Tupac Shakur – The Story

Tupac Amaru Shakur was an American rap artist and actor. He has sold millions of records worldwide and has 11 platinum albums. His albums 1998’s ‘Greatest Hits’ and 1996’s ‘All Eyez on Me’ which are his bestselling albums in the US were released after Shakur’s death.

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The songs by 2Pac’s typically had themes of varied social problems like racism and hardship and violence in inner cities, etc. Tupac was shot multiple times at an intersection in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 7, 1996. He died 6 days later at Southern Nevada’s University Medical Center. The murder case of Tupac still remains unsolved, though it is believed one Orlando Anderson was behind it .

A biopic named All Eyez on Me was released in June 2017. It stars Demetrius Shipp Jr. in the lead role and is directed by Benny Boom.

Early Life

Shakur was born as Lesane Parish Crooks on 16th June 1971 in Manhattan’s East Harlem area in NYC to Billy Garland and Afeni Shakur. Both were Black Panther Party members and active in NY in the 60s and 70s. Afeni was in jail on conspiracy charges when pregnant with Tupac and was acquitted and released just a month before his birth. In 1972, his mother renamed him as Túpac Amaru after Peruvian revolutionary of 18th century. Tupac got his last name from Mutulu Shakur his stepfather.

At age 12, Shakur enrolled at the 127th Street Repertory Ensemble of Harlem and performed in the play ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ as the Travis character. The family moved to Baltimore, Maryland in 1986 where he attended the Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. He then studied poetry, acting, ballet, and jazz at the Baltimore School for the Arts.

The family again moved in 1988 to Marin City, California. He then did his schooling at Mill Valley’s Tamalpais High School. It was here that Afeni became a crack addict and Tupac became a drug dealer, selling crack on the streets of Marin City.

In 1989, he started attending Leila Steinberg’s poetry classes. This steered him away from crime and towards his love for music. He convinced Steinberg to become his manager who then arranged a meeting with Atron Gregory. He subsequently got work as a dancer and roadie for hip-hop music group ‘Digital Underground.’

Career

After his stint with Digital Underground, Tupac recorded the song ‘Same Song’ in 1991. It was a part of the soundtrack of the movie ‘Nothing but Trouble.’ He also worked with Digital Underground on their album ‘Sons of the P.’ Later, Atron Gregory became Shakur’s manager and got him a deal with record company ‘Interscope Records.’ He then became a solo artist, changed spelling of his name to 2Pac, and released the album ‘2Pacalypse Now.’ The album had no major hits, but did sell a good 500,000 copies and made him famous for his uncompromising commentary on varied social issues.

Shakur released his second album “Strictly 4 My Niggaz” in Feb 1993. Tupac’s third album ‘Me Against the World’ released on 14th March 1995. He was in jail during this time for sexual assault charges. The album reached number one on the Billboard 200 chart and his regarded by many critics to be one of the best works of Tupac, his magnum opus. Shakur could not pay the $1.3 million bail and hence was still in jail pending appeal. Suge Knight of Death Row records posted Shakur’s bail on the condition that Shakur signed with Death Row. After his release from jail, Tupac launched his debut double-length album for Death Row, ‘All Eyez on Me’. The first single of this album ‘California Love’ reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song remains as the most well-known song of Shakur to this date. The album’s 3rd single ‘How Do You Want It’ also became no 1 in the charts. The album was certified double-platinum 5 times before ultimately getting diamond certification.

In June 1996, the 1.76 meter tall Tupac’s song ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ was released. This “diss” track was aimed at Sean “Puffy” Combs and Biggie Smalls and was instrumental in increasing tension between the West and East coast rap.

Eight weeks after the murder-death of Tupac, his fifth album was released. Titled ‘Don Killuminati: The Seven Day Theory,’ this album also reached the number 1 position in the charts. Till now six studio albums of Tupac have been released posthumously.

Acting work

Tupac made his acting debut with a cameo in the movie Nothing but Trouble. He got his first lead role in 1992 in the movie Juice.

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  • In 1993 he starred alongside Janet Jackson in the movie Poetic Justice. In 1994, he worked in the basketball drama movie ‘Above the Rim.’
  • Three completed films starring Shakur were released posthumously. They were 1996’s Bullet, and 1997’s Gang Related, and Gridlock’d.

Legal Problems

Tupac had many legal issues during his lifetime. A few of them are listed below:

  • In 1992, jealous youths attacked Tupac in Marin City. During this incident, Tupac dropped his pistol which was picked up by someone and a gun shot was fired. The shot killed a 6-year old who was cycling there. Shakur was not charged; a civil case brought on by the child’s family was settled out of court.
  • In October 1993, Tupac shot and wounded two off-duty cops in Atlanta. Charges against Tupac were dropped after the cops were found to be drunk and responsible for inciting the incident.
  • In 1994, Shakur was jailed for 15 days for assaulting movie director Allen Hughes.
  • In Nov 1994, Shakur was shot many times at a recording studio in Manhattan by 2 black men. Shakur blamed Biggie Smalls, but no one got charged for the shooting.
  • Tupac was sent to jail for 1½ to 4½ in Feb 1995 for sexually assaulting a female fan. Shakur maintained that he had not ra*ed the girl.

Tupac Shakur – Wife, Girlfriend (Personal Life)

  • Shakur has a half-sister named Sekyiwa who is 2 years younger than him. Musician ‘Mopreme “Komani” Shakur’ is his step brother.
  • Shakur was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 7th April 2017.
  • His style of bandana tied into shape of rabbit ears is regarded as one of the most iconic styles in the hip-hop field.
  • On 4th April 1995, while serving prison sentence, Tupac got married to Keisha Morris his long time girlfriend. They divorced in 1996.
  • He was engaged to Quincy Jones’ daughter, Kidada Jones.

Tupac with wife Keisha Morris
Tupac Shakur with Kidada Jones

Death

On September 7, 1996,  Tupac Shakur was  shot fatally by a someone from a speeding vehicle. The incident happened at around 11.15 PM when Shakur’s car stopped at a traffic signal at East Flamingo Road.  He was shot in a series of four rounds by a Glock, two in the chest, one in the thigh and one in the arm. He was hospitalized and died from gunshot injuries six days later at the University Medical Center, Southern Nevada.  In a 2015 documentary called  ‘Murder Rap’ ex -LAPD detective Gred Kading said that Orlando Anderson, a member of the Crips Gang,was the one who shot Shakur. It had to do with the fight Shakur had with Anderson at the MGM Grand Casino, a few hours earlier, before he was fatally shot.

Tupac Shakur – Net Worth

Tupac’s net worth is estimated to be about $40 million. His albums continue to yield earnings. His estate earnings were estimated to be about $9 million in 2007.

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