Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known as 2pac, was one of the greatest
and most well-known gangsta-rap artists before his fatal shooting
in Las Vegas on September 6, 1996. In many ways his life was too
short, he was only 25 and had most of his life in front of him.
Many people think he is still alive and there is a lot of evidence
to support this, but there is only one person who really knows;
Suge Knight, the man in the car with Tupac on that fateful night.
Tupac was born on Wednesday, June 16, 1971 in Brooklyn, NY. He
was born without a father and his mother, Afeni Shakur, a founding
member of the Black Panther Party, was being charged with conspiring
to bomb several public areas in New York City. Tupac was named
after an Inca chief named Tupac Amaru, which means "shining
serpent" and Shakur is arabic for "thankful to God".
The first few years of his life Tupac's family moved between the
Bronx and Harlem. Many times they would end up in a homeless shelter
because his mom couldn't pay the rent. Growing up, Tupac was a
well rounded boy. His elementary school teachers said that he
was a delightful student. In September, 1983, the 12-year-old
Tupac joined a Harlem theater group and in hs first performance
he played Travis in "A Raisin in the Sun". Tupac enjoyed
acting and became very good at it.
In 1986, at the age of 15, Tupac's family moved to Baltimore,
Maryland. Tupac attended The Baltimore School for the Performing
Arts. Here he showed great talent and potential while making a
lasting impression on his teachers. In Baltimore Tupac also started
writing his first rap lyrics and performed under the name MC New
In 1990 Tupac started his way up the top of today's rap music
industry. He joined the rap group Digital Underground as a dancer
and rapper. On Thursday, January 3, 1991 he made his recording
debut by appearing on Same Song from Digital Underground's This
is an EP Release.
On Tuesday, November 12, 1991, Tupac's first solo album, 2Pacalypse
Now, was released. This album contained the successful singles
Trapped and Brenda's Got A Baby, which launched his career like
a rocket. Shortly after the release of Tupac's solo album, he
filed a $10 million lawsuit against the Oakland police for alleged
brutality following an arrest for jaywalking. This lawsuit gave
him much popularity and caught the eye of the Earnest Dickerson
and landed him a spot in the movie Juice. On January17, 1992 he
made his big screen debut in the film Juice, earning him praise
for his portrayal of Bishop.
In April 1992, Ronald Ray Howard, 19, shot a Texas State Trooper.
When asked for his plead at the trial, Howard's attorney claimed
that Ronald was incited by 2Pacalypse Now, which contained lyrics
about killing police. During a search of the car in which Howard
was driving, 2Pacalypse Now was found in the tape deck.
Later that year, on August 22, Tupac had an altercation with some
old acquaintances in Marin City. The fighting turned to shooting
and resulted in the death of a 6-year-old bystander and the arrest
of Tupac's half brother, Maurice Harding. Harding was later released
due to lack of evidence. The bad times for Tupac just kept coming.
One month later, in September of 1992, Vice-President, Dan Quayle
denounced 2Pacalypse Now by saying "This album has no place
in our society".
In February, 1993, Tupac released his second album, Strictly 4
My N.I.G.G.A.Z., which was an even bigger success than his first,
and eventually sold platinum. On this ablum were the hit songs,
I Get Around and Keep Ya Head Up.
The following month, on March 13, 1993, Tupac got into an fight
with a limo driver in Hollywood. The driver accused Tupac of smoking
marijuana in the car. Tupac was arrested but the charges were
dropped. Just weeks after being arrested for drugs, Tupac is arrested
again. This time for taking a swing with a baseball bat at a local
rapper during a concert. This time the charges weren't dropped
and Tupac was sentenced to 10 days in prison.
A few monthes later, on July 23, 1993, John Singleton's Poetic
Justice was released. In this film, Tupac appeared along with
Janet Jackson. This role showed the world that music was not Tupac's
only attribute; that in fact he was an exceptional actor as well.
Later that year, on October 31, Tupac was arrested again, this
time for allegedly shooting 2 off-duty Atlanta police officers
who were harassing a black motorist. Once again the charges against
Tupac were eventually dropped. Two weeks later, on November 18,
a 19-year-old woman accused Tupac of sexual harassment and filed
charges against him. Tupac was released on bail while the trial
was in progress.
On March 10, 1994; while on trail for sexual harassment, Tupac
was arrested once more for punching out director Allen Hughes.
The motive for the assault was that Hughes had dropped Tupac from
the motion picture Menace II Society. Shakur was sentenced to
15 days in prison.
At the same time as the trail and doing time, Shakur was working
on another movie, Above the Rim. On March 23, the movie was released.
Tupac played a troubled drug dealer who eventually gets shot three
times in the chest. The soundtrack to this movie featured the
song Pour Out a Little Liquor, which was recorded by Tupac's group,
Thug Life and sold over 2 million copies.
