Despite having a music career that lasted just six short years, Tupac Shakur has been listed among the greatest and most influential musicians of all time.
The multi-award winning rapper, who was also an actor and activist, is best known for songs like ‘California Love’, ‘Dear Mama’, and ‘Hit Em Up’ which emphasized the ongoing East Coast-West Coast hip-hop beef that he was embroiled in at the time.
Tupac Shakur was born Lesane Parish Crooks to Afeni Shakur and Billy Garland on June 16, 1971, in East Harlem, New York. A year after his birth, his mother renamed him Tupac Amaru after a revolutionary Peruvian fighter. She also gave him the surname of her new husband Mutulu Shakur.
At around the age of fifteen, the Shakur family moved to Baltimore, Maryland where he attended Paul Laurence Dunbar High School for a year before transferring to the Baltimore School for the Arts. It was during his time here that he began to explore his rapping abilities and also became very close friends with Jada Pinkett Smith.
In 1988, the Shakur family was on the go again, this time to Marin City, California where he enrolled at Tamalpais High School and was heavily involved in the school’s arts and drama department. He also attended poetry classes of Leila Steinberg who introduced him to the hip-hop group Digital Underground.
With Digital Underground, Tupac’s career as a musician took off. He first featured on their track ‘Same Song’ in 1991 before becoming an unofficial member of the group. Later on that year, he released his debut album, ‘2pacalypse Now’ which received critical acclaim in the underground hip-hop scene, however, songs like ‘Brenda’s Got a Baby’ and ‘Trapped’ which talked about the socio-political problems of America made him a poster boy for violence perpetrated by young black males.
Tupac Shakur released his second album, ‘Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z..’ in February 1993. The album debuted at number 24 on the Billboard 200 and by 2004, had sold over 1.3 million copies. His third album, ‘Me Against The World’, was released in 1995 and has been hailed as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. The album won best rap album at the 1996 Soul Train Awards and by 2011, it had sold over 3.5 million copies in the United States alone.
In 1996, Tupac Shakur released his fourth studio album, ‘All Eyez on Me’. The album sold over 5 million copies after two months of release and won the 1997 Soul Train R&B/Soul or Rap Album of the Year Award. His fifth and final album, ‘The 7 Day Theory’ which was recorded and produced in under a week in August 1996, peaked at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. By June 1999, it was certified four times platinum.
Is Tupac Shakur Dead or Alive?
Tupac Shakur is dead. The Death Row records rapper died before the release of his fifth album from injuries suffered from a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 7, 1996, after attending a boxing match between Bruce Seldon and Mike Tyson.
Tupac was struck by four bullets; two in the chest, one in the arm and one in the thigh before being rushed to the hospital. Despite spending six days in the critical care unit of the University of Southern Nevada Medical Center, Tupac died of respiratory failure that led to cardiac arrest. His body was subsequently cremated.
There have been several conspiracy theories alleging that Tupac Shakur is still alive. Believers of this conspiracy point to lyrics in his music where he supposedly gave away hints of him faking his own death.
His Net Worth
Tupac Shakur reportedly had a net worth of $3.5 million before his death. He made this through the sales of his various albums, concert tickets, and from his other movie/acting roles. That figure has more than quadrupled after his death as he his family estate is now said to be worth over $40 million thanks to posthumous album sales of both released and unreleased material.
Upon his death, Tupac Shakur was survived by his mother, Afeni Shakur, born Alice Faye Williams, his estranged biological father, Billy Garland, and half-sister Sekiyiwa Shakur.
He also left behind an ex-wife whom he married while he was in jail. The marriage was, however, annulled after his release on bail from prison.
Who Are His Kids?
Tupac Shakur did not have any children before his death. There have been several reports that have claimed he fathered a daughter, however, these reports cannot be proven.