Tupac Shakur, in full Tupac Amaru Shakur, original name Lesane Parish Crooks, bynames 2Pac and Makaveli, (born June 16, 1971, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.—died September 13, 1996, Las Vegas, Nevada), American rapper and actor who was one of the leading names in 1990s gangsta rap.
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Crooks was born to Alice Faye Williams, a member of the Black Panther Party, and she renamed him Tupac Amaru Shakur—after Peruvian revolutionary Tupac Amaru II—when he was a year old. He spent much of his childhood on the move with his family, which in 1986 settled in Baltimore, Maryland, where Shakur attended the elite Baltimore School of the Arts. He distinguished himself as a student, both creatively and academically, but his family relocated to Marin City, California, before he could graduate. There Shakur took to the streets, selling drugs and becoming involved in the gangculture that would one day provide material for his rap lyrics. In 1990 he joined Digital Underground, an Oakland-based rap group that had scored a Billboard Top 40 hit with the novelty single “The Humpty Dance.” Shakur performed on two Digital Underground albums in 1991, This Is an EP Release and Sons of the P, before his solo debut, 2Pacalypse Now, later that year.
2Pacalypse Now was a radical break from the dance party sound of Digital Underground, and its tone and content were much closer to the works of Public Enemy and West Coast gangsta rappers N.W.A. The lack of a clear single on the album limited its radio appeal, but it sold well, especially after Vice Pres. Dan Quayle criticized the song “Soulja’s Story” during the 1992 presidential campaign. That same year Shakur joined the ranks of other rappers-turned-actors, such as Ice Cube and Ice-T, when he was cast in the motion pictureJuice, an urban crimedrama. The following year he appeared in Poetic Justice, opposite Janet Jackson, and he released his second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. The album did not stray far from the activist lyricism of his debut, but singles such as “Holler If Ya Hear Me” and “Keep Ya Head Up” made it much more radio-friendly.
With increased fame and success came greater scrutiny of Shakur’s gangsta lifestyle. A string of arrests culminated with a conviction for sexual assault in 1994; he was incarcerated when his third album, Me Against the World, was released in 1995. Shakur was paroled after serving eight months in prison, and he signed with Suge Knight’s Death Row Records for his next release. That album, All Eyez on Me (1996), was a two-disc paean to the “thug life” that Shakur embodied. It debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and sold more than five million copies within its first year of release. Quick to capitalize on his most recent success, Shakur returned to Hollywood, where he starred in Bullet (1996) and Gridlock’d (1997).
On the evening of September 7, 1996, Shakur was leaving a Las Vegas casino, where he had just attended a prizefight featuring heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, when he was shot by an unknown assailant. The incident, believed by many to be the result of an ongoing rivalry between the East Coast and West Coast rap communities, shocked the entertainment world. Shakur died six days later. In spite of his relatively short recording career, Shakur left an enduring legacy within the hip-hop community. His popularity was undiminished after his death, and a long succession of posthumous releases (many of them were simply repackaged or remixed existing material, and most were of middling quality), ensured that “new” 2Pac albums continued to appear well into the 21st century.
"Tupac" redirects here. For other people with this name, see Tupac (name).
"Makaveli" redirects here. For the Italian polymath, see Niccolò Machiavelli.
Tupac Shakur in October 1991
|Born||Lesane Parish Crooks|
(1971-06-16)June 16, 1971
East Harlem, New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||September 13, 1996(1996-09-13) (aged 25)|
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
|Cause of death||Drive-by shooting|
|Residence||Oakland, California, U.S.|
|Other names||Tupac Amaru Shakur, 2Pac, Makaveli, MC New York|
|Years active||1987 (1987)–1996 (1996)|
|Awards||Rock N Roll Hall of Fame 2017|
Tupac Amaru Shakur (TOO-pahk shə-KOOR; born Lesane Parish Crooks; June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. Shakur sold over 75 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. His double-disc albums All Eyez on Me (1996) and his Greatest Hits (1998) are among the best-selling albums in the United States. Shakur is consistently ranked as one of the greatest and most influential rappers of all time, and he has been listed and ranked as one of the greatest artists of any genre by many publications, including Rolling Stone, which ranked him 86th on its list of The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. On April 7, 2017, Shakur was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Shakur began his career as a roadie, backup dancer and MC for the alternative hip hop group Digital Underground, eventually branching off as a solo artist. Most of the themes in Shakur's songs revolved around the violence and hardship in inner cities, American racism, and other social issues. Both of his parents and several other people in his family were members of the Black Panther Party, whose ideals were reflected in his songs. During the latter part of his career, Shakur was a vocal participant during the East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry, becoming involved in conflicts with other rappers, producers, and record-label staff members, most notably The Notorious B.I.G. and his label, Bad Boy Records. Aside from his career in music, Shakur was also an actor, starring in six films and one TV show in the 1990s, including Poetic Justice (1993), Gang Related (1997) and Gridlock'd (1997).
