Tupac Shakur Biography

A highly celebrated actor and rapper, the late Tupac Amaru Shakur was born Lesane Parish Crooks in Brooklyn, New York City, on June 16, 1971, to Afeni Shakur, a member of the Black Panthers. Serving jail time on bombing charges while pregnant with Tupac, she faced a possible sentence of up to three hundred years in prison, but was released one month before Tupac was born as she acted as her own attorney. About his biological father Tupac said, "I never knew where my father was or who my father was for sure." His step father Metulu, to his knowing, was a drug dealer and was on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List, whom he said was not always around to give him the discipline he needed. Impoverished during most of his childhood, Afeni took him and his half-sister Sekyiwa moving around to homeless shelters and various places around New York City. Such condition caused Tupac retained few friends and relied on writing poetry and diary entries to keep himself busy. At the age of 12 he joined a Harlem theatre group and acted as Travis in Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun." One year later, in 1984 Tupac's mother brought him and his sister to live in Baltimore, Maryland, and lived in the infamous neighborhood, Roland Park, in East Baltimore where Tupac was intensely despised because of his looks, name, and lack of trendy fashionwear of the 80s. Even so he made a few friends while staying there and attended Roland Park Middle School. The following years he spent his time studied at Paul Lawrence Dunbar High, where for his sophomore year he was accepted to the Baltimore School for the Arts. It was there where Tupac for the very first time in his life "loved his classes" and had the opportunity to study theater, ballet, and other arts.

Nurturing his love to literature from his peers, Tupac gained the respect of Baltimore kids by acting like a tough guy and tried to write his first rap there under the name "MC New York." The song was about gun control and was inspired by the killing of one of his close friends. Two years later, his mother Afeni found it difficult to get a job, which he personally assumed as a result of her active involvement in Black Panthers, that she once again moved the family to live with a family friend in Marin City, California. There Tupac soon moved in with a neighbor and started selling drugs and hustling on the street, but also made friends who helped spark his interest in rap music. He made friends with Ray Luv, and with a mutual friend named DJ Dize, with both he started a rap group called Strictly Dope. Their recordings under the name "Tupac Shakur: The Lost Tapes" were released in 2001 and was immediately followed by neighborhood performances that obviously brought Tupac the more than enough applaud to land an audition with Shock G of Digital Underground. Supported by the group' members, in 1990 he 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. In the near future, Tupac began rapping with the group before he at the end left it to pursue a solo career and released his EP "Digital Undreground" debut, after which he signed to Interscope Records and released his first solo album entitled "2Pacalypse Now" in 1991. This album quickly made Tupac the most controversial rapper in hip-hop as he got a public admonishment by Vice President Dan Quayle for his music had clearly encouraged and or caused the shooting of a Texas police officer. Moreover, the album also set the tone for the singer'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.

Even so, "2Pacalypse Now" album had quickly went gold thanks to the hit singles "Trapped" and "Brenda's Got a Baby," as well as a high-profile, seemingly self-portraying appearance Tupac did in "Juice," a hit movie that opened to gunfire in theaters and censorship of the movie poster. To support his fame, in 1993 Tupac outed his follow up album to the previous one titled "Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.," which was 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. Just like the first, this album was also very success and became a platinum, peaking at number four on the R&B charts and launching the Top Ten R&B hit singles "I Get Around" and "Keep Ya Head Up," which peaked at number 11 and 12, respectively, on the pop charts. That same year, the singer also co-stared with Janet Jackson in John Singleton's "Poetic Justice," which further increasing his celebrity, and performed in "Above The Rim," a basketball movie with a soundtrack produced by former N.W.A. rapper, and current A-list rap producer Dr. Dre. Far off the success, fame, and popularity, throughout much of 1993 and 1994 Tuapc was in and out of jail on various charges. He 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. In the midst of all this, he did able to record and release his third album "Me Against The World" (1995), which debuted at No. 1, went platinum, and established Tupac as one of the most popular and commercially successful rappers to emerge in the '90s. Thus, he was listed as the most successful gangsta rapper in 'The Guinness Book Of World Records'.

Released from the prison, he signed to Death Row Records and spent months in the studio recording his double album opus, the first of its kind in rap, "All Eyez On Me" (1996). This was Tupac's fourth solo album, in which contained his duet with Dr. Dre titled "California Love" and guest turns by Snoop Doggy Dogg, George Clinton, Roger Troutman and Method Man. This album, too, became a hit and sold for more than six million copies. Out of his spotted life, Tupac had ever dated Jada Pinkett Smith, engaged to Kidada Jones, and married with Keisha Morris on April 29, 1995, but annuled it in 1996. Back to his music career, Tupac began devoting more time to his acting career, starring in the films Bullet, Gridlock'd, and Gang Related. Besides, he also made numerous guest appearances on other rappers' records and recorded a pseudo-follow up entitled "The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory" before he was gunned down in Las Vegas in 1996. It was on September 7, 1996, at the peak of his career, Tupac was shot by unknown muggers while riding in a car in Las Vegas and died six days later (Friday September 13th) in a hospital without ever regaining consciousness. Tupac's death certainly became a jolt to the rap community and heated up the already steaming East vs. West rivalry. Commenting his death, many people believed it was arranged 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. Those theories remained rumors in the already legendary, iconoclastic story of Tupac Shakur.

Before the time he died, Tupac had recorded so much materials that more of his albums have been released since his death than were while he was alive. His rest posthumous albums include R U Still Down? (Remember Me?), Lost Tapes 1989, One Million Strong, Still I Rise, Rose That Grew From Concrete, Until The End Of Time, and 2002's Better Dayz, along with his one disc, were all released under the Makave, thanks to his mother who wants to keep his memory and music alive. However, in 2007 his mother faced the lawsuit from singer Esther Williams who claimed that Tupac had stolen her lyrics. Tupac's “Late Night' was spotted by Williams to have similar lyrics to her 1976 single “Last Night Changed It All”. Standing against this charge were Tupac's mother and Universal Music Group as the label.