Tupac Amaru Shakur (AFI: born Lesane Parish Crooks (New York, June 16, 1971-Las Vegas, September 13, 1996) also known as 2Pac, Makaveli or simply Tupac, was an American rapper and actor, considered by many to be one of the most important and influential rappers of all time. He is considered by many to be one of the most important rappers of all time, and most influential in rap history. Much of Shakur”s work has been noted for addressing the social problems that plagued inner cities, for which he is also considered a symbol of resistance and activism against inequality.
Shakur was born in the Manhattan borough of New York City, but in 1988 he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Later, around 1993, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his music career. Initially, Shakur toured and was a backup dancer for the alternative hip-hop group Digital Underground. In 1991, after releasing his first album 2Pacalypse Now, he became a central figure in West Coast hip hop, introducing social issues into the genre at a time when gangsta rap was mainstream. Shakur achieved greater commercial and critical success with his next albums: Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.G.A.Z…. (1993) and his critically acclaimed Me Against the World (1995), which has been regarded as his masterpiece.
In late 1995, after being convicted of sexual abuse and being the victim of a robbery and shooting, Shakur became heavily involved in the growing rivalry between East Coast and West Coast hip hop. His double album All Eyez on Me (1996) was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). On September 7, 1996, Shakur was shot four times by an unknown assailant at a drive-by in Las Vegas; he died six days later and the shooter was never caught. The Notorious B.I.G., Shakur”s friend and later, his greatest rival, was initially considered a suspect, but was also killed in another drive-by several months later. Since his death, five posthumous albums have been released, all of them certified platinum.
Shakur is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 75 million records worldwide. In 2002 he was inducted into the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame. In 2017 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during his first year of eligibility. In addition, Rolling Stone magazine included Shakur in its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time, ranking 86th.
Outside of music, Shakur had considerable success as an actor, with his starring roles as Bishop in Juice (1992), Lucky in Poetic Justice (1993), where he starred opposite Janet Jackson, Ezekiel in Gridlock”d (all of which garnered critical acclaim).
Tupac Amaru Shakur was born on June 16, 1971, in East Harlem, Manhattan, N.Y. Although he was born Lesane Parish Crooks, he was renamed at the age of one in honor of Tupac Amaru II – descendant of the last Inca ruler, Tupac Amaru – who was executed in Peru in 1781 after his failed revolt against Spanish rule.
Shakur”s mother explained, “I wanted him to be named after a revolutionary from the indigenous peoples of the world. I wanted him to know that he was part of the world culture and not just a neighborhood.” Shakur had an older stepbrother, Mopreme Komani Shakur, and a half-sister, Sekyiwa, two years his junior. His parents, Afeni Shakur – born Alice Faye Williams in North Carolina – and his biological father, Billy Garland, had been active members of the Black Panther Party in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
A month before Shakur”s birth, his mother was tried in New York City as part of the criminal trial against the 21 Panthers. She was acquitted of more than 150 charges, in short: “Conspiracy against the United States government and monuments in New York.” Other family members who were more involved in the Black Panther Black Liberation Army were convicted of felonies and imprisoned.
Shakur”s godfather, Elmer Geronimo Pratt, who was a high-ranking Panther, was convicted of murdering a schoolteacher during a robbery in 1968, although his conviction was overturned. In 1982, his stepfather Mutulu Shakur spent four years among the FBI”s ten most wanted fugitives for helping Tupac”s aunt and godmother, Assata Shakur, escape from New Jersey prison in 1979. After being captured in 1986, Mutulu was convicted and imprisoned for the 1981 robbery of a Brinks armored truck, during which two police officers and a guard were killed.
In 1984, Shakur”s family moved from New York to Baltimore, Maryland. He attended eighth grade at Roland Park High School, then two years at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. After transferring to the Baltimore School of the Arts, he studied acting, poetry, jazz, and ballet. He performed in Shakespeare”s plays-he would later recall that they depict timeless themes, now seen in gang wars-and played the role of the Mouse King in the ballet The Nutcracker. With his friend Dana Mouse Smith as a beatboxer, he won contests for best rapper in school. His trademark humor allowed him to blend in with all the crowds, and as a teenager he listened to musicians like Kate Bush, Culture Club, Sinéad O”Connor and U2.
At Baltimore High School of the Arts, Shakur befriended Jada Pinkett, who would become the inspiration for some of his poems. After his death, she would say that Shakur was “one of my best friends. He was like a brother. It went beyond our friendship. The kind of relationship we had, you only get once in a lifetime.” Coming into contact with the Communist Youth League of America in Baltimore, Shakur dated the daughter of the director of the local headquarters of the Communist Party USA. In 1988, Shakur moved to Marin City, California, a small, impoverished community about five miles north of San Francisco, and in nearby Mill Valley, he attended Tamalpais High School, where he performed in several theatrical productions.
