ARTIST PROFILE

Tupac Shakur

Name: Tupac Shakur

Birthday: June 16, 1971

Fav Dish: Fried Chicken Wings

Tupac Amaru Shakurborn Lesane Parish Crooks; June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. As of 2007, Shakur has sold over 75 million records worldwide. His double disc albums All Eyez on Me and his Greatest Hits are among the best selling albums in the United States. He has been listed and ranked as one of the greatest artists of all time by many magazines, including Rolling Stone which ranked him 86th on its list of The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
He is consistently ranked as one of the greatest rappers ever, as well as one of the most influential rappers 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.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 people in 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 during the 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 the label Bad Boy Records.

On September 7, 1996, Shakur was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, where he died six days later

Shakur started recording in 1987 but his 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. 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.” Shakur stated that he felt he had been misunderstood.

He said, “I started out saying I was down for the young black male, you know, and that was gonna be my thang,” Shakur 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.” The record was important in showcasing Shakur’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 Shakur’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”.

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 at number 24 on the Billboard 200. The album contains many tracks emphasizing Shakur’s political and social views. This album had more commercial success than its predecessor, and there were noticeable differences in production. While Shakur’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 is his tenth-biggest selling album, with 1,366,000 units moved as of 2004.

On the night of September 7, 1996, Shakur attended the Bruce Seldon vs. Mike Tyson boxing match with Suge Knight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. After leaving the match, one of Knight’s associates spotted Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, an alleged Crips gang member from Compton, California, in the MGM Grand lobby. Earlier that year, Anderson and a group of Crips had robbed a member of Death Row’s entourage in a Foot Locker store. Knight’s associate told Shakur, who attacked Anderson. Shakur’s entourage, as well as Knight and his followers, assisted in assaulting Anderson. The fight was captured on the hotel’s video surveillance. After the brawl, Shakur went with Knight to Death Row-owned Club 662 (now known as restaurant/club Seven). Shakur rode in Knight’s 1996 black BMW 750iL sedan as part of a larger convoy, which included many in Shakur’s entourage.

BET named 2Pac ‘The Most Influential Rappers of All Time’. They then went on to say “his confounding mixture of ladies’ man, thug, revolutionary and poet has forever altered our perception of what a rapper should look like, sound like and act like. In 50 Cent, Ja Rule, Lil Wayne, newcomers like Freddie Gibbs and even his friend-turned-rival Biggie, it’s easy to see that Pac is the most copied MC of all time.

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