On September 7, 1996, Shakur was fatally shot four times in a drive-by shooting at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, where he died from his injuries six days later.
Shakur was born on June 16, 1971, into an African-American family in the East Harlem section of Manhattan in New York City. His birth name was Lesane Parish Crooks. The following year he was renamed after Túpac Amaru II, the 18th-century Peruvianrevolutionary who was executed after leading an indigenous uprising against Spanish rule.
His mother Afeni Shakur (born Alice Faye Williams in North Carolina) and his father Billy Garland were active members of the Black Panther Party in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Lesane was born a month after his mother was acquitted of more than 150 charges of "Conspiracy against the United States government and New York landmarks" in the New York Panther 21 trial.
Many people in Shakur's life were involved with the Black Liberation Army; some were convicted of serious criminal offenses and imprisoned, including his mother. His godfather, Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, a high-ranking Black Panther, had been convicted of murdering a school teacher during a 1968 robbery, although his sentence was later overturned. His stepfather, Mutulu Shakur, spent four years at large on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, beginning in 1982. Mutulu was wanted for having helped his friend (no relation) Assata Shakur (also known as Joanne Chesimard), Tupac's godmother, to escape from a penitentiary in New Jersey in 1979. She had been imprisoned since 1977 for killing a state trooper in 1973. She lived as a fugitive for several years before gaining asylum in Cuba in 1985. Mutulu was caught in 1986 and eventually convicted and sentenced to prison for the 1981 robbery of a Brinks armored truck, during which two police officers and a guard were killed.
Shakur had an older stepbrother, Mopreme "Komani" Shakur, and a half-sister, Sekyiwa, two years his junior. Mopreme performed in many of his recordings.
In 1986, the family moved from New York to Baltimore, Maryland. After completing his second year at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, Shakur transferred to the Baltimore School for the Arts. There he studied acting, poetry, jazz, and ballet. He performed in Shakespeare plays and in the role of the Mouse King in the ballet The Nutcracker. Shakur, accompanied by one of his friends, Dana "Mouse" Smith, as his beatbox, won many rap competitions and was considered to be the best rapper in his school. He was remembered as one of the most popular kids in his school because of his sense of humor, superior rapping skills, and ability to mix with all crowds.
Shakur developed a close friendship with Jada Pinkett (later Jada Pinkett Smith) that lasted until his death. In the documentary Tupac: Resurrection, Shakur says, "Jada is my heart. She will be my friend for my whole life." Pinkett Smith calls him "one of my best friends. He was like a brother. It was beyond friendship for us. The type of relationship we had, you only get that once in a lifetime." A poem written by Shakur titled "Jada" appears in his book, The Rose That Grew from Concrete, which also includes a poem dedicated to Pinkett Smith called "The Tears in Cupid's Eyes."
During his time in art school, Shakur became affiliated with the Baltimore Young Communist League USA. He began dating the daughter of the director of the local chapter of the Communist Party USA.
Move to California
In 1988, Shakur and his family moved from Baltimore to Marin City, California, a small unincorporated suburban community located 5 miles (8 km) north of San Francisco. He attended Tamalpais High School in nearby Mill Valley. Shakur contributed to the school's drama department by performing in several productions. In an English class, Shakur wrote a paper, "Conquering All Obstacles," in which he said:
"our raps, not the sorry story raps everyone is so tired of. They are about what happens in the real world. Our goal is [to] have people relate to our raps, making it easier to see what really is happening out there. Even more important, what we may do to better our world."
He began attending the poetry classes of Leila Steinberg in 1989. That same year, Steinberg organized a concert with Shakur's group, "Strictly Dope"; the concert led to his being signed with Atron Gregory. He set him up as a roadie and backup dancer with the hip hop group Digital Underground in 1990.
1987–93: Beginnings and rise to fame
Before using his first name as his rap name, Shakur went by the alias MC New York when starting his career in Baltimore. Although Shakur began recording in 1987, his professional entertainment career did not take off until the early 1990s when he debuted in Digital Underground's "Same Song" from the soundtrack to the 1991 film Nothing but Trouble, and also appeared with the group in the film. The song was later released as the lead song of the Digital Underground extended play (EP) This Is an EP Release, the follow-up to their debut hit album Sex Packets. Shakur appeared in the accompanying music video. After his rap debut, he performed with Digital Underground again on the album Sons of the P. Shakur went on to feature Shock G and Money-B from Digital Underground in his track "I Get Around", which ranked #11 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
In November 1991, Shakur released his debut solo album, 2Pacalypse Now. Though the album did not generate any "Top Ten" hits, 2Pacalypse Now is hailed by many critics and fans for its underground feel, with many rappers such as Nas, Eminem, Game, and Talib Kweli having pointed to it as inspiration. Although the album was originally released on Interscope Records, the rights to its distribution are now owned by Amaru Entertainment, the label owned by Shakur's mother. The album's name is a reference to the 1979 film Apocalypse Now.
