28 Days Of Black History Day #25 Tupac Amaru Shakur

Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names 2Pac and briefly as Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor.[1] Shakur has sold over 75 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time.[2] MTV ranked him at number two on their list of The Greatest MCs of All Time and Rolling Stone named him the 86th Greatest Artist of All Time.[3] His double disc album All Eyez on Me is one of the best selling hip hop albums of all time.
Shakur began his career as a roadie, backup dancer, and MC for the alternative hip hop group Digital Underground, eventually branching off as a solo artist.[4][5][6] The themes of most of Shakur’s songs revolved around the violence and hardship in inner cities, racism and other social problems. Both of his parents and several other of his family were members of the Black Panther Party, whose ideals were reflected in his songs.
During the latter part of his career, Shakur was a vocal participant in the so-called East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry, becoming involved in conflicts with other rappers, producers and record-label staff members, most notably The Notorious B.I.G. and his label Bad Boy Records.[7]
On September 7, 1996, Shakur was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane in Las Vegas, Nevada.[8] He was taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, where he died six days later
Shakur, according to relatives real name Lesane Parish Crooks,[10][11][12] was born on June 16, 1971, in the East Harlem section of Manhattan in New York City.[13] He was named after Túpac Amaru,[14] an 18th-century South American revolutionary who was executed after leading an indigenous uprising against Spanish rule.[15]
His mother, Afeni Shakur, and his father, Billy Garland, were active members of the Black Panther Party in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The infant boy was born a month after his mother was acquitted of more than 150 charges of “Conspiracy against the United States government and New York landmarks” in the New York “Panther 21” court case.[16][17]
Shakur lived from an early age with people who were convicted of serious criminal offenses and who were imprisoned. His 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, spent four years at large on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list beginning in 1982. Mutulu was wanted for having helped his sister Assata Shakur (also known as Joanne Chesimard) to escape from a penitentiary in New Jersey. She had been imprisoned for killing a state trooper in 1973. Mutulu was caught in 1986 and imprisoned for the robbery of a Brinks armored truck in which two police officers and a guard were killed.[18] Shakur had a half-sister, Sekyiwa, two years his junior, and an older stepbrother, Mopreme “Komani” Shakur, who appeared in many of his recordings.[19]
At the age of twelve, Shakur enrolled in Harlem’s 127th Street Repertory Ensemble and was cast as the Travis Younger character in the play A Raisin in the Sun, which was performed at the Apollo Theater. In 1986, the family relocated to Baltimore, Maryland.[20] After completing his second year at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, he transferred to the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he studied acting, poetry, jazz, and ballet.[21] He performed in Shakespeare plays, and in the role of the Mouse King in the ballet The Nutcracker.[18] Shakur, accompanied by one of his friends, Dana “Mouse” Smith, as his beatbox, won many rap competitions and was considered to be the best rapper in his school.[22] He was remembered as one of the most popular kids in his school because of his sense of humor, superior rapping skills, and ability to mix with all crowds.[23] He developed a close friendship with a young Jada Pinkett (later Jada Pinkett Smith) that lasted until his death.
In the documentary Tupac: Resurrection, Shakur says, “Jada is my heart. She will be my friend for my whole life.” Pinkett Smith calls him “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 Pinkett Smith called “The Tears in Cupid’s Eyes”. During his time in art school, Shakur became affiliated with the Baltimore Young Communist League USA,[24][25] and began dating the daughter of the director of the local Communist Party USA.[26]
In June 1988, Shakur and his family moved to Marin City, California, a residential community located 5 miles (8.0 km) north of San Francisco,[20] where he attended Tamalpais High School in nearby Mill Valley.[27] He began attending the poetry classes of Leila Steinberg in 1989.[28] That same year, Steinberg organized a concert with a former group of Shakur’s, “Strictly Dope”; the concert led to him being signed with Atron Gregory. He set him up as a roadie and backup dancer with the hip hop group Digital Underground in 1990.
Shakur’s professional entertainment career began in the early 1990s, when he debuted his rapping skills in a vocal turn in Digital Underground’s “Same Song” from the soundtrack to the 1991 film Nothing but Trouble and also appeared with the group in the film of the same name. The song was later released as the lead song of the Digital Underground extended play (EP) This is an EP Release, the follow-up to their debut hit album Sex Packets. Shakur appeared in the accompanying music video. After his rap debut, he performed with Digital Underground again on the album Sons of the P. Later, he released his first solo album, 2Pacalypse Now. Though the album did not generate any “Top Ten” hits, 2Pacalypse Now is hailed by many critics and fans for its underground feel, with many rappers such as Nas, Eminem, Game, and Talib Kweli having pointed to it as inspiration.[29] Although the album was originally released on Interscope Records, rights of it are now owned by Amaru Entertainment. The album’s name is a reference to the 1979 film Apocalypse Now.
