Background and Early Years
Tupac Amaru Shakur was born in the Harlem section of New York City. He was named after Túpac Amaru II, an Incan revolutionary who led a Peruvian uprising against Spain and subsequently received capital punishment. His mother, Afeni Shakur, was an active member of the Black Panther Party in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s; Shakur was born just one month after Afeni’s acquittal of more than 100 charges of "conspiracy against the United States government and New York landmarks" in the New York Panther 21 court case. Although officially unconfirmed by the Shakur family, several sources list Shakur’s birth name as either "Parish Lesane Crooks" or "Lesane Parish Crooks." Afeni feared her enemies would attack her son, and disguised their relation using a different last name, only to change it three months or a year later, following her marriage to Mutulu Shakur.
Struggle and incarceration surrounded Shakur from an early age. His godfather, Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, a high ranking Black Panther, was convicted of murdering a school teacher during a 1968 robbery, although his sentence was later overturned. His stepfather, Mutulu, spent four years at large on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list beginning in 1982, when Shakur was a pre-teen. Mutulu was wanted in part for having helped his sister Assata Shakur (also known as Joanne Chesimard), Tupac's godmother, to escape from a penitentiary in New Jersey where she had been incarcerated for allegedly shooting a state trooper to death in 1973. Mutulu was caught in 1986 and imprisoned for an attempted robbery of a Brinks armored car in which two police officers and a guard were killed. Tupac had a younger half-sister, Sekyiwa, and an older step-brother, Mopreme "Komani" Shakur, who appeared on many of his recordings.
At the age of 12, Shakur enrolled in Harlem's famous acting troupe"127th Street Ensemble." His first major role with this acting troupe was playing Travis in A Raisin in the Sun. In 1984, his family relocated to Baltimore. After completing his second year at Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School, he transferred to the Baltimore School for the Arts, where Shakur studied acting, poetry, jazz and ballet. He performed in Shakespeare plays, and in the role of the mouse king in The Nutcracker. Shakur, accompanied by one of his friends, Dana "Mouse" Smith, who was his beat-box, won most of the many rap competitions that he participated in and was considered to be the best rapper in his school. Although he lacked trendy clothing, he was one of the most popular kids in his school because of his sense of humor, superior rapping skills and his ability to mix in with all crowds. He developed a close friendship with a young Jada Pinkett, she is a famous actress married to actor Will Smith, that lasted until Shakur's death. In the documentary, Tupac: Resurrection, Shakur says, "Jada is my heart. She will be my friend for my whole life," and Smith calls Shakur "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 Smith called "The Tears in Cupid's Eyes."
In June of 1988, Shakur and his family moved once again, this time to Marin City, Calif., where he attended Tamalpais High School. He joined the Ensemble Theater Company to pursue his career in entertainment. But his mother's crack addiction led him to move into Leila Steinberg's home with his friend Ray Luv at the age of 17, but he eventually dropped out of school. Steinberg acted as a literary mentor to Shakur; he became an avid reader by then. Steinberg kept copies of the