On September 7 of that same year, two Milwaukee teens murdered
a police officer and once again, Tupac's lyrics were cited as
their inspiration. This time it was the song Souljah's Story that
had supposedly inticed these teens to murder. Just two monthes
later, on November 30, Tupac was shot 5 times and robbed of jewels
for about $40,000 in the lobby of Times Square Recording Studio.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital and emergency surgery was performed
on him to remove the bullets. Tupac checked himself out of the
hospital less than 3 hours after surgery. Although Tupac thinks
that some member of Bad Boy Entertainment ( a New York based record
label ) is responsible for the shooting, the case still officially
remains unsolved. All of this happened while he was on trial for
sex and weapon charges. The shooting happened just hours before
he was scheduled to appear in court for the verdict. The verdict
came back guilty on the sexual abuse charges but the day after
he was acquitted of the weapons charges.
On February 14, 1995, Tupac was sentenced up to 4 and a half years
and immediately began serving his time in New York's Rikers Island
Penitentiary. While in prison, Tupac still wrote lyrics. On April
1, 1995, Tupac's third album, Me against the World, debuted at
No.1 on Billboard's pop chart. This album was fueled by the single
Dear Mama and went double platinum in 7 months.
In October of 1995 Death Row Record's CEO and co-founder, Marion
"Suge" Knight posted $1.4 million in bail to get Tupac
out of jail while waiting for his appeal on sexual abuse charges.
Once released, Tupac immediately flied to L.A to sign with Death
Row and start recording his fourth solo album, All Eyez On Me.
Five monthes later, in February of 1996 the fact that Tupac had
been sleeping with Faith Evans went public. Evans is the wife
of The Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie Smalls or just Biggie.
He is a New York based rapper who was under the Bad Boy label.
Evans denied that she ever had slept with Tupac. This enfuriated
Biggie and he made threats on Tupac's life.
After the affair controversy, on February 13, 1996, Tupac's Death
Row debut, All Eyez On Me was released. It was rap music's first
double CD and was an instant hit. Next month, on March 29, 1996,
Death Row employees and Bad Boy employees faced off at the Soul
Train Music Awards in Los Angeles. Words were exchanged, tempers
got out of hand and a gun was pulled.
On April 25, 1996, All Eyez On Me went quintuple platinum. Just
a few weeks later in May, Tupac and Snoop Doggy Dogg ( another
Death Row rapper ) released a video for the song 2 of Americaz
Most Wanted, which was from All Eyez On Me. In this video, caricatures
of Biggie and Sean "Puffy" Combs ( Bad Boy Ent.'s CEO
) were punished for setting up Tupac's shooting in February of
Later, on June 4, 1996, Death Row released the single by Tupac
called Hit 'Em Up. This song condemns Biggie, Bad Boy, Mobb Deep,
and others. In this song, Tupac raps about his affair with Faith
Evans, makes fun of Biggie's fatness, makes fun of a member of
Mobb Deep who has sickle cell disease and threatens to kill them
By this time, emotions between Death Row and Bad Boy are running
high. On September 4, 1996, Tupac returned to New York for the
MTV Music Video Awards. Tupac took many precautions to preserve
his life. He had an entire entourage surrounding him, an unmarked
bodyguard at every exit to the arena, a walkie-talkie in his hand
the whole night, and a bullet proof vest. Still he got into a
scuffle with some members of Bad Boy, but nothing serious broke
Just days later, on September 7, Tupac and Suge Knight attended
the Mike Tyson - Bruce Seldon fight at Caesar's Palace in Las
Vegas. During the fight, Shakur got into a scuffle with a man
whose identity is unknown but police have ruled him out as a suspect
in the murder. Tupac and Suge left the fight in Knight's BMW.
While on the strip, a white Cadillac with four black people pulled
up alongside of them at an intersection. One person got out of
the car, walked up to their BMW and opened fire. While trying
to jump in the back seat, Tupac's chest was exposed and he was
hit 5 times out of a total 13 shots. One bullet grazed Suge's
head. After the shooting, Suge turned the car around and headed
the other way. They were both put in an ambulance and taken to
the University of Las Vegas Medical Center. Suge was stitched
up and released the next day, but Tupac underwent three surgeries.
During the first of these surguries, his left lung and the bullets
were removed. The second and third surguries were performed to
stop the internal bleeding but the site of the bleeding was never
found. On Friday, September 13, 1996, Tupac died at 4:03 PM. On
November 7, Tupac released another album under the alius Makaveli.
The album was entitled The Don Killuminati The 7 Day Theory. After
his death he still had 3 unreleased movies and two unreleased
There is much controversy surrounding the death of Tupac. There
is a lot of evidence to support the notion that he faked his death.
On the cover of his album, Makaveli, The Don Killuminati The 7
Day Theory he is being crucified like Jesus. Could he be planning
a resurrection? The name of that album in itself is a mystery.
How come no one saw the shooting, after all, the shooting took
place on the Las Vegas strip after a huge heavyweight fight. If
there was a shooting there had to have been some witnesses. There
is a lot more evidence to support the "still alive"
theory. Weather you believe him to be alive or not, there is no
doubting that he had a major impact on the music industry today.
May his legacy always live on!