The album generated significant controversy. Dan Quayle criticized it after a Texas youth’s defense attorney claimed he was influenced by 2Pacalypse Now and its strong theme of police brutality before shooting a state trooper. Quayle said, “There’s no reason for a record like this to be released. It has no place in our society.” In connection with such criticisms Tupac told LA Times reporter Chuck Philips that he felt misunderstood.[30] He said, “I started out saying I was down for the young black male, you know, and that was gonna be my thang,” Tupac said. “I just wanted to rap about things that affected young black males. When I said that, I didn’t know that I was gonna tie myself down to just take all the blunts and hits for all the young black males, to be the media’s kicking post for young black males. I just figured since I lived that life I could do that, I could rap about that.” [31][32] The record was important in showcasing 2Pac’s political conviction and his focus on lyrical prowess. On MTV’s Greatest Rappers of All Time List, 2Pacalypse Now was listed as one of 2Pac’s “certified classic” albums, along with Me Against the World, All Eyez On Me and The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. ‘2Pacalypse Now went on to be certified Gold by the RIAA. It featured three singles; “Brenda’s Got a Baby”, “Trapped”, and “If My Homie Calls”. 2Pacalypse Now can be found in the Vinyl Countdown and in the instruction manual for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, along with the track “I Don’t Give a Fuck,” which appeared on the in-game radio station, Radio Los Santos.
His second studio album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., was released in February 1993. The album did better than the previous one debuting on number 24 on the Billboard 200. The album contains many tracks emphasizing Tupac’s political and social views. This album had more commercial success than its predecessor, and there were noticeable differences in production. While Tupac’s first effort had an indie-rap-oriented sound, this album was considered his “breakout” album. It spawned the hits “Keep Ya Head Up” and “I Get Around” and reached platinum status. On vinyl, Side A (tracks 1–8) was labeled the “Black Side” and Side B (tracks 9–16) the “Dark Side.” It’s known as his tenth-biggest selling album with 1,366,000 units moved as of 2004
Shakur’s professional entertainment career began in the early 1990s, when he debuted his rapping skills in a vocal turn in Digital Underground’s “Same Song” from the soundtrack to the 1991 film Nothing but Trouble and also appeared with the group in the film of the same name. The song was later released as the lead song of the Digital Underground extended play (EP) This is an EP Release, the follow-up to their debut hit album Sex Packets. Shakur appeared in the accompanying music video. After his rap debut, he performed with Digital Underground again on the album Sons of the P. Later, he released his first solo album, 2Pacalypse Now. Though the album did not generate any “Top Ten” hits, 2Pacalypse Now is hailed by many critics and fans for its underground feel, with many rappers such as Nas, Eminem, Game, and Talib Kweli having pointed to it as inspiration.[29] Although the album was originally released on Interscope Records, rights of it are now owned by Amaru Entertainment. The album’s name is a reference to the 1979 film Apocalypse Now.
The album generated significant controversy. Dan Quayle criticized it after a Texas youth’s defense attorney claimed he was influenced by 2Pacalypse Now and its strong theme of police brutality before shooting a state trooper. Quayle said, “There’s no reason for a record like this to be released. It has no place in our society.” In connection with such criticisms Tupac told LA Times reporter Chuck Philips that he felt misunderstood.[30] He said, “I started out saying I was down for the young black male, you know, and that was gonna be my thang,” Tupac said. “I just wanted to rap about things that affected young black males. When I said that, I didn’t know that I was gonna tie myself down to just take all the blunts and hits for all the young black males, to be the media’s kicking post for young black males. I just figured since I lived that life I could do that, I could rap about that.” [31][32] The record was important in showcasing 2Pac’s political conviction and his focus on lyrical prowess. On MTV’s Greatest Rappers of All Time List, 2Pacalypse Now was listed as one of 2Pac’s “certified classic” albums, along with Me Against the World, All Eyez On Me and The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. ‘2Pacalypse Now went on to be certified Gold by the RIAA. It featured three singles; “Brenda’s Got a Baby”, “Trapped”, and “If My Homie Calls”. 2Pacalypse Now can be found in the Vinyl Countdown and in the instruction manual for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, along with the track “I Don’t Give a Fuck,” which appeared on the in-game radio station, Radio Los Santos.
His second studio album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., was released in February 1993. The album did better than the previous one debuting on number 24 on the Billboard 200. The album contains many tracks emphasizing Tupac’s political and social views. This album had more commercial success than its predecessor, and there were noticeable differences in production. While Tupac’s first effort had an indie-rap-oriented sound, this album was considered his “breakout” album. It spawned the hits “Keep Ya Head Up” and “I Get Around” and reached platinum status. On vinyl, Side A (tracks 1–8) was labeled the “Black Side” and Side B (tracks 9–16) the “Dark Side.” It’s known as his tenth-biggest selling album with 1,366,000 units moved as of 2004
All Eyez on Me was the fourth studio album by 2Pac, released on February 13, 1996 by Death Row Records and Interscope Records. The album is frequently recognized as one of the crowning achievements of 1990s rap music.[44] It has been said that “despite some undeniable filler, it is easily the best production 2Pac’s ever had on record”.[45] It was certified 5× Platinum after just 2 months in April 1996 and 9× platinum in 1998. The album featured the Billboard Hot 100 number one singles “How Do U Want It” and “California Love”. It featured 5 singles in all, the most of any 2Pac album. Moreover, All Eyez On Me (which was the only Death Row release to be distributed through PolyGram by way of Island Records) made history as the first double-full-length hip-hop solo studio album released for mass consumption. It was issued on two compact discs and four LPs. Chartwise, All Eyez on Me was the second album from 2Pac to hit number-one on both the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.[46] It sold 566,000 copies in the first week of its release, and was charted on the top 100 with the top one-week Soundscan sales since 1991. The album won the 1997 Soul Train R&B/Soul or Rap Album of the Year Award.[47][48][unreliable source?] Shakur also won the Award for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist at the 24th Annual American Music Awards.[49][unreliable source?]
