Tupac's Voice of Creativity

Tupac Amaru Shakur

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".

Born in jail and raised in Oakland, Calif. by a former member of the Black Panthers, Tupac began his career as a back up dancer for Digital Underground, a Northern California rap group best known for their P-Funk inspired sex songs. Soon, the charismatic Tupac began rapping in the group and left to pursue a solo career. His brilliant 1991 debut, 2Pacalypse Now, featuring "Brenda's Having A Baby," was released to parental uproar, threats of censorship and a slew of controversies. The shooting of a Texas police officer to his music and a public admonishment by Vice President Dan Quayle, quickly made Tupac the most controversial rapper in hip-hop. The album set the tone for Tupac's soon-to-be platinum formula: a mix of hardcore, gun toting, misogynist, Thug Life anthems, and a tender, caring, troubled side that exposed the light side of Tupac's darker image. He also began a successful acting career with the equally controversial film Juice, a movie that opened to gunfire in theaters and censorship of the movie poster. Tupac followed up his debut with the powerful Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., a hardcore masterpiece that responded to the controversies surrounding him and featured appearances by the other two most controversial West Coast rappers, Ice-T and Ice Cube. It also spawned two breakthrough singles "Keep Ya Head Up" and "I Get Around." Tupac also starred in the Janet Jackson vehicle Poetic Justice, another glimpse into the vulnerable side of this multi-faceted artist and Above The Rim, a basketball movie with a soundtrack produced by former N.W.A. rapper, and current A-list rap producer Dr. Dre. However, a slew of controversy ensued when Tupac was arrested in a variety of incidents including an assault and a rape charge, and was shot and wounded while recording tracks in the studio. Tupac recorded his next record, Me Against The World, for Dre's Death Row Records, but found himself in prison when it was released. Featuring the hit single "Dear Mama," Me Against The World was a moodier, more introspective album, finding Tupac looking and sounding less like a thug and more like the sensitive man he claimed to have become. Once out of prison, the freshly energized rapper spent months in the studio recording his double album opus, the first of its kind in hip-hop, All Eyez On Me , which featured a duet with Dr. Dre titled "California Love" and guest turns by Snoop Doggy Dogg, George Clinton, Roger Troutman and Method Man. He also managed to shoot two more films (Gridlock'd and Gang Related), make numerous guest appearances on other rappers' records and record a pseudo-follow up entitled The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory before he was gunned down in Las Vegas in 1996. He death was a major blow to the rap community and heated up the already steaming East vs. West rivalry. Many people believed his death was orchestrated by rival label Bad Boy and their main players Sean "Puffy" Combs and rapper Notorious B.I.G., who was later gunned down himself in Los Angeles. These theories remained rumors in the already legendary, iconoclastic story of Tupac Shakur.

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