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Tupac Amaru Shakur, was better known by his stage name “2Pac” or simply as “Pac” or “Makaveli” was an American Rapper who sold over 75 million albums worldwide. Born on June 16, 1971 he was and is one of the best-selling music artists in the word, selling over 37.5 million records in the United States alone as Rolling Stone Magazine’s 86th Greatest Artist of All Time.
Born in the East Harlem section of Manhattan, New York where struggle and incarceration surrounded him from an early age. His godfather was convicted of murder and robbery, and his stepfather spent four years on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list beginning in 1982.
2Pac’s rap career began in the early 1990s when his rapping skills debuted in Digital Underground’s “Same Song” from the soundtrack to the 1991 film “Nothing but Trouble,” and appeared with the group in the film with the same name. The song was released as the lead song on Digital Underground’s EP “This is an EP Release,” where 2Pac appeared in the accompanying music video. HE would work with Digital Underground again on the album Sons of the P, and would later release his first solo album “2Pacalpyse Now.”
However, his first album released on November 12, 1991 did not do well, only going gold and without spawning a single top ten hit.. His future albums would prove to be wildly successful. His second album, “Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.” would do better, making platinum and his third album in 1995 “Me Against the World” would make double platinum sales in just the USA. As a rapper, 2pac enjoyed greatest success with his fourth (“All Eyez on me”) and fifth (“The Don Kiluminati: The 7 Day Theory”) which were 9x and 4x platinum sellers respectively.
2Pac’s music and philosophy was rooted in many different entities and sources. His debut album “2Pacalypse Now” revealed the socially conscious side of 2Pac, attacking social injustice (Brenda’s Got a Baby”), poverty (“Trapped”) and police brutality (“Part Time Mutha”) with his music. His style on this album was highly influenced by the social consciousness pervading hip-hop in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and he fast became the first major socially conscious rappers from the West Coast.
His second album continued the trend as he rapped about the social ills facing African-Americans, with songs like "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". The contradictory themes of social inequality and injustice, unbridled aggression, compassion, playfulness, and hope all continued to shape Shakur's work, as witnessed with his incendiary third album Me Against the World.
In 1996, Shakur released All Eyez on Me that contains numerous tracks considering classics by critics including "Ambitionz Az a Ridah", "I Ain't Mad at Cha", "California Love", "Life Goes On" and "Picture Me Rollin'". It was a more upbeat album with a “feel good” vibe that still contained socially conscious songs and themes but 2Pac himself described it as a celebration of life.
His final album, “The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory” is a stark contrast to previous works with a focus upon themes of pain and aggression, making this one of the emotionally darker works of his rap career. He wrote and recorded the lyrics in only three days and production took another four days, combining for a total of seven days to complete the album (hence the name).
On the night of September 7 1996, 2Pac and his entourage were in a convoy heading to Club 662. At approximately 11:15 p.m., a white, four-door, late-model Cadillac pulled up to the sedan's right side, rolled down one of the windows, and volley of gunshot rang out. 2Pac received multiple wounds to the chest, pelvis, and his right hand and thigh with a ricochet in to his right lung. The mortally wounded rapper died of respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest in connection with multiple gunshot wound on September 13, 1996 at 4:03pm.