In his adulthood, Shakur continued to form friendships with people from diverse backgrounds; his friends ranged from Mike Tyson to Alanis Morissette, who in April 1996 said that she and Shakur planned to open a restaurant together. In April 1995, at the beginning of his prison sentence, Shakur married his then longtime girlfriend Keisha Morris. The marriage officially ended in March 1996. For the four months before his death, Shakur lived with his girlfriend Kidada Jones, daughter of record producer Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton.
Shakur”s growing success at the time led fashion designers such as Gianni Versace to take notice. In 1995, Versace personally invited him to walk in his fall show.
In 1994, Shakur had spoken out against interracial marriage – the reason he allegedly broke off his relationship with Madonna, which lasted from 1994 to 1995 – but he retracted these comments, as Kidada herself was born out of an interracial marriage, and it was she who accompanied him during his death. It was she who accompanied him during his death. Some of Shakur”s song lyrics suggest a belief in a god. Apparently he did not believe in Heaven and Hell as depicted, perhaps he believed in karma.
In January 1991, Shakur made his national debut as a rapper under the stage name 2Pac, guesting on the single “Same Song” by rap group Digital Underground; a track that also appeared on the soundtrack of the February 1991 film Nothing but Trouble.
2Pac”s first two solo albums, November 1991”s 2Pacalypse Now and February 1993”s Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.G.A.Z…, preceded his side group”s only eponymous album, Thug Life, released in September 1994 with his own participation. Rapper and producer Stretch participated in 2Pac”s three previous albums.
His third solo album, March 1995”s Me Against the World, features the rap group Dramacydal, which on 2pac”s fourth solo album would morph into Outlawz. 2Pac”s fourth and final solo album, February 1996”s All Eyez on Me, also features, among its many guests, Thug Life member Big Syke.
However, another solo album was already finished: The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. Released in November 1996 under the stage name Makaveli, it is a studio album that was recorded during one week in August.
Los álbumes póstumos, todos ellos producciones de archivo, son los siguientes: RU Still Down? (1997), Greatest Hits (1998), Still I Rise (1999), Before the End of Time (2001), Better Dayz (2002), Loyal to the Game (2004), Pac”s Life (2006).
Shakur began recording in 1989 using the stage name MC New York. That same year he began attending poetry classes with Leila Steinberg, who soon became the budding recording artist”s manager.
Steinberg organized a concert with Shakur”s rap group, Strictly Dope, and got the young rapper to sign with Atron Gregory, a representative of the rap group Digital Underground. In 1990, Gregory introduced Shakur to Underground as a roadie and backup dancer.
He debuted under the stage name 2Pac on the group”s January 1991 single “Same Song,” which headlined the group”s EP released that same month under the title This Is an EP Release, and on which 2Pac had a music video appearance. The track was also included on the soundtrack of the February 1991 film Nothing but Trouble, starring Dan Akroyd, John Candy, Chevy Chase and Demi Moore.
Rising star: 1992-1993
2Pac”s debut album, 2Pacalypse Now – an allusion to the 1979 film Apocalypse Now – released in November 1991, had three singles. Prominent rappers such as Nas, Eminem, Game and Talib Kweli cite it as a source of inspiration. In addition to “If My Homie Calls,” the singles “Trapped” and “Brenda”s Got a Baby” poetically describe individual struggles in socioeconomic inequality. But when a Texas defense attorney with a young client who had shot a state trooper reasoned that the defendant had been listening to the album, which alludes to police brutality, controversy erupted.
The then Vice President of the United States, Dan Quayle, reacted in part: “There”s no reason for a record like this to be released. It has no place in our society.” Shakur, finding himself misunderstood, explained, in part: “I just wanted to rap about things that affected young black men. When I said that, I didn”t know that I would be tied to taking all the hard hits aimed at young black men, that I would be the focus of media attacks on young black men.” In any case, 2Pacalypse Now received Gold certification with half a million copies sold. In all, the album sits well with socially conscious rap, addressing urban black concerns, which were still prevalent in rap at the time.
2Pac”s second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.G.A.Z…, arrived in February 1993; a critical and commercial breakthrough, it debuted at #24 on the pop albums chart of the Billboard 200. Being more acerbic overall, it emphasizes Shakur”s sociopolitical views and has a metallic production quality; in fact it features Ice Cube, the famed lead creator of N.W.A.”s “Fuck tha Police”, who on his own solo albums had become militantly political, and Los Angeles gangsta rapper Ice-T, who in June 1992 had stirred controversy with the track “Cop Killer” from his heavy metal band Body Count.
In fact, on its vinyl release, side A, tracks 1 through 8, is labeled as “Black Side” , while side B, tracks 9 through 16, as “Dark Side” . However, the album contains the single “I Get Around”, a party anthem featuring Digital Underground members Shock G and Money-B, which would represent 2Pac”s popular breakthrough; reaching #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart. It also carries the upbeat compassion of another hit, “Keep Ya Head Up”, encouraging women. This album would go platinum with one million copies sold and, as of 2004, the Strictly album would rank 10th in sales among 2Pac albums, including posthumous and compilation albums, with around 1,366,000 copies.
