Tupac Shakur was born on June 16, 1971 in Harlem, New York, but he relocated to the northern California area in 1988. It was at this time that the 17 year-old boisterous young man began to become intertwined in the California rap and gang scenes.
It was also at about this time that Tupac began racking up incidences with the law. In 1991, Tupac Shakur decided to sue the Oakland Police Department for over $10 million dollars, alleging that they beat him severely during an encounter. The legacy of this wildly popular, enigmatic character is widespread, and there’s not a single genre of modern hip-hop that isn’t affected in some way by Tupac and his music.
Tupac released his first studio album, entitled “2Pacalypse Now” in 1991. Even though the recording quality of this first release was subpar, it was met with immediate acceptance and acclaim within the hip-hop community. Tupac would go on to release three more studio albums before his tragic death in 1996.
Even after his death, numerous albums with Tupac’s lyrics on them were released. These included “R U Still Down?” (1997), Better Days (2002), and “Loyal to the Game” in 2004. In fact, more Tupac albums were released after the rapper died than while he was alive! This lead many to believe that Tupac actually faked his own death and lived on in secrecy. Regardless of what you think about this conspiracy theory, the album sales certainly didn’t suffer just because Tupac died. In fact, they increased drastically.
In addition to producing dozens of hours or incredible hip-hop music, Tupac Shakur was also very active on the silver screen. His first debut was in the 1991 film titled, “Nothing but Trouble” and was followed up by more than a dozen cameos and acting parts in numerous films. The latest, 2017’s “All Eyez on Me”, featured rare archival footage of Tupac recorded twenty years before the film was released.
Tupac Shakur might be the most iconic hip-hop superstar to ever live, and his creative passion for poetry and rap music lives on even today. Those who are currently making headlines in the world of hip-hop owe their success at least in some part to the work that Tupac did during his unfortunately short life. He will always be remembered as a rapper, actor, and outspoken political skeptic who took risks and was unapologetic about their consequences.