures in the East Coast vs. West Coast feud between his Death Row Records label and Bad Boy Records. During his lifetime, Tupac released five albums and played roles in several films.

Early life

Tupac Amaru Shakur was born in the East Harlem section of Manhattan in New York City.<ref>Tupac:Resurrection, published by Atria Books, 2003, ISBN 0743474341</ref> He was named after Túpac Amaru II, an Incan revolutionary who led a Peruvian uprising against Spain and was subsequently sentenced to death. His last name Shakur comes from the Arabic word thankful (to God). It has been rumored that Shakur's birth name was Lesane Parish Crooks<ref name="m dyson holler">Dyson, M. Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur. BasicCivitas Books. 2001.</ref>, but this has been proven false. Shakur's mother Afeni 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 his mother's 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.<ref>Afeni Shakur, brief biography in PDF format, published 2002 by Amaru Entertainment</ref>

Shakur's godfather, Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, was convicted of murdering a schoolteacher during a 1968 robbery. 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 aided his sister Assata Shakur, Tupac's godmother, to escape from prison in New Jersey, where she had been incarcerated for the murder and wounding of two state troopers in 1973. Mutulu was caught in 1986 and imprisoned after being found guilty of the attempted robbery of a Brinks armored car in which two police officers and a guard were killed.<ref>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 0871138387 pg 76</ref> Tupac has a half-sister, Sekyiwa, two years his junior, and an older step-brother, Mopreme "Komani" Shakur, who appeared on many of his recordings.

At age 12, Shakur was enrolled in Harlem's famous "127th Street Ensemble". His first major role with this acting troupe was as Travis in the play A Raisin in the Sun. In 1984, his family relocated to the Roland Park section of Baltimore. After his sophomore year he transferred from Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School to the Baltimore School for the Arts, In school he was one of the most popular kids in his school because of his sense of humor and superior rapping skills, he mixed in with all crowds. One friend of Tupac, Dana "Mouse" Smith, was Tupac's beatbox in the many rap competitions that Tupac participated in. Shakur won the majority of the competitions he was in and was considered to be the best rapper in his school. He also befriended a young Jada Pinkett. The two developed a close friendship. In one interview that appears on the documentary Tupac: Resurrection, Shakur says, "Jada is my heart. She will be my friend for my whole life." Also in this documentary, 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." In Tupac's book, The Rose That Grew From Concrete, there is a poem written by Shakur titled "Jada" including another one titled "The Tears in Cupid's Eyes" which is dedicated to her. The two remained close friends until Shakur's death in 1996. At the School for the Arts, he studied acting, poetry, and jazz, and , performing in Shakespeare plays and landing the role of the Mouse King in The Nutcracker.<ref>LAbyrinth, pg 77</ref>

In June 1988, he and his family moved once again, this time to Marin City, California, where Shakur continued to pursue his career in entertainment. At the age of 17, he moved out of his mother's house to seek his music career. In 1990 he was hired as a back-up dancer and roadie for up-and-coming rap group Digital Underground. His professional entertainment career began in early 1991, when he debuted his rap skills on the single "Same Song" from the group's album This is an EP Release. Also in 1991, he appeared in the music video for "Same Song" and made a brief appearance as himself in the movie Nothing But Trouble.

Early career

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.<ref name="RIAA">Template:Cite web</ref> 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, and only being certified gold nearly 4 years later.<ref>Certified: 04/19/95 http://www.riaa.com/gp/database/search_results.asp Enter "2 Pacalypse Now"</ref> 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 other members of the Digital Underground crew.

Acting career

In addition to rapping, Shakur began acting in films. His first starring role was in the 1991 movie Juice, in 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), Above the Rim, Gridlock'd (with Tim Roth), Bullet, and Gang Related. 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.<ref>Baby Boy Trivia IMDB. URL last accessed May 17, 2006. </ref> 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 one of his songs.

Thug Life

In late 1993, Shakur formed the group Thug Life with a few 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: Thug Life Vol. 1 on September 24, 1994.