2Pacalypse Now generated significant controversy for numerous reasons. The songs "Trapped" and "Brenda's Got a Baby" were widely noted for their poetic qualities but also offered strong critiques of unjust social policies.Dan Quayle criticized the album after a Texas youth's defense attorney claimed he was influenced by 2Pacalypse Now and its theme of police brutality before shooting a state trooper. Quayle said, "There's no reason for a record like this to be released. It has no place in our society." Shakur stated that he felt he had been misunderstood. He said, "I started out saying I was down for the young black male, you know, and that was gonna be my thang," Shakur said. "I just wanted to rap about things that affected young black males. When I said that, I didn't know that I was gonna tie myself down to just take all the blunts and hits for all the young black males, to be the media's kicking post for young black males. I just figured since I lived that life I could do that, I could rap about that." The record was important in showcasing Shakur's political conviction and his focus on lyrical prowess. On MTV's Greatest Rappers of All Time list, 2Pacalypse Now was listed as one of Shakur's "certified classic" albums, along with Me Against the World, All Eyez on Me and The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. 2Pacalypse Now went on to be certified Gold by the RIAA. It featured three singles: "Brenda's Got a Baby", "Trapped", and "If My Homie Calls".
His second studio album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z..., was released in February 1993. The album did better than its predecessor both critically and commercially, debuting at number 24 on the Billboard 200. The album contains many tracks emphasizing Shakur's political and social views, and there are noticeable differences in production from his first effort. While 2Pacalypse Now had an indie-rap-oriented sound, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z... is generally considered Shakur's "breakout" album. It spawned the hits "Keep Ya Head Up" and "I Get Around" and reached platinum status. On vinyl, Side A (tracks 1–8) was labeled the "Black Side" and Side B (tracks 9–16) the "Dark Side". It is Shakur's tenth-biggest selling album, with 1,366,000 units moved as of 2004.
1993–95: Acting and rise to prominence
In late 1993, Shakur formed the group Thug Life with a number of his friends, including Big Syke (Tyruss Himes), Macadoshis (Diron Rivers), his stepbrother Mopreme Shakur, and the Rated R (Walter Burns). The group released their only album Thug Life: Volume 1 on September 26, 1994, which went gold. The album featured the single "Pour Out a Little Liquor", produced by Johnny "J" Jackson, who went on to produce a large part of Shakur's album All Eyez on Me. The group usually performed their concerts without Shakur. The album was originally released by Shakur's label Out Da Gutta Records, though Amaru Entertainment has since gained the rights to it. Among the notable tracks are "Bury Me a G", "Cradle to the Grave", "Pour Out a Little Liquor" (which also appears on the soundtrack to the 1994 film Above the Rim), "How Long Will They Mourn Me?" and "Str8 Ballin'". As a result of criticism of gangsta rap at the time, the original version of the album was scrapped and re-recorded with many of the original songs being cut. The album contains ten tracks because Interscope Records felt many of the other recorded songs were too controversial to release. Although the original version of the album was not completed, Shakur performed the planned first single from the album, "Out on Bail" at the 1994 Source Awards.Thug Life: Volume 1 was certified Gold. The track "How Long Will They Mourn Me?" later appeared on 2Pac's posthumous Greatest Hits album.
Shakur's third album, Me Against The World, was released in March 1995 and was very well-received, with many calling it the magnum opus of his career. It is considered one of the greatest and most influential hip-hop albums of all time. It is Shakur's fourth-best-selling album with 3,524,567 copies sold in the United States as of 2011.Me Against the World won best rap album at the 1996 Soul Train Music Awards.
"Dear Mama" was released as the album's first single in February 1995, along with the track "Old School" as the B-side. It would become the album's most successful single, topping the Hot Rap Singles chart and peaking at the ninth spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The single was certified platinum in July 1995, and later placed at #51 on the year-end charts. The second single, "So Many Tears", was released in June, four months after the first single. The single would reach number six on the Hot Rap Singles chart, and number 44 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Temptations", released in August, was the third and final single from the album; it would be the least successful of the three released, but still did fairly well on the charts, reaching number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 35 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, and number 13 on the Hot Rap Singles charts.