In late 1993, Shakur formed the group Thug Life with Tyrus Big Syke Himes, Diron Macadoshis Rivers, his half-brother Mopreme Shakur, and Walter Rated R Burns. Thug Life released a single album, Thug Life: Volume 1, on October 11, 1994, and was certified gold, including the single “Pour Out a Little Liquor”, produced by Johnny J Jackson, who would also produce much of Shakur”s All Eyez on Me album. Usually, Thug Life performed live without Shakur. The song “Pour Out a Little Liquor” also appears on the soundtrack of the 1994 film Above the Rim. But due to heavy criticism of gangsta rap at the time, the original version of the album was scrapped and the album was remade with mostly new tracks. Still, along with Stretch, Shakur would perform the first planned single, “Out on Bail” – which was never released – at the 1994 Source Awards.
2Pac”s third album, which arrived in March 1995 as Me Against the World, is now hailed as his masterpiece and commonly ranks among the best and most influential rap albums. The album sold 240,000 copies in its first week, setting a first-week sales record for a solo rapper. The first single, “Dear Mama,” which arrived in February with the B-side “Old School,” was the album”s most successful single, topping Billboard”s Hot Rap Singles chart and peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart. In July, it was certified platinum and ranked #51 on the year-end charts. The second single, “So Many Tears,” released in June, reached No. 6 on the Hot Rap Singles chart and No. 44 on the Hot 100. August brought the latest single, “Temptations,” reaching No. 68 on the Hot 100, No. 35 on the Hot R&B charts.
Shakur said he barely wrote a song while incarcerated from February to October 1995. Instead, he devoted himself to political theorist Niccolo Machiavelli”s treatise The Prince and military strategist Sun Tzu”s The Art of War. His wife Keisha Morris contacted Suge Knight of Death Row Records on his behalf to inform him that the rapper, who was in a difficult financial situation, was in need of help, as his mother was about to lose her home. In August, after sending him $15,000, Suge began visiting Shakur in prison. In one of his letters to Nina Bhadreshwar, who had recently been hired to edit a planned magazine – Death Row Uncut – Shakur told her of his plans to start a “new chapter. Finally, music journalist Kevin Powell said that Shakur, once released, was more aggressive, “he seemed like a completely transformed person.
2Pac”s fourth album, All Eyez on Me, was released on February 13, 1996. Comprised of two discs, it was essentially the first double rap album – bringing together two of the three albums that were to be on Shakur”s contract with Death Row – and included five singles, while perhaps marking the peak of 1990s rap. With outstanding production, the album had more party tracks and often a triumphant tone. It was 2Pac”s second album to reach No. 1 on both the Top R&B chart.
Shakur”s fifth and final studio album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, commonly referred to as The 7 Day Theory, was released under a new stage name, Makaveli. This album was created in a total time of seven days during August 1996. The lyrics were written and recorded in three days, and the mixing took another four days. In 2005, MTV. com ranked The 7 Day Theory at number 9 among the best hip hop albums of all time, Its unique intensity, through pain and anger, contemplation and revenge, resonates with many fans. But according to George Papa G Pryce, then director of public relations for Death Row Records, the album was meant to be “underground” and “wasn”t really going to come out,” but eventually “came out after Tupac was killed.” It reached the number 1 spot on both the Top R&B chart.
Shakur”s first film appearance was in 1991, in a Digital Underground cameo in the movie Nothing but Trouble. However, in 1992, he starred in Juice playing Roland Bishop, a violent gang member who, according to Rolling Stone”s Peter Travers, was “the most magnetic figure in the film.”
Later, in 1993, Shakur starred opposite Janet Jackson in John Singleton”s romantic film Poetic Justice, and then played another gangster, Birdie, in Above the Rim. Shortly after Shakur”s death, three more films starring him were released: Bullet (1996), Gridlock”d (1997) and Gang Related (1997).
Director Allen Hughes had cast Shakur to play the role of Sharif in the 1993 film Menace II Society, but replaced him once Shakur assaulted him on set. However, in 2013, Hughes estimated that Shakur would have overshadowed the other actors, “because he was more popular than the movie.” On the other hand, director John Singleton had originally intended Shakur for the lead role in his eventual 2001 film Baby Boy, but he ended up being played by Tyrese Gibson. Ultimately, the set design features a mural of Shakur in the protagonist”s bedroom, and the film”s soundtrack includes the song “Hail Mary” by 2Pac.
In October 1991, Shakur filed a $10 million lawsuit against the Oakland Police Department for allegedly brutalizing him after jaywalking. The case was settled for about $43,000. However, thereafter, he would be involved in a series of cases in which he was accused of inflicting harm.
