Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known as 2Pac, Makaveli, or Pac was an iconic American Rapper, Actor, and Social Activist. Shakur’s image as a Thug, and his Thug-Life persona, appealed to fans across the nation and around the world. He is one of the best selling music artists worldwide, and considered as one of the best and the most influential Rap Artist ever. Tupac’s life was unfortunately cut short, after he was shot to death in 1996, at the age of 25, but his legacy lives on to this day. 2Pac was born on June 16, 1971 in East Harlem section of Manhattan, in New York City. His mother is Afeni Shakur, who was an active member of the Blank Panther Party in the late sixties and seventies, and his biological father is Billy Garland, who also was a Black Panther member. Tupac was born a month after his mom was acquitted on more than 150 charges, which were charges against the U.S. government by the Panthers. His mother put his birth name as Lesane Parish Crooks, to disguise his true identity, because she feared that her enemies would attack her son. However, in 1972 after Afeni had separated from Garland, and had married Mutulu Shakur (2Pac’s Step-Father), she renamed 2Pac, Tupac Amaru Shakur, after an Incan ruler who was sentenced to death by the Spaniards, the name Tupac Amaru means, Shining Serpent, in the Inca language. Shakur had a half-sister, Sekyiwa, who was two years younger than him, and an older stepbrother, Mopreme Shakur, who appeared on many of his recordings. 2Pac was surrounded by struggle, incarceration, murder, and more illegal activities from an early age. His mother had ties to drugs, his stepfather was wanted by the FBI, his godfather was convicted of murder and more. When he was twelve years old his mother enrolled him in Harlem’s 127th Street Repertory Ensemble, where he started learning and practicing acting. In 1986, the family moved to Baltimore, Maryland. At Baltimore he completed two years at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, and then transferred to the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he studied acting, jazz, poetry and ballet. Pac used to have rap competitions with school mates and friends, and would always win. And even though he did not have flashy, trendy clothes, he was very popular because of his personality, good sense of humor, rapping skills, and his ability to mix in with a variety of crowds. During those years, Pac also developed a close relationship with Jada Pinkett Smith, and there relationship lasted until his death. In June 1988, the Shakur family moved yet again, this time to Marin City, California. Here 2Pac attended Tamalpais High School. In 1989 Shakur started to take poetry classes of Leila Steinberg. Steinberg organized a concert for Tupac, and a former group of his called Strictly Dope. This concert led to Tupac being signed, and becoming set up with the rap group Digital Underground. In 1990 Pac was hired as the group’s roadie, and back up dancer. From then on, Pac’s rapping career began. His skills were first debuted in 1991, as Pac had vocal turns in popular songs by Digital Underground. He began to rap with the group, and he was in their music videos. Then Pac decided to go solo. Later in 1991, he released his first solo album, 2Pacalypse Now. His debut album did not sell too well at first, because of marketing troubles, until Interscope Records started to sell his record. In 1993, Pac released his second record, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. This record did better than the first, with hit songs like “Keep Ya Head Up” and “I Get Around” which featured members of Digital Underground. Later that year 2Pac formed the group Thug Life, with his friends, and he considered the concept of Thug Life as a philosophy of life. As his fame as a rapper started, Tupac’s troubles with the authority also began and increased. In late 1991, Pac had tried to a file a ten million dollar civil suit against Oakland Police Department, claiming that he was brutally beaten for jaywalking. More problems followed. In 1992, a Texas trooper was killed by a teenager, who was listening to 2Pacalypse Now. This raised a lot of media controversy. The Vice President of the nation at the time, Dan Quayle, demanded that the album be withdrawn from music stores and the media across the nation, and denounced the album, saying it has no place in our society. However Interscope refused, and Shakur stated that his album aimed at the problems facing young black males, even though it was criticized for its images of violence towards law enforcement, and graphic language. In 1992, Tupac had an incident with people in Marin City, in which shooting was involved, this eventually led to a wrongful death suit against him in 1995, stating that his shooting killed a six year old in Marin City. Tests proved that neither Pac nor his entourage was the shooter. Criminal charges were not sought, and Tupac settled with the family of the boy with an amount between three hundred to five hundred thousand dollars. In late 1993, Pac and his friends had an altercation with two Atlanta off-duty police officers, again shooting was involved. One of the police was charged with firing at Shakur’s car, and later lying to the police during investigation, but all charges were dropped against all parties. In 1994, he was convicted of attacking a former employer while on a music video set, and was sentenced to fifteen days in jail for that. A big case against Shakur was in November 1993, when Pac and a couple of his friends were charged with sexually abusing a woman in a hotel room. The woman accused many charges against Pac and his friends, but Pac denied the charges. He claimed that he had prior relations with the woman in his hotel room, and that she revisited his hotel room, when the acts she claimed took place. He also claimed that he had fallen asleep shortly after she arrived, and he woke up to her accusations and threats. Most charges were dropped, but Pac was convicted of sexual abuse and was sentenced to one and a half years in a correctional facility. He later wrote in his songs, how he is not and can never be a rapist. As if the legal problems were not enough, 2Pac was robbed and shot on the night of November 30, 1994, the night before the verdict in his sexual abuse trial was to be announced. Tupac was shot five times and robbed after entering the lobby of Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan. He was shot by two armed men in army material. Doctors at the Bellevue Hospital, where he was taken immediately after the incident, stated that he had received five bullet wounds, two in the head, two in the groin and one through the arm and thigh. Tupac checked out of the hospital three hours after the surgery, against doctor’s orders. And he entered the courthouse in a wheelchair the day after, where he was found guilty for sexual abuse, and sentenced to a year and a half to four years in prison on February 6, 1995. Tupac would later accuse Sean Combs, Biggie Smalls, Andre Harrell for the shooting, he also suspected his close friend/associate, Randy “Stretch” Walker. This accusation heated the West-Coast East-Coast Rivalry.
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