Makaveli The Don – Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, commonly shortened to The 7 Day Theory, is the fifth and final studio album by Tupac Shakur, under the new stage name Makaveli, finished before his death and his first studio album to be posthumously released.[50] The album was completely finished in a total of seven days during the month of August 1996.[51] The lyrics were written and recorded in only three days and mixing took an additional four days. These are among the very last songs he recorded before his fatal shooting on September 7, 1996. In 2005, MTV.com ranked Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory at #9 on their greatest hip hop albums of all time list[52] and, in 2006, recognized it as a classic.[53] The emotion and anger showcased on the album has been admired by a large part of the hip-hop community, including other rappers.[54] Ronald “Riskie” Brent is the creator of the Makaveli Don Killuminati cover painting.[55] George “Papa G” Pryce, Former Head of Publicity for Death Row, claimed that “Makaveli which we did was a sort of tongue and cheek and it was not really to come out and after Tupac was murdered, it did come out. But before that it was going to be a sort of an underground.”[56] The album peaked at number one on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and the Billboard 200.[57] The album generated the second-highest debut-week sales total of any album that year,[58] selling 664,000 copies on the first week. This album was certified 4× Platinum on June 15, 1999
Shakur’s music and philosophy is rooted in many American, African-American, and world entities, including the Black Panther Party, Black nationalism, egalitarianism, and liberty.
Shakur’s love of theater and Shakespeare also influenced his work. A student of the Baltimore School for the Arts where he studied theater, Shakur understood the Shakespearian psychology of inter-gang wars and inter-cultural conflict. During a 1995 interview, Tupac told the Pulitzer prize-winning Los Angeles Times reporter Chuck Philips:[70]
“ … I love Shakespeare. He wrote some of the rawest stories, man. I mean look at Romeo and Juliet. That’s some serious ghetto shit. You got this guy Romeo from the Bloods who falls for Juliet, a female from the Crips, and everybody in both gangs are against them. So they have to sneak out and they end up dead for nothing. Real tragic stuff.
And look how Shakespeare busts it up with Macbeth. He creates a tale about this king’s wife who convinces a happy man to chase after her and kill her husband so he can take over the country. After he commits the murder, the dude starts having delusions just like in a Scarface song. I mean the king’s wife just screws this guy’s whole life up for nothing…”.[70]

Chuck Philips made his recorded 1995 and 1993[71] interviews with Tupac available at chuckphilipspost.com on September 13, 2012, the 16th anniversary of Tupac’s death.[72] In a European interview[73][74] Philips said that what impressed him the most about Tupac was that he was a poet. Philips said “I like sacred texts, myths, proverbs and scriptures. … When Tupac came along, I thought he was quite the poet… It wasn’t just how cleverly they rhymed. It wasn’t just the rhythm or the cadence. I liked their attitude. It was protest music in a way nobody had ever thought about before. …These artists were brave, wise and smart – wickedly smart. The thing about Tupac was he had so many sides. He was unafraid to write about his vulnerabilities.”[73][74]
Tupac’s debut 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 highly 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 success of such rap groups as Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy, X-Clan, and Grandmaster Flash, as he became one of the first major socially conscious rappers from the West Coast.[75]
On his second record, 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 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 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.[76]
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. Many of these tracks are considered by many critics to be classics, including “Ambitionz Az a Ridah”, “I Ain’t Mad at Cha”, “California Love”, “Life Goes On” and “Picture Me Rollin”.; All Eyez on Me was a change of style from his earlier works. While still containing socially conscious songs and themes, Shakur’s album was heavily influenced by party tracks and tended to have a more “feel good” vibe than his first albums. Shakur described it as a celebration of life, and the record was critically and commercially successful.
Shakur was a voracious reader. He was inspired by a wide variety of writers, including William Shakespeare, Niccolò Machiavelli, Donald Goines, Sun Tzu, Kurt Vonnegut, Mikhail Bakunin, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Khalil Gibran.[citation needed]
Shakur never professed following a particular religion, but his lyrics in singles such as “Only God Can Judge Me” and poems such as The Rose That Grew from Concrete suggest he believed in God. This means many analysts currently describe him as a deist.[79][80][81] He believed in Karma, but rejected a literal afterlife and organized religion.[82] Tupac has had several family members who were members of the Black Panthers; Mutulu Shakur, the step-father of Shakur, Assata Shakur, his step-aunt, Billy Garland the biological father of Tupac and Afeni Shakur his mother. Shakur publicly spoke out against interracial marriage in an interview with Source magazine in 1994,[83] but later retracted these comments

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