Shots fired at Qa”id Walker-Teal
On August 22, 1992, Shakur performed at an outdoor festival in Marin City. About an hour later, he signed autographs and posed for photos.
Allegedly, once the conflict broke out, Shakur pulled out and dropped a legally carried Colt Mustang, but someone with him picked it up and accidentally shot it; about 100 to 90 meters away, Qa”id Walker-Teal, a 6-year-old boy, was fatally shot in the forehead while riding his bicycle in a schoolyard.
Police found a match between the bullet and a .38-caliber pistol registered to Shakur. His half-brother Maurice Harding was arrested, but no charges were filed, as a lack of witnesses hindered the prosecution. In 1995, Qa”id”s mother filed a wrongful death suit against Shakur, and it was settled for between $300,000 and $500,000.
Shootout with two police officers
In October 1993, in Atlanta, brothers Mark Whitwell and Scott Whitwell, both off-duty police officers, were out celebrating with their wives after one of them passed the state bar exam. The officers, possibly intoxicated, crossed the street as a vehicle carrying Shakur was passing and allegedly almost ran them over…. The Whitwells, who were later found to have stolen their guns, argued with the occupants of the vehicle, and were soon joined by a second vehicle. Eventually, Shakur shot one officer in his buttocks and the other in a leg, back or abdomen. Shakur was charged with the shootings, and Mark Whitwell was charged with shooting at Shakur”s car and lying in the investigation. Prosecutors dropped all charges against the parties.
On April 5, 1993, Shakur was charged with felony assault for allegedly throwing a microphone and attempting to hit rapper Chauncey Wynn of the group M.A.D. with a baseball bat during a concert at Michigan State University. On September 14, 1994, Shakur pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to 30 days in jail; 20 days were suspended and he was sentenced to 35 hours of community service.
Shakur was to star as Sharif in the Hughes brothers” 1993 film Menace II Society, but was replaced by actor Vonte Sweet after he allegedly assaulted Allen Hughes, one of its directors. In early 1994, Shakur served 15 days in jail once he was convicted of assault. The prosecution”s evidence included an interview from Yo! MTV Raps where Shakur brags about “punching the director of Menace II Society.”
Conviction for sexual assault
In November 1993, Shakur and three other men were charged in New York with sexually assaulting a woman in her hotel room. The woman, Ayanna Jackson, alleged that after performing consensual oral sex on Shakur in her hotel room, she returned a day later, only to be raped by him and other men. During an interview on The Arsenio Hall Show, Shakur said he was hurt that “a woman accused me of taking something from her.”
On December 1, 1994, denying that he himself had raped her, Shakur was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse, but was acquitted of the associated charges of sodomy and carrying a weapon. In February 1995, he was sentenced to eighteen months to four and a half years in prison by a judge who alleged that it was “an act of brutal violence against a defenseless woman.” On October 12, 1995, pending judicial appeal, Shakur was released from the Clinton Correctional Center once Suge Knight, CEO of Death Row Records, agreed to pay his US$1. 4 million bail. 4 million. On April 5, 1996, Shakur was sentenced to 120 days in jail for violating his release terms after failing to show up for a road-clearing job. But on June 8, his sentence was deferred pending appeals in other cases.
In 1991, 2Pac debuted on the new Interscope Records label, which knew little about rap. Until that year, it was Ruthless Records, the label formed in 1986 in Compton, Los Angeles County, that had prioritized rap, and its group N.W.A. had taken gangsta rap to platinum sales. But N.W.A.”s outrageously violent lyrics prevented N.W.A., On the other hand, New York City”s Profile Records label, also specializing in rap, had a pop breakthrough in 1986: Run-D.M.C.”s “Walk This Way.” In April 1991, N.W.A. disbanded via Dre, who had been a major player in the rap scene. In April 1991, N.W.A. was dissolved by Dre, who after his departure founded Death Row Records with Suge Knight in the city of Los Angeles. With its first two albums, Death Row became the first record label that, in addition to prioritizing rap, regularly released pop hits within the genre.
Dre”s The Chronic album released by Death Row in late 1992-with its “Nuthin” but a ”G” Thang” ubiquitous on pop radio and “Let Me Ride” winning a Grammy-was followed by Snoop Dogg”s Doggystyle in late 1993. Nothing less than gangsta rap propelled the West Coast ahead of New York on the central rap scene for the first time. Meanwhile, in 1993, Andre Harrell of Uptown Records in New York, fired his star A&R man, Sean Puff Daddy Combs, later known as P. Diddy. Diddy. Puffy, while leaving behind his high-profile projects, Jodeci and Mary J. Blige – both R&B – brought on his own new record label, Bad Boy Entertainment, up-and-coming gangsta rapper Biggie Smalls, who would soon also be known as The Notorious B.I.G. His debut album, released in late 1994 as Ready to Die, quickly returned rap”s attention to New York.