Legal issues

Even as he garnered fame as a rapper and actor, Shakur gained notoriety for his conflicts with the law. On October of 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.<ref>Jones, J., "Tupac Comes to Life for Bay Area Teens". Northgate News Online, U.C.-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Nov. 18, 2003. Retrieved from http://journalism.berkeley.edu/ngno/stories/001588.html on Apr. 9, 2006.</ref> <ref>D., Davey. "Tupac Shakur: Online With Tupac" (Interview). nd. Retrieved from http://www.allhiphop.com/features/?ID=587 on Apr. 9, 2006.</ref>

In October 1993, in Atlanta, Shakur shot two off-duty police officers (one in the leg, one in the buttocks) that 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.<ref>Smothers, R. "Rapper Charged in Shootings of Off-Duty Officers". New York Times. Nov. 2, 1993</ref>

In December 1993, however, 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. Tupac had prior relations days earlier with the woman who was pressing the charges against him. She had performed oral sex on him on a club dance floor and the two had 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 Tupac's entourage had gang-raped her, saying to him while leaving, "How could you do this to me?" Tupac states he had fallen asleep shortly after she arrived and later awoke to her accusations and legal threats. He later said he felt guilty for letting anything occur in the first place, and did not want anyone else to go to jail, but at the same time did not want to go to jail for a crime he didn't commit. On February 14, 1995, he was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for sexual assault; specifically, the conviction offense was for "sexual abuse (forcibly touching the buttocks)." There was no semen found at the scene. There was no liable evidence for Tupac to get sentenced. Many people think it was a "rape case" because the media put it all over the papers. One of the men who Tupac was with while in his hotel room once worked for the U.S. Government and was charged many times but never went to jail. This led to many Tupac fans to believe it was a set-up by the U.S. Government simply because Tupac would widely speak out against the Government. Tupac once stated about the trial "It's not even about me no more, its just about loud rap music"

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 in the 1992 shooting of 6-year old Qa'id Walker-Teal of Marin City, CA. The child had been the victim of a stray bullet in a shootout between Tupac's entourage and a rival group, though the bullet was not from Tupac's gun. Criminal charges were not sought, and Shakur settled with the family for an amount estimated between $300,000 and $500,000.<ref>"Marin slaying case against rapper opens", San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 3, 1995</ref> <ref>"Settlement in Rapper's Trial for Boy's Death". San Francisco Chronicle. Nov. 8, 1995.</ref> 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.<ref>"Rapper Is Sentenced To 120 Days in Jail". New York Times. April 5, 1996.</ref>

The November 30, 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 5 times. He checked out of the hospital, against doctor's orders, three hours after surgery. The day following the incident, December 1, 1994, Shakur entered the courthouse in a wheelchair and was found guilty of sodomy (forcibly touching the buttocks).

Prison sentence

Shakur began serving his prison sentence at Clinton Correctional Facility in February 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 charts while serving a prison sentence.<ref>"Timeline: 25 Years of Rap Records". BBC News. Oct. 11, 2004. Retrieved on Apr. 10, 2006, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/3734910.stm</ref> He married his long-time girlfriend, Keisha Morris, while serving his sentence. This marriage was later annulled. While in prison Tupac read many books by Niccolo Machiavelli, Sun Tzu's The Art of War and other works of political philosophy and strategy.<ref>Au, W. J. "Yo, Niccolo!". Dec 11, 1996. Salon.com. Retrieved on April 10, 2006, from http://archive.salon.com/media/media2961211.html</ref> He also wrote a screenplay titled Live 2 Tell while incarcerated.

In September 1995, Shakur was released on bail after serving eleven months of his 4 year sentence<ref>Info from www.alleyezonme.com, from http://www.alleyezonme.com/2pacarticles/tupacshakur/22/Government_Theory.html</ref>, 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.<ref>"Biography: Suge Knight". AOL Music. nd. Retrieved on Apr. 10, 2006, from http://music.aol.com/artist/main.adp?tab=bio&artistid=279843&albumid=0</ref>

Post-prison/Death Row Records

File:Pacsnoopsuge.jpg
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 his street cred. 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 would remain 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 9 million copies.<ref>Davey D Interview with 2Pac, KMEL Beat Report, 1991</ref> 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. 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 goal of this project was to bring closure to the East Coast-West Coast feud by bringing together what Shakur thought were the best rappers from both coasts. This project remains unreleased, though some of Tupac's contributions to the album have been used in various other posthumous releases.