1995–96: Final recordings
All Eyez on Me was the fourth studio album by 2Pac, recorded in October 1995 and released on February 13, 1996, by Death Row Records and Interscope Records. The album is frequently recognized as one of the crowning achievements of 1990s rap music. Steve Huey of AllMusic stated that "despite some undeniable filler, it is easily the best production 2Pac's ever had on record". It was certified 5× Platinum after just 2 months in April 1996 and 9× platinum in 1998. The album featured the Billboard Hot 100 number one singles "How Do U Want It" and "California Love". It featured five singles in all, the most of any 2Pac album. Moreover, All Eyez on Me (which was the only Death Row release to be distributed through PolyGram by way of Island Records) made history as the first double-full-length hip-hop solo studio album released for mass consumption. It was issued on two compact discs and four LPs. Chartwise, All Eyez on Me was the second album from 2Pac to hit number one on both the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. It sold 566,000 copies in the first week of its release and was charted in the top 100 for one-week Soundscan sales since 1991. By the end of 1996, the album had sold 5 million copies. The album won the 1997 Soul Train R&B/Soul or Rap Album of the Year Award. Shakur also won the Award for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist at the 24th Annual American Music Awards.
Makaveli – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, commonly shortened to The 7 Day Theory, is Shakur's fifth and final studio album and was released under his new stage name Makaveli. The album was completely finished in a total of seven days during the month of August 1996. The lyrics were written and recorded in three days and mixing took an additional four days. In 2005, MTV.com ranked The 7 Day Theory at #9 on their greatest hip hop albums of all-time list and, in 2006, recognized it as a classic. The emotion and anger showcased on the album have been admired by a large part of the hip hop community. George "Papa G" Pryce, former Head of Publicity for Death Row, claimed that "Makaveli, which we did was sort of tongue-in-cheek and it was not really to come out and after Tupac was murdered, it did come out. But before that, it was going to be a sort of an underground [record]." The album peaked at number one on the BillboardTop R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and the Billboard 200. The album generated the second-highest debut-week sales total of any album that year. It was certified 4× Platinum on June 15, 1999.
Death Row Records
In October 1995, Shakur was released from prison after serving nine months of a sentence for sexual assault and formed a new group called Outlaw Immortalz. Shakur joined the Death Row label, under which he released the single "California Love".
On February 13, 1996, Shakur released his fourth solo album, All Eyez on Me. This double album was the first and second of his three-album commitment to Death Row Records. It sold more than nine million copies. The record was a general departure from the introspective subject matter of Me Against the World, being more oriented toward a thug and gangsta mentality. Shakur continued his recordings despite increasing problems at the Death Row label. Dr. Dre left his post as in-house producer to form his own label, Aftermath. Shakur continued to produce hundreds of tracks during his time at Death Row, most of which would be released on his posthumous albums Still I Rise, Until the End of Time, Better Dayz, Loyal to the Game and Pac's Life. He also began the process of recording an album, One Nation, with the New York-based Boot Camp Clik and their label Duck Down Records.
On June 4, 1996, he and Outlawz released the diss track "Hit 'Em Up", a scathing lyrical assault on The Notorious B.I.G. and others associated with him. In the track, Shakur claimed to have had sexual intercourse with Faith Evans, the wife of Wallace, Shakur's former friend and rival, and attacked Bad Boy's street credibility. Shakur was convinced that some members associated with Bad Boy had known about the 1994 attack on him due to their behavior that night and the information that his sources gave to him. According to a 2005 interview with Jimmy Henchman, in Vibe magazine, after the attack, Shakur immediately accused Henchman, an associate of Bad Boy CEO Sean Combs, of orchestrating the attack. Shakur, therefore, aligned himself with Suge, Death Row's CEO, who was already bitter toward Combs over a 1995 incident at the Platinum Club in Atlanta, Georgia, which culminated in the death of Jake Robles, the friend and bodyguard of Suge Knight; Knight was adamant in voicing his suspicions about Combs' involvement. In the years following their killings, associates of both Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. made comments indicating the pair, were it not for their deaths, would have reconciled.
Collaborator Buckshot claimed in 2015 that Shakur defended him against Suge Knight, who had insisted that the East Coast rapper could not come with him to Las Vegas on the grounds of the ongoing hip hop rivalry. Shakur asserted that he would not board the plane unless accompanied by Buckshot and was described by the fellow rapper as looking "discomforted" while they recorded a song together in a studio after Shakur "tore up the plane tickets".
During an August 15, 1996, appearance at the Brotherhood Crusade Rally, which featured several artists discussing the importance of voting, Shakur compared the sales of Death Row records to voters in the U.S. and the influence he and other artists had over an adoring fanbase.