In 1988, Randy Stretch Walker along with his brother, nicknamed Majesty, and a friend, debuted with an EP as a rap group and production team, under the name Live Squad, in the borough of Queens, N.Y. During his early days with Digital Underground, Shakur met Stretch, who had appeared on a song by the group on the 1991 album Sons of the P. After becoming fast friends, Stretch and Shakur recorded and performed together often. After becoming fast friends, Shakur and Stretch recorded and performed together often. Both Stretch and Live Squad contributed tracks to 2Pac”s first two albums, first in November 1991, then in February 1993, and to 2Pac”s only side group album, September 1994”s Thug Life.
The end of the friendship between Shakur and Stretch in late 1994 shocked the New York rap scene. 2pac”s next album, released in March 1995, does not include Stretch, and the subsequent February 1996 album has lines suggesting Stretch”s imminent death for treason. No objective public evidence would emerge to tangibly incriminate Stretch for shooting Shakur, who was with Stretch and two others, on November 30, 1994, at approximately 12:30 a.m. In any event, following a Live Squad production session for the Queens rapper”s second album, Nas, Stretch”s vehicle was pursued and fatally shot at about 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 30, 1995.
Between 1993 and 1994, Biggie Smalls contributed verses to several guest singles, often R&B, such as Mary J. Blige”s “What”s the 411? Remix” by Mary J. Blige, creating great expectations for his debut album. The perfectionism of Puffy, who was still forming his Bad Boy label, extended the recording to 18 months. In 1993, when visiting Los Angeles, Biggie asked a local drug dealer to introduce him to Shakur, who then hosted him and his friends at his home, treating them to food, marijuana and entertainment. Biggie would stay at Shakur”s house during his subsequent visits to Los Angeles, and when Shakur went to New York, he would visit Brooklyn and spend time with Biggie and his circle.
During this period, Shakur would invite Biggie on stage during his live shows to rap with him and Stretch. They recorded the songs “Runnin” from the Police” and “House of Pain” together. Biggie reportedly asked Shakur to represent him, but Shakur advised him that Puffy would make him a star. Meanwhile, Shakur”s lifestyle was comparatively lavish, while Biggie seemed to keep wearing the same pair of boots for perhaps a year. Shakur welcomed Biggie to join his side group Thug Life. Biggie would instead form his own side group, Junior M.A.F.F.I.A., with his Brooklyn friends Lil” Cease and Lil” Kim, in Bad Boy.
Despite the “bizarre” episode of Stretch”s shooting death, there is a theory that incriminates Ronald Tenad Washington as the perpetrator of this and the 2002 murder of Run-D.M.C.”s Jam Master Jay. According to the unverified theory, Kenneth Supreme McGriff allegedly punished the rap mentor for recording 50 Cent – despite being banned from doing so – after the young rapper”s 1999 song “Ghetto Qu”ran” mentioned the activities of Supreme”s Queens drug gang, known as “Supreme Team.” Supreme was rather friendly with Irv Gotti, co-founder of Murder Inc Records, whose rapper Ja Rule would go on to vie for a place among New York rappers after Biggie”s death in a shooting in Los Angeles in March 1997.
According to some accounts, the role of Birdie, played by Shakur in the 1994 film Above the Rim, had been inspired by New York underworld thug Jacques Haitian Jack Agnant, a rapper”s manager and promoter. Shakur reportedly met him at a Queens nightclub, where, noticing him among women and champagne, Shakur asked for an introduction. Biggie reportedly advised Shakur to avoid him, but Shakur ignored the warning.
In November 1993, Shakur was visited by a woman in his Manhattan hotel room. Shortly thereafter, the woman alleged that she had been sexually assaulted by him and three other men at the venue: his tour manager, Charles Fuller, 24, one Ricardo Brown, 30, and one “Nigel,” who would later be over-understood as Haitian Jack. In November 1994, Jack”s case was cleared and closed with a misdemeanor plea of no jail time. In 2007, he would be deported for shooting someone. However, in November 1994, A. J. Benza, reported in the New York Daily News that Shakur had spoken of Jack in unfriendly terms.
Through Haitian Jack, Shakur met James Jimmy Henchman Rosemond, another formidable underworld figure who became a music manager. Bryce Wilson”s group Groove Theory was one of his first clients. The Game and Gucci Mane were later clients. In 1994, a lesser-known client, signed to Uptown Records, was rapper Little Shawn, a friend of Biggie and Lil” Cease. Eventually, Jack and Henchman would fight allegedly shooting each other in Miami. Henchman would be sentenced to life in prison for his massive drug ring. But allegedly, in the early 1990s, Jack and Henchman shared interests, including a specialty in robbing and extorting music artists.