By the end of his life, Tupac was in the middle of starting his film development company Euphanasia, and was going to start writing and directing films. Tupac wanted to host concerts that would be free for students who get a C or above, and wanted to build community centers and start baseball and football leagues for inner-city children. Tupac and Johnny "J" were starting up 24/7 Productions and Tupac was starting up Non-Stop Productions. Thug Passion was a drink that Tupac was planning on bottling and selling; the song "Thug Passion" was made to be a theme song for the drink. Tupac was going to step back from rapping by releasing albums every five years or so on his new record label, Makaveli Records, which would have been distributed by Death Row Records.Tupac and Suge Knight were in the process of expanding Death Row to the East, establishing a Death Row East. Tupac died before this could be fulfilled.

Makaveli

While in prison Tupac read many books by Niccolò Machiavelli (which inspired his later use of the name "Makaveli". The album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, released under Tupac's pseudonym "Makaveli", presents a stark contrast to previous works. In The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, Tupac continued focusing on the themes of pain and aggression, making this album one of the emotionally darker works of his career. Tupac wrote and recorded all the lyrics in only 3 days and the production took another 4 days, combining for a total of 7 days to complete the album (hence the name). The album was completely finished before Tupac died and Tupac had complete creative input on the album from the name of the album to the cover which Tupac chose to symbolize how the media has crucified him. Tupac had plans of starting Makaveli Records which would have included the Wu-Tang Clan, The Outlawz, Big Daddy Kane, Big Syke, and Gangstarr.

The Fatal September 7, 1996 shooting

File:Tupac4.jpg
Photo of Tupac and Suge Knight moments before shooting.

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 21 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 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 (Images 1,2), as part of a larger convoy of cars including some of Shakur's friends, The Outlawz, and bodyguards.

At 11:14 P.M., while stopped at the intersection of East Flamingo Road and Koval Lane, Shakur was shot in a drive-by shooting. Shakur was hit four times, twice in the chest, and once each in his arm and thigh, while Knight was scratched 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-girlfriend. The bodyguard, Frank Alexander, stated that while he was about to ride along with the rapper in Suge Knight's car, Shakur asked him to drive Kidada Jones' car 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 car 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. Shakur was placed on life support until his death six days later, on September 13, 1996, at 4:03 PM EDT. He was 25 years old. The official cause of death was respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. After his death, Shakur's body was cremated. Family and friends reportedly spread his ashes over the Pacific Ocean near Los Angeles, CA.

Theories of the crime

Although no one has ever been formally charged, nor publicly identified by the police as a suspect, police sources have indicated they believe that Anderson (who has since been murdered himself)}. Officers in the Compton, CA Police Department Gang Unit claimed the Crips were bragging about the killing soon after Anderson returned from Las Vegas. Officers further indicated they were disappointed with the lack of initiative shown by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in pursuing Shakur's killer(s).

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 about the possibility of Wallace's involvement in the murder from the outset. 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 the murder.<ref>"Paper investigates rapper murder". BBC News. Sep. 6, 2002. Retrieved on Apr. 10, 2006, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/2240857.stm</ref> 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.<ref>"Fresh probe over rapper's murder". BBC News. Matc, 18, 2006. Retrieved on Apr. 10, 2006, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4820224.stm</ref>

Wallace's family and associates have vehemently denied Wallace's involvement in Shakur's death.<ref>"Rapper's family denies murder theory". BBC News. Sep. 9, 2002. Retrieved on Apr. 10, 2006, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/2246862.stm</ref> 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 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.<ref>Jones, S. "The Truth is Being Covered Up". Philadelphia Weekly. Sep. 18, 2002.</ref>

It was believed by many listeners that in the first few seconds of the album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, one could hear a voice saying "Suge shot me," or "Suge shot 'em", closer listening indicates that the words are "Should'a shot me" (You should have shot me), directed towards his enemies at the time. This, along with reports of Knight's strong-arm tactics with artists and other illegal/unethical 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.Template:Citation needed

Other theories have been put forth, including a 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".

Style and influences

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File:TupacShakurAllEyezonMe.jpg
All Eyez on Me, Shakur's classic 1996 album

Shakur's first album, 2Pacalypse Now, revealed the socially conscious side of Tupac. On this album Shakur attacked social injustice, poverty and police brutality on songs like "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 1980's and early 1990's. On this initial release, Shakur helped extend the legacy of rap groups like 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. Few albums represent the perfect storm of street wisdom, intelligence and the sea of conflicting emotions that is Tupac Shakur better than his 1996 release, the critically acclaimed All Eyez on Me. With several tracks considered classics, including "I Ain't Mad at Cha", "California Love (RMX) [Remix]" and "Picture Me Rollin'," many critics consider this album to be not only Shakur's best, but one of the crown jewels of 1990's rap.