Main article: Outlawz
When Shakur recorded "Hit 'Em Up", a diss song toward Biggie, he recruited three members from the former group, Dramacydal, with whom he had worked previously and was eager to do so again. Shakur, with the three New Jersey rappers and other associates, formed the original lineup of the Outlawz. When 2Pac signed to Death Row after his release from prison, he recruited step brother Mopreme Shakur and Big Syke from Thug Life. Hussein Fatal, Napoleon, E.D.I. Mean, Kastro, Yaki Kadafi, and Storm (the only female Outlaw) were also added, and together they formed the original lineup of the Outlaw Immortalz that debuted on 2Pac's Multi-Platinum smash All Eyez on Me. They later dropped the Immortal part of their name after the untimely deaths of 2Pac and Yaki Kadafi and moved on as Outlawz without the members of Thug Life. Young Noble was later added and appeared on 2Pac's second Death Row release The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. It was on 2Pac's Makaveli album that Outlawz first came to the greater rap community's notice, appearing on a few songs. The idea behind the group was for each member to have a rap name coinciding with the names of various tyrants or enemies of America, past, and present. Outlawz chose in later years to make a backronym out of the letters of their group name Operating Under Thug Laws as Warriorz although it does not stand for the group's name and is used infrequently.
On forming the Outlawz, Shakur gave each of them a name of a dictator/military leader or an enemy of America.
For himself, Shakur created the alias "Makaveli" from Renaissance Italian philosopher and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli, whose writings inspired Shakur in prison, but who also preached that a leader could eliminate his enemies by all means necessary. He mentioned Makaveli Records a few times before his death. This was supposed to be a music label for up-and-coming artists that Shakur had an interest in developing or potentially signing, and his own future projects would have been published through it as well.
In addition to his endeavors in the music industry, Shakur acted in films. He made his first film appearance in Nothing but Trouble (1991), as part of a cameo by the Digital Underground. His first starring role was in the 1992 film Juice. He played Roland Bishop, a violent member of the Wrecking Crew, for which he was hailed by Rolling Stone's Peter Travers as "the film's most magnetic figure". He then went on to star in Poetic Justice (1993) opposite Janet Jackson and the basketball drama Above the Rim (1994). After his death, three more completed films featuring Shakur were released: Bullet (1996), Gridlock'd (1997), and Gang Related (1997).
Shakur had been slated to star in the 1993 Hughes brothers' film Menace II Society but was replaced by Larenz Tate after assaulting Allen Hughes as a result of a quarrel. Shakur reportedly wanted another type of role, but Hughes would not conform to his wishes, leading to the altercation between the pair which, according to Tyrin Turner, also led members of Shakur's entourage to become physically aggressive toward Hughes. In 2013, Hughes said Shakur would have outshined the other actors had he been in the film, "because he was bigger than the movie." Hughes' comments were seen as validation that he had forgiven the rapper since the incident.Larenz Tate, who had several rehearsals with Shakur before his part was recast, recalled Shakur being close to the Hughes brothers but that his actions were the result of "creative differences".
Director John Singleton mentioned that he wrote the script for his film Baby Boy with Shakur in mind for the lead role. It was eventually filmed with Tyrese Gibson in his place and released in 2001, five years after Shakur's death. The film features a mural of Shakur in the protagonist's bedroom, as well as featuring the song "Hail Mary" in the film's score.
Shakur's music and philosophy are rooted in many American, African-American, and world entities, including the Black Panther Party, black nationalism, egalitarianism, and liberty. Shakur's love of theater and Shakespeare also influenced his work. A student of the Baltimore School for the Arts where he studied theater, Shakur understood the Shakespearean psychology of inter-gang wars and inter-cultural conflict.
During a 1995 interview, Shakur said:
[…] I love Shakespeare. He wrote some of the rawest stories, man. I mean look at Romeo and Juliet. That's some serious ghetto shit. You got this guy Romeo from the Bloods who falls for Juliet, a female from the Crips, and everybody in both gangs is against them. So they have to sneak out and they end up dead for nothing. Real tragic stuff. And look how Shakespeare busts it up with Macbeth. He creates a tale about this king's wife who convinces a happy man to chase after her and kill her husband so he can take over the country. After he commits the murder, the dude starts having delusions just like in a Scarface song. I mean the king's wife just screws this guy's whole life up for nothing [...].
In an interview in Spain, American music journalist Chuck Philips said that what impressed him the most about Shakur was that he was a poet. Philips said, "I like sacred texts, myths, proverbs, and scriptures. [...] When Tupac came along, I thought he was quite the poet [...] It wasn't just how cleverly they rhymed. It wasn't just the rhythm or the cadence. I liked their attitude. It was protest music in a way nobody had ever thought about before. [...]These artists were brave, wise and smart – wickedly smart. Tupac had so many sides. He was unafraid to write about his vulnerabilities."