On November 29, 1994, Shakur was in New York City recording verses for a mixtape by Ron G. He was distracted several times by calls from music manager James Jimmy Henchman Rosemond, who had allegedly offered him $7,000 to stop by Quad Studios in Times Square that night and record a verse for his client Little Shawn. Shakur was suspicious, but because he needed money to offset his mounting legal costs, he accepted the job. Upon arriving in the studio lobby with Stretch and one or two other subjects, three men initiated an armed robbery and Shakur was shot after resisting. After the incident, Shakur speculated that the main motive for the robbery was to shoot him.
Three hours after surgery, Shakur left Bellevue Hospital Center against doctor”s orders. The next day, blindfolded and in a wheelchair, he received in a Manhattan courtroom the jury”s verdict in his ongoing criminal case for the incident that occurred in his hotel room in November 1993: he was convicted of three counts of sexual abuse and acquitted of six other charges, including sodomy and carrying a weapon.
In an interview conducted by Vibe magazine in 1995, Shakur accused, among others, Sean Combs, and Biggie of masterminding or being aware of the November 1994 robbery and shooting. Vibe revealed the names of the accused. As Biggie”s entourage descended the stairs, Shakur was being carried away on a gurney as he pulled his finger out at onlookers.
In March 2008, Chuck Philips reported in the Los Angeles Times about an alleged hit ordered against Shakur. The paper retracted the article, as it was based in part on FBI documents – later found to be forgeries – supplied by a man convicted of fraud. In June 2011, Dexter Isaac, a convicted murderer incarcerated in Brooklyn, confessed that he had been one of the assailants who, on Henchman”s orders, had robbed and shot Shakur. Philips then named Isaac as one of its own anonymous sources for the retracted article.
Shakur was convinced that Stretch was aware of the impending coup. Present during its course, Stretch had shown atypical tolerance and exemption according to Shakur. But Shakur rather accused James Jimmy Henchman Rosemond of organizing the coup. Moreover, Shakur was convinced that the inner circle of the Bad Boy record label was in on it, especially its star rapper Christopher Biggie Wallace and label boss Sean Puffy Combs, who were apparently his friends.
Death Row signs Shakur
In 1995, Shakur, who was incarcerated, broke, and with his mother about to lose her home, asked his wife Keisha Morris to contact Marion Suge Knight, the head of Death Row Records in Los Angeles. Allegedly, Shakur quickly received $15,000. After a visit to the Clinton Correctional Center in upstate New York in August, Suge traveled to New York City to join Death Row”s entourage for the second annual Source Awards ceremony. Already known for his bullying tactics in the Los Angeles rap scene, Suge used his brief time on stage to primarily disparage Sean Puff Daddy Combs, head of Bad Boy Entertainment – the label then leading the New York rap scene – who routinely performed with his own artists. Before closing with a brief comment in support of Shakur, Suge invited artists seeking the spotlight to join Death Row. Eventually, Puff recalled that to avoid severe retaliation from his orbit at Bad Boy, he quickly confronted Suge, whose response-referred to Jermaine Dupri of So So Def Recordings in Atlanta-was political enough to quell the conflict.
Still, among fans, the previously fuzzy rivalry between the only two rap scenes in the U.S. had instantly exploded. And while in New York, Suge visited Uptown Records, where Puff, under the direction of founder Andre Harrell, had gotten his start in the music business through an internship. Apparently without paying Uptown, Suge obtained releases from Puff”s top recruits at the label, Jodeci, his producer DeVante Swing and Mary J. Blige, all of whom were signed to Suge”s management company. On September 24, 1995, during a party for Jermaine Dupri at Atlanta”s Platinum House nightclub, a circle of Bad Boy”s got into a heated dispute with Suge and his friend Jai Hassan-Jamal Big Jake Robles, a member of the Bloods gang and Death Row bodyguard. According to eyewitnesses, including a Fulton County sheriff who worked as a bouncer at the nightclub, Puff had gotten into a heated argument with Suge inside the club, and several minutes later, outside the club, it was Puff”s childhood friend and bodyguard, Anthony Wolf Jones, who reportedly pulled a gun on Big Jake fatally shooting him as he entered Suge”s car.
Lawyers for Puff and his bodyguard denied any involvement by their clients, while Puff added that he had not even been with his bodyguard that night. More than twenty years later, the case remains officially unsolved. However, Suge immediately and persistently blamed Puff, cementing the feud between the two bosses whose record labels dominated the two major centers of the rap genre. By the late 1990s, the growth of Southern rap in the mainstream would dispel the East-West paradigm. But, meanwhile, in October 1995 Suge again visited Shakur in prison in violation of his parole. Suge posted $1.4 million bail for Shakur, who, with the appeal of his December 1994 conviction still pending, returned to Los Angeles and joined Death Row. On June 4, 1996, 2Pac”s “Hit ”Em Up” B-side was released. In this venomous diatribe, the proclaimed “Bad Boy killer” threatened violent revenge for all the things Bad Boy – Biggie, Puffy, Junior M.A.F.F.I.A., and company – and anyone in the New York rap scene, such as rap duo Mobb Deep and rapper Chino XL, had allegedly said against him during the feud.
On the evening of September 7, 1996, Shakur was in Las Vegas, Nevada, celebrating the birthday of his business partner Tracy Danielle Robinson, and attended with Suge Knight the Bruce Seldon vs. Mike Tyson boxing match at the MGM Grand. Later, someone in his party spotted Orlando Baby Lane Anderson, an alleged member of the Southside Compton cryp, in the lobby, whom he accused of recently attempting to snatch the Death Row Records medallion chain from his neck at a mall. Hotel surveillance footage shows the resulting assault on Anderson. After the incident, Shakur stopped by his hotel room and then drove with Knight to Death Row”s nightclub, Club 662, in a black BMW 750iL sedan, part of a larger convoy.
Around 11:00 p.m., police officers on bicycles stopped the vehicle on Las Vegas Boulevard for loud music and missing license plates. The license plates were in the trunk, so they were released without being ticketed. At approximately 11:15 a.m., while stopped at a traffic light, a late-model white four-door Cadillac sedan pulled up on the right side of Knight”s vehicle, and an occupant on board quickly fired at Shakur, who was shot four times, once in the arm, once in the thigh, and twice in the chest; one of the bullets entered his right lung. The fragments struck Knight in the head. Shakur”s bodyguard, Frank Alexander, who was not in the vehicle, had been tasked, according to him, with driving the vehicle of Shakur”s girlfriend, Kidada Jones.
Shakur was taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada heavily sedated and placed on life support. Later, to avoid harmful involuntary reactions, he was placed in a barbiturate-induced coma. On the afternoon of September 13, 1996, Shakur died of internal bleeding in the intensive care unit. He was pronounced dead at 4:03 p.m. The official causes of his death were respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest associated with multiple gunshot wounds. Shakur”s body was cremated the following day. The members of Outlawz, keeping in mind a phrase from his song “Black Jesus” and unsure if the artist”s intent had a literal meaning, chose to interpret the request seriously and smoked some of the ashes from his body after mixing them with marijuana.
In 2011, through the Freedom of Information Act, FBI documents revealed its investigation of the Jewish Defense League for making death threats against Shakur and other rappers. In 2002, investigative journalist Chuck Philips reported in the Los Angeles Times, after a year”s work, that Anderson, a Southside Compton Crip who had been attacked by Suge and Shakur”s entourage at the MGM Hotel after the boxing match, had been the perpetrator of the fatal shootings; but that Las Vegas police had interviewed him only once briefly, before his death in an unrelated shooting. The 2002 Philips article also alleged the involvement of Christopher Biggie Smalls Wallace and several of New York”s criminal underworld. Both Anderson and Wallace denied involvement, while Wallace offered a confirmed alibi. Music journalist John Leland called the evidence in the New York Times “inconclusive.”
In 2007, the online rap magazine AllHipHop held a roundtable discussion where, among several New York rappers, Cormega cited the experience of his tour with New York rap duo Mobb Deep, imparting a broad assessment: “Biggie ran New York. ”Pac ran America.” In 2010, New York rapper 50 cent wrote the entry on Tupac Shakur for Rolling Stone magazine”s “100 Greatest Artists” list, where Shakur is ranked 86th, and assessed, “Every rapper who grew up in the ”90s owes something to Tupac. He didn”t sound like anyone who came before him.” Dotdash, formerly About.com, while ranking him fifth among the top rappers, notes, “Tupac Shakur is the most influential hip-hop artist of all time. Even in death, 2Pac remains a transcendent figure in rap.” For some, however, he was a “father figure” who, according to rapper YG, “makes you want to get better, on every level.”
According to music journalist Chuck Philips, the deceased artist “had helped elevate rap from a crude street fad to a complex art form, setting the stage for today”s global hip-hop phenomenon.” Philips further writes, “The murder silenced one of the most eloquent voices in modern music: a ghetto poet whose stories of urban alienation captivated young people of all races and backgrounds.” Through the many fans who perceive him as a martyr, despite the questionable nature of his behavior, Michael Eric Dyson admits that “diminishing the martyr cheapens his use.” But he adds, “Some, or even most of that criticism can be granted without damaging Tupac”s martyr status in the eyes of those who have been let down by more traditional martyrs.” Or more simply, his posthumously published writings inspired the YG rapper to go back to school and get his GED.
In 1997, Shakur”s mother founded the Shakur Family Foundation-later renamed the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, or TASF-and was launched with the stated mission “to provide training and support for students aspiring to enhance their creative talents.” TASF sponsors writing contests, charity events, a performing arts camp for teens, and undergraduate scholarships. In June 2005, TASF opened the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts, or TASCA, in Stone Mountain, Georgia, which operated until August 2015. Afeni is also the narrator of the documentary film Tupac: Resurrection, released in November 2003 and nominated for Best Documentary at the 2005 Oscar Awards. Meanwhile, Forbes ranked Tupac Shakur 10th among the highest-earning dead celebrities of 2002, and Afeni Shakur launched the Makaveli Branded Clothing line in 2003.
In late 1997, the University of California at Berkeley offered the student-led course “History 98: Tupac Shakur”s Poetry and History,” but in April 2003, Harvard University co-sponsored the symposium “All Eyez on Me: Tupac Shakur and the Search for the Modern Folk Hero. The papers presented covered his wide-ranging influence from entertainment to sociology. English scholar Mark Anthony Neal called him a “Thug Nigga Intellectual,” or “organic intellectual,” and assessed his death as a “leadership vacuum among hip-hop artists,” since this “walking contradiction” helps, Neal explained, to “make an intellectual accessible to ordinary people.” Tracing Shakur”s mythic status, Murray Forman spoke of him as an “O. G.” or “Ostensibly Gone” among fans, who have managed to “resurrect Tupac as an ethereal life force” through digital media. Music scholar Emmett Price called him a “black folk hero” and traced his character to the tricksters of American black folklore who, after abolition, evolved into the urban “bad man.” However, in Shakur”s “terrible sense of urgency,” Price instead identified a quest to “unify mind, body and spirit.”
In 2005, Death Row released the DVD, Tupac: Live at the House of Blues, their last live performance on July 4, 1996. In August 2006, an “interactive biography” by Jamal Joseph, Tupac Shakur Legacy, was released, featuring previously unpublished family photographs, intimate stories and over twenty detachable copies of his handwritten lyrics, contracts, scripts, poetry and other documents. In 2006, the posthumous album Pac”s Life was released and, like its predecessor, was among the most popular releases in the recording industry. In 2008, his estate earned around US$15 million.
In 2014, BET explained that “his confusing mix of womanizer, thug, revolutionary and poet has forever altered our perception of how a rapper should look, sound and act. Whether it”s 50 Cent, Ja Rule, Lil Wayne, newcomers like Freddie Gibbs and even Biggie, his friend-turned-rival, it”s easy to see that Pac is the most copied MC of all time. There are murals with his image on them in New York, Brazil, Sierra Leone, Bulgaria and many other places; he even has statues in Atlanta and Germany. Simply put, no other rapper has captured the world”s attention like Tupac has and continues to do.”
On April 15, 2012, rappers Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre performed alongside a 2Pac hologram at the Coachella Music Festival and performed the 2Pac songs “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” as a partially virtual trio. but Dre declined. Meanwhile, the album Greatest Hits, released in 1998 and which had dropped off the Billboard 200 pop albums chart in 2000, returned to the chart and peaked at No. 129, while other 2Pac albums and singles also made sales gains. In addition, in early 2015, the Grammy Museum opened an exhibit dedicated to Tupac Shakur.
Cinema and theater
In 2008, the play Holler If Ya Hear Me, based on Shakur”s lyrics, ran on Broadway, but lasted only six weeks among Broadway”s best-selling musicals in recent years. In December 2015, filming began in Atlanta on a Tupac biopic that had been in development since 2013: All Eyez on Me. It was released on June 16, 2017 in concept of Tupac Shakur”s 46th birthday, albeit to generally negative reviews. In August 2019, a docuseries directed by Allen Hughes, Outlaw: The Saga of Afeni and Tupac Shakur, was announced.
Awards and honors
In 2003, MTV viewers voted 2Pac as the best MC. In 2005, Vibe magazine received a user”s query on its online message boards for the “Top 10 greatest of all time. The Vibe staff, then, “ranking, averaging and expending a lot of energy”, resolved that “Tupac comes in first place”. In 2006, MTV staff ranked him second. In 2012, The Source magazine placed him fifth in its ranking of the best lyricists of all time. In 2010, Rolling Stone ranked him 86th among the “100 Greatest Artists.”
In 2007, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame placed All Eyez on Me and Me Against the World in the 90th and 170th spots in its selection of “200 Ultimate Albums”; a choice that has certainly upset some. In 2009, the Vatican added the posthumous 1998 song, “Changes,” to its online playlist and received praise. On June 23, 2010, the Library of Congress submitted “Dear Mama” to the National Recording Registry; making it the third rap song, after Grandmaster Flash and Public Enemy, to make it there.
In 2002, Tupac Shakur was inducted into the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame. Two years later, the cable music television channel, VH1, held its first Hip Hop Honors, and honorees included “2Pac, Run-DMC, DJ Hollywood, Kool Herc, KRS-One, Public Enemy, Rock Steady Crew, Sugarhill Gang.” On December 30, 2016, during his first year of eligibility, Tupac was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and on the following April 7, he was among the five inductees.
Biographical representations in film
Shakur”s life has been explored in several documentaries; each attempting to capture the many different events that took place during his short life. The most notable has been Tupac: Resurrection, released in 2003 and nominated for an Academy Award.