Shakur's work has influenced many modern rap artists. Artists like Eminem and 50 Cent freely admit his influence on their work. Still others, like DMX, have been compared to Shakur based on their style and public persona.

Legacy

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.

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.<ref>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.</ref>

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<ref>Neal, M. "Thug Nigga Intellectual: Tupac as Celebrity Gramscian". Harvard University. 2003.</ref>. Professor Neal has also indicated in his writings that the death of Shakur has left a "leadership void amongst hip-hop artists." <ref>Neal, M. "New Black Man". Retrieved on April 16, 2006, from http://newblackman.blogspot.com/2005/09/race-ing-katrina.html</ref> 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 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." <ref>Forman, M. "Tupac Shakur: O.G. (Ostensibly Gone)". Harvard University. 2003.</ref>

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." <ref>Price, E. "From Thug Life to Legend: Realization of a Black Folk Hero". Harvard University. 2003.</ref>

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 <ref name="m dyson holler">Dyson, M. Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur. BasicCivitas Books. 2001.</ref>, 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."<ref name="m dyson holler">Dyson, M. "Holler If You Hear Me". Harvard University. 2003.</ref>

At one Harvard Conference the theme was Shakur's impact on entertainment, race relations, politics and the "hero/martyr".<ref>Harvard Gazette May 1, 2003 edition, writer Ken Gewertz</ref>

The University of California, Berkeley introduced a new course in 1998 called "History '98: Poetry and History of Tupac Shakur."<ref>Jones, Q. Tupac Shakur. Vibe Ventures. 1998.</ref>

On July 9th, 2006 Comedy Central aired the unreleased Dave Chappelle skits entitled, Chappelle's Show: The Lost Episodes, and the last skit of the episode examined the ongoing relevance of Tupac's music.<ref>Lost Episode Skit, YouTube video</ref>

Awards

Since his death, Tupac's body of work remains 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:

Discography

Albums

Studio albums

Album cover Album information
2Pacalypse Now
  • Released: November 12 1991
  • Chart Position: - #64
  • RIAA Certification: Gold
  • Singles: "Brenda's Got a Baby", "If My Homie Calls", "Trapped"
Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
  • Released: February 16 1993
  • Chart Position: - #24
  • RIAA Certification: Platinum
  • Singles: "Keep Ya Head Up", "I Get Around", "Holla If Ya' Hear Me"
Thug Life: Thug Life Vol. 1
  • Released: September 26 1994
  • Chart Positions: - #6
  • RIAA Certification: Gold
  • Singles: "Papa'z Song", "Cradle to the Grave", "Pour Out a Little Liquor"
Me Against the World
  • Released: February 17 1995
  • Chart Positions: - #1
  • RIAA Certification: 2x Platinum
  • Singles: "Dear Mama", "Temptations", "So Many Tears"
All Eyez on Me
  • Released: February 13 1996
  • Chart Positions: - #1
  • RIAA Certification: 9x Platinum
  • Singles: "California Love", "How Do You Want It", "I Ain't Mad at Cha", "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted"
The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
  • Released: November 5 1996
  • Chart Positions: - #1
  • RIAA Certification: 7x Platinum
  • Singles: "Toss It Up", "Hail Mary", "To Live & Die in LA"

Albums released without Tupac's creative influence

Album cover Album information
R U Still Down? (Remember Me)
  • Released: November 25 1997
  • Chart Position: - #2
  • RIAA Certification: 5x Platinum
  • Singles: "Do For Love", "I Wonder If Heaven Got A Ghetto"
Still I Rise
  • Released: December 19 1999
  • Chart Position: - #6
  • RIAA Certification: 2x Platinum
  • Singles: "Baby Don't Cry"
Until the End of Time
  • Released: March 27 2001
  • Chart Position: - #1
  • RIAA Certification: 4x Platinum
  • Singles: "Letter 2 My Unborn", "Until The End Of Time"
Better Dayz
  • Released: November 26 2002
  • Chart Position: - #5
  • RIAA Certification: 3x Platinum
  • Singles: "Thugz Mansion", "Still Ballin'"
Loyal to the Game
  • Released: December 14 2004
  • Chart Position: - #1
  • RIAA Certification: Platinum
  • Singles: "Thugz Get Lonely Too", "Ghetto Gospel"

Soundtracks, Remixes, Poetry, Live, and Greatest Hits Albums

Album cover Album information
Gridlock'd (OST)
  • Released: January 17 1997
  • Chart Position: -
  • RIAA Certification: -
  • Singles: "Wanted Dead Or Alive"
Greatest Hits
  • Released: November 24 1998
  • Chart Position: - #2
  • RIAA Certification: 9x Platinum
  • Singles: "Changes", "Unconditional Love"
The Rose that Grew from Concrete
  • Released: October 17 2000
  • Chart Position: - #89
  • RIAA Certification: -
  • Singles: -
Nu-Mixx Klazzics
  • Released: October 7 2003
  • Chart Position: - #15
  • RIAA Certification: Gold
  • Singles: -
Tupac: Resurrection (Original Soundtrack)
  • Released: November 11 2003
  • Chart Position: - #2
  • RIAA Certification: Platinum
  • Singles: "Runnin' (Dying To Live)", "One Day At A Time"
2Pac Live
  • Released: August 6 2004
  • Chart Position: - #54
  • RIAA Certification: -
  • Singles -
The Rose, Vol. 2
Live at the House of Blues
  • Released: October 3 2005
  • Chart Position: - #159
  • RIAA Certification: - Platinum
  • Singles -

Singles

Year Title Chart Positions
U.S. Hot 100 U.S. R&B/Hip-Hop U.S. Rap UK Singles Chart
1991 "Brenda's Got A Baby" #11 #23 #3 -
1992 "Trapped" - - - -
1992 "If My Homie Calls" - - #3 -
1993 "Keep Ya Head Up" #12 #7 #2 -
1993 "I Get Around"
(featuring Digital Underground)
#11 #5 #8 -
1993 "Papa'z Song"
(with Thug Life)
#87 #82 #24 -
1993 "Holla If Ya Hear Me" - - - -
1994 "Cradle To The Grave"
(with Thug Life)
- - - -
1994 "Pour Out A Little Liquor"
(with Thug Life)
- - - -
1995 "Dear Mama" #9 #3 #1 #27
1995 "So Many Tears" #44 #21 #6 -
1995 "Temptations" #68 #35 #13 -
1996 "California Love"
(featuring Dr. Dre)
#1 #1 #1 #6
1996 "2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted"
(featuring Snoop Dogg)
- - - -
1996 "How Do U Want It"
(featuring K-Ci and JoJo)
#1 #1 #1 #17
1996 "I Ain't Mad At Cha"
(featuring Danny Boy)
- - - -
1996 "Toss It Up"
(featuring Danny Boy, K-Ci and JoJo)
- - - -
1997 "To Live & Die In LA" (as Makaveli) - - - -
1997 "Hail Mary" (as Makaveli) - - - -
1997 "Wanted Dead Or Alive"
(featuring Snoop Dogg)
- - - #16
1997 "I Wonder If Heaven Got A Ghetto" #67 #14 #18 #21
1997 "Do For Love" #21 #10 #2 #12
1998 "Changes" #5 #3 #3 #3
1999 "Unconditional Love" - - - -
2000 "Baby Don't Cry"
(with Tha Outlawz)
#72 #36 - -
2001 "Until The End Of Time" #52 #21 - #4
2001 "Letter 2 My Unborn" - #64 #10 #21
2002 "Thugz Mansion"
(featuring Nas)
#19 #10 #4 #24
2003 "Still Ballin'"
(featuring Trick Daddy)
#69 #31 #15 -
2003 "Runnin' (Dying to Live)"
(featuring The Notorious B.I.G.)
#19 #11 #5 #17
2003 "One Day At A Time"
(featuring Eminem and Tha Outlawz)
- - - -
2004 "Thugs Get Lonely Too"
(featuring Nate Dogg)
#98 #55 - -
2005 "Ghetto Gospel"
(featuring Elton John)
- - - #1

Samples

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Filmography

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Performances

  • "Whatta Man" (1994), Music video, won Best Dance Video, Best R&B Video and Best Choreography at the 11th annual MTV Video Music Awards
  • Live at the House Of Blues (2005) Live

Unofficial Documentaries

Poetry books

  • The Rose That Grew From Concrete (1999) ISBN 0671028448
  • Inside a Thug's Heart (2004) ISBN 0758207891

See also

Notes and references

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External links

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