Shakur's debut album, 2Pacalypse Now (1991), revealed his socially conscious side. On this album, Shakur attacked social injustice, poverty, and police brutality in "Brenda's Got a Baby", "Trapped", and "Part Time Mutha". On this initial release, Shakur helped extend the success of such rap groups as Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy, X-Clan, and Grandmaster Flash, as he became one of the first major socially conscious rappers from the West Coast.
On his second record, Shakur continued to rap about the social ills facing African Americans, with songs such as "The Streetz R Deathrow" and "Last Wordz". He also showed his compassionate side with the anthem "Keep Ya Head Up", while simultaneously putting his legendary aggressiveness on display with the title track from the album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z... He added a salute to his former group Digital Underground by including them on the playful track "I Get Around". Throughout his career, Shakur expressed an increasingly aggressive attitude on his subsequent albums.
The contradictory themes of social inequality and injustice, unbridled aggression, compassion, playfulness, and hope all continued to shape Shakur's work, as expressed in his incendiary 1995 album Me Against the World. In 1996, Shakur released All Eyez on Me, and many of the tracks are considered by critics to be classics, including "Ambitionz Az a Ridah", "I Ain't Mad at Cha", "California Love", "Life Goes On" and "Picture Me Rollin". Shakur described All Eyez on Me as a celebration of life, and the album was critically and commercially successful.
Shakur had enjoyed and had been influenced by the work of contemporary English and Irish pop musicians as a teenager such as Kate Bush, Culture Club, Sinéad O'Connor, and U2. His style on 2Pacalypse Now was highly influenced by the social consciousness and Afrocentrism pervading hip-hop in the late 1980s and early 1990s.All Eyez on Me was a change of style from his earlier works; while still containing socially conscious songs and themes, this album was heavily influenced by party tracks and tended to have a more "feel good" vibe than his earlier albums.
Shakur never professed to follow a particular religion, but his lyrics in singles such as "Ghetto Gospel" and "Only God Can Judge Me" and poems such as The Rose That Grew from Concrete (poetry collection) suggest he believed in God. Many analysts currently describe him as a deist. He believed in Karma but rejected a literal afterlife and organized religion.
Shakur had several family members who were members of the Black Panthers: Mutulu Shakur, his step-father; Assata Shakur, his step-aunt; Billy Garland, his biological father; and Afeni Shakur, his mother. Shakur publicly spoke out against interracial marriage in an interview with Source magazine in 1994, but later retracted these comments.
His bandana tied into rabbit ears was considered by a British writer as one of hip-hop's most recognizable style choices.
Shakur was friends with boxer Mike Tyson,Chuck D,Marlon Wayans,Jim Carrey, and Rosie Perez. He befriended fellow rappers Snoop Dogg and Freddie Foxxx, collaborating on songs with the pair and writing to Foxxx while in prison.
He was married once to Keisha Morris-Shakur the marriage officially ended on March of 1996.
His father Billy Garland said Shakur's anger developed from his frustrations in being misunderstood. He particularly reacted when people questioned his commitment to the black community and the West Coast.
In October 1991, Shakur filed a $10-million civil suit against the Oakland Police Department, alleging that the police brutally beat him for jaywalking. Shakur received approximately $43,000 in settlement money, much of which went to pay his lawyer.
On August 22, 1992, in Marin City, Shakur performed at an outdoor festival and stayed for an hour afterward signing autographs and pictures. A confrontation occurred and Shakur drew a legally registered Colt Mustang, and allegedly dropped it. As it was picked up by a member of his entourage, a bullet was discharged. About 100 yards (90 m) away, Qa'id Walker-Teal, a 6-year-old boy, was riding his bicycle at a school playground nearby when he was fatally struck by a bullet in the forehead , killing him. Although the police matched the bullet to a .38-caliber pistol registered to Shakur, and although his stepbrother, Maurice Harding, was initially arrested on suspicion of firing the weapon, no charges were filed. Marin County prosecutors have said they were stymied by a lack of witnesses. In 1995, a wrongful death suit was brought against Shakur by Qa'id's mother. The defense attorney acknowledged that the bullet that killed Qa'id was traced by authorities to a gun registered to Shakur. The suit was dropped when Shakur agreed to pay a $300,000–$500,000 settlement to the parents.
On April 5, 1993, Shakur was charged with one count of felonious assault. He was accused of attempting to hit rapper Chauncey Wynn from the group M.A.D. with a baseball bat at a concert at Michigan State University. The incident reportedly began when Shakur became angry and threw a microphone. Shakur pleaded guilty on September 14, 1994, to a misdemeanor in exchange for the dismissal of the felonious-assault charge. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 20 of which were suspended, and ordered to perform 35 hours of community service.
