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Tupac Shakur was born on this date in 1971. He was a Black RAP artist.
Born Lesane Parish Crooks in the Bronx, New York, he moved to Baltimore early in his life. He was the son of Billy Garland and Afeni Shakur. As a baby, his name was changed to Tupac, which means "shining serpent" in Quechua. He attended The Baltimore School for the Performing Arts. Shakur left a lasting impression on his teachers at this school, showing tremendous potential.
Unfortunately, he was unable to continue his training. He moved to Oakland, CA, with the rest of his family. That's when Shakur began to, as he called it, "hang with the wrong crowd." Not held back by his lack of formal education, he joined the Rap group Digital Underground as a dancer.
Shortly before the group achieved award-winning success, Shakur released his album “2pacallypse Now,” which was also successful. The hit single “Brenda's Got a Baby” launched his career. His stunning talent also got him a role in the motion picture “Juice.” Shakur eventually released a second album, “Strictly for my Niggaz,” which was an even bigger success. The highlight of his acting career came when he appeared in “Poetic Justice” beside Janet Jackson. The role made him a household name and showed that music was only one of his talents.
Amid a role in the movie “Above the Rim” and a Platinum album, “Me Against the World,” Shakur's rising career was snagged. A woman he met at a nightclub accused him of sexual assault charges. Hours before Shakur was found guilty, he was robbed at gunpoint and was eventually released. After his release, he answered his critics by releasing his best album, “All Eyes on Me.” It sold around 6 million copies, revolutionary for a double CD, particularly in Hip-Hop music. As the album climbed the charts, he also completed work on two films, one titled “Gridlock.”
In 1996, while he was on his way to do charity work, the bullets of unknown gunmen assassinated Tupac Shakur. His singular influence as an artist in RAP music may never be fully appreciated.
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: "a Compton gang carried out the shooting 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 The Notorious B.I.G., Shakur's rival at the time, and several New York criminals. On September 29, 2023, Duane Keith Davis was arrested for Shakur's murder.