Sept. 13, 1996, was a somber day when the music industry was at a standstill after the death of Hip-Hop legend Tupac Shakur was killed at the age of 25 in a drive by shooting in Las Vegas. During his controversial five year career, his compelling lyricism with his poetic narrations of life of the streets and his anger with the treatment of young black males paralleled and made people take notice.
As the seed of a Black Panther family, knowledge was the ultimate weapon of a black man. Observing his mother, Afeni Shakur and step-father Matulu Shakur, who’s currently incarcerated, push for justice, equality and urging others to take a stance, made a profound effect on his music. His first album “2Pacalyspe Now” release in 1991 shared his philosophy on record with songs like “Brenda’s Got A Baby” and would be the target of hate from former Vice President Dan Quayle to pull his albums off the shelves for promoting violence.
His chilling portrayal as trigger happy teenager Bishop in the 1992 movie “Juice” and Lucky, a mailman and single father who is the love interest of Janet Jackson’s character Justice in John Singleton’s “Poetic Justice,” solidified Tupac as a serious actor. He would appear in an episode of “A Different World” in 1993 along his dear friend Jada Pinkett –Smith, who attended the Baltimore School of The Arts with Shakur. In 2014, the late rapper/actor will receive his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his music career.
Seventeen years later after his tragic death, his legacy still proves as powerful and fills the void in the world of music – so Tupac’s spirit is still loud. Who could forget one of the most talked about moments in music was the hologram that appeared at Coachella festival concert in 2012, performing alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre brought on full nostalgia and quite frankly, just made me miss his presence even more. The eerie appearance also sparked a resurgence in his music and videos.
In 2004, earned the title in the Guinness World Records for bring the highest-selling rapper of all time, selling more than 67 million albums worldwide at the time; currently it’s 165 million worldwide and 43 million in the United States alone.
In dedication to one of the influential rappers to ever grace the microphone, here are some facts about Tupac Amaru Shakur:
• Originally named Lasane Parish Crooks on June 16, 1971, by mother Afeni, who feared he would be harmed because of her affiliation with the Black Panther Party.
• The Tupac Amaru Shakur School of the Arts located in Atlanta.
• Recorded five albums while alive “2Pacalypse Now,” “Strictly for my N.I.G.G.A.Z,” “Me Against The World,” “All Eyes On Me,” and “Makaveli,” and 6 posthumous albums released.
• Has a wax figure at Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas.
• Was the first artist to have a No. 1 album “Me Against The World” while incarcerated.
• Joined Oakland, California based group Digital Underground, known for their hit song “The Humpty Dance.”
• A musical “Holler If Ya Hear Me” was based on his turbulent life and career is set to hit Broadway in the 2013-14 theatre seasons.
• Listed at 86 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists list.