In October 1993, in Atlanta, two brothers and off-duty police officers, Mark and Scott Whitwell, were with their wives celebrating Mrs. Whitwell's passing of the state bar examination. The officers were drunk and in possession of stolen guns. As they crossed the street, a car with Shakur inside passed them or "almost struck them". The Whitwells argued with the driver, Shakur, and the other passengers, who were joined by a second passing car. Shakur shot one officer in the buttocks and the other in the leg, back, or abdomen, according to varying news reports. Mark Whitwell was charged with firing at Shakur's car and later lying to the police during the investigation. Shakur was charged with the shooting. Prosecutors dropped all charges against the parties.
In early 1994, Shakur was found guilty of assaulting Allen Hughes, co-director of Menace II Society; he served 15 days in jail. The previous year, Shakur had boasted during an appearance on Yo! MTV Raps that he had "beat up the director of Menace II Society", the line later being used against him in court.
Sexual assault case
In November 1993, Shakur and others were charged with sexually assaulting a woman in a hotel room. Shakur denied the charges. According to Shakur, he had prior relations days earlier with the woman that were consensual (the woman admitted she performed oral sex on Shakur). The complainant claimed sexual assault after her second visit to Shakur's hotel room; she alleged that Shakur and his entourage raped her. At trial, Shakur was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse, and acquitted of the weapons and sodomy charges. The judge described the crimes during the sentencing of Shakur to 1½–4½ years in prison, as "an act of brutal violence against a helpless woman." While appearing on the Arsenio Hall Show, Shakur said he was innocent of all charges and he was hurt that "a woman would accuse me of taking something from her", when he was raised by and was surrounded by females.
In October 1995, Shakur's assault case was on appeal. Because of his considerable legal fees, he could not raise the $1.4 million bail. After serving nine months of his sentence, Shakur was released from the Clinton Correctional Facility on October 12, 1995.Suge Knight, the CEO of Death Row Records, had posted the $1.4 million bail, pending Shakur's appeal of the conviction, in exchange for Shakur releasing three albums under the Death Row label. On April 5, 1996, a judge sentenced Shakur to serve 120 days in jail for violating terms of his release on bail.
Attack at Quad Recording Studios
On the night of November 30, 1994, the day before the verdict in his sexual abuse trial was to be announced, Shakur was robbed and shot five times by three men in the lobby of Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan. Shakur said that he believed the robbery was simply a setup for the attack, wondering why they would take jewelry and leave his Rolex watch. Three hours after surgery for his wounds, Shakur checked out of the Bellevue Hospital Center against doctor's orders. In the day that followed, he entered the courthouse in a wheelchair in the verdict hearing for his sexual abuse trial. He was found guilty of three counts of molestation and found not guilty of six other charges, including sodomy, stemming from his 1993 arrest.
In a 1995 interview with Vibe magazine, Shakur accused Sean Combs, Jimmy Henchman, and Biggie, among others, of setting up the Quad Recording Studios attack. Vibe changed the names of the accused assailants upon publication. Later evidence did not implicate Biggie in the studio assault. When Biggie's entourage went downstairs to check on the incident, Shakur was being taken out on a stretcher, giving the finger to those around.
On March 17, 2008, Chuck Philips wrote in the Los Angeles Times about an alleged order for an attack on Shakur. The article was retracted by the LA Times because it relied partially on FBI documents, which were discovered to have been forged; they had been supplied by a man convicted of fraud. In 2011, Dexter Isaac admitted to having attacked Shakur on Henchman's orders. Following Isaac's public confession, Philips named Isaac as one of his unnamed sources for the retracted article.
Shakur began serving his prison sentence on sexual-assault charges at Clinton Correctional Facility on February 14, 1995. Shortly afterward, he released his Multi-Platinum album Me Against the World. Shakur became the first artist to have an album at number one on the Billboard 200 while serving a prison sentence. Me Against the World made its debut on the Billboard 200 and stayed at the top of the charts for four weeks. The album sold 240,000 copies in its first week, setting a record for highest first-week sales for a solo male rap artist at the time.
While serving his sentence, Shakur married his long-time girlfriend, Keisha Morris, on April 4, 1995; the couple divorced in 1996. Shakur stated that he married her "for the wrong reasons". In an interview after his release, Shakur claimed to have written only one song during his sentence.
While imprisoned, Shakur became interested in philosophy, philosophy of war, and military strategy by studying the works such as The Prince by Italian philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli and The Art of War by Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. The works inspired his pseudonym "Makaveli", under which he released the album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. The album presents a stark contrast to previous works. Throughout the album, Shakur continues to focus on the themes of pain and aggression, making this album one of the emotionally darker works of his career.
While in prison, Shakur wrote to Death Row Uncut director Nina Bhadresher about his plans to begin a "new chapter" of his life. According to Kevin Powell, who spoke to Shakur following his release from prison, the performer "seemed like a completely transformed person." Powell recalled Shakur being more dark and menacing to the extent that Powell wondered whether he had really known him before.
Main article: Murder of Tupac Shakur
September 1996 shooting
On the night of September 7, 1996, Shakur attended the Bruce Seldon vs. Mike Tyson boxing match with Suge Knight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. After leaving the match, one of Knight's associates spotted Orlando "Baby Lane" Anderson, an alleged Crips gang member from Compton, California, in the MGM Grand lobby. Earlier that year, Anderson and a group of Crips had robbed a member of Death Row's entourage in a Foot Locker store. Knight's associate told Shakur, who attacked Anderson, assisted by his and Knight's entourage. The fight was captured on the hotel's video surveillance. After the brawl, Shakur went with Knight to Death Row–owned Club 662. Shakur rode in Knight's 1996 black BMW 750iL sedan as part of a larger convoy.
At 11:00–11:05 p.m. (PDT), they were halted on Las Vegas Boulevard by Metro bicycle police for playing the car stereo too loudly and not having license plates. These were found in the trunk of Knight's car and the party was released without being ticketed. At 11:15 p.m. (PDT), when they were at a stop light, a white, four-door, late-model Cadillac with unknown occupants pulled up to the right side of Shakur's sedan. Someone inside rapidly fired gunshots at Shakur. He was hit four times, twice in the chest, once in the arm, and once in the thigh. One of the bullets went into Shakur's right lung. Knight was hit in the head by fragmentation. The bodyguard, Frank Alexander, said that Shakur had asked him to drive the car of Shakur's girlfriend, Kidada Jones, rather than accompany him. After arriving at the scene, police and paramedics took Knight and the wounded Shakur to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. According to an interview with music video director Gobi, while at the hospital, Shakur received news from a Death Row marketing employee that the shooters had called the record company and threatened Shakur. Gobi informed the Las Vegas police but said that the police claimed to be understaffed. No attackers came. At the hospital, Shakur was heavily sedated, placed on life-support machines, and ultimately was put under a barbiturate-induced coma to keep him in the bed. While in the intensive-care unit, on the afternoon of September 13, 1996, Shakur died from internal bleeding. He was pronounced dead at 4:03 p.m. (PDT). The official causes of death were noted as respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest in connection with multiple gunshot wounds.
Shakur's body was cremated the next day. Some of his ashes were purportedly later mixed with marijuana and smoked by members of the Outlawz. But E.D.I. Mean claimed in an 2014 interview in 2014 that he later learned that the ashes did not belong to Shakur. Some people believed that Shakur never died.
His fifth album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, was released two months later, along with numerous other posthumous albums.
In 2002, the Los Angeles Times published a two-part story by investigative reporter Chuck Philips, titled "Who Killed Tupac Shakur?", based on yearlong research that reconstructed the crime and the events leading up to it. Information gathered by the paper indicated that: "the shooting was carried out by a Compton gang called the Southside Crips to avenge the beating of one of its members by Shakur a few hours earlier. Orlando Anderson, the Crip whom Shakur had attacked, fired the fatal shots. Las Vegas police discounted Anderson as a suspect and interviewed him only once, briefly. He was later killed in an unrelated gang shooting." The article also reported the involvement of East Coast rapper Biggie, Shakur's rival at the time, and several New York criminals.
Before they died, The Notorious B.I.G. and Anderson denied any role in the murder. In support of their claims, Biggie's family produced computerized invoices suggesting that Biggie was working in a New York recording studio the night of the drive-by shooting. His manager Wayne Barrow and fellow rapper Lil' Cease (James Lloyd) made public announcements denying Biggie's role in the crime and claimed further that they were with him in the recording studio the night of the event. The New York Times called the evidence "inconclusive", noting:
The pages purport to be three computer printouts from Daddy's House, indicating that Wallace was in the studio recording a song called Nasty Boy on the afternoon Shakur was shot. They indicate that Wallace wrote half the session, was In and out/sat around and laid down a ref, shorthand for a reference vocal, the equivalent of a first take. But nothing indicates when the documents were created. And Louis Alfred, the recording engineer listed on the sheets, said in an interview that he remembered recording the song with Wallace in a late-night session, not during the day. He could not recall the date of the session but said it was likely not the night Shakur was shot. 'We would have heard about it,' Mr. Alfred said."
In 2011, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI released documents revealing its investigation of the Jewish Defense League for making death threats against Shakur and other rappers.
At a Mobb Deep concert following the death of Shakur and the release of The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, Cormega recalled in an interview that the fans were all shouting "Makaveli", and emphasized the influence of The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory and of Shakur himself even in New York at the height of the media-dubbed "intercoastal rivalry".
Shakur is held in high esteem by other MCs: In the book How to Rap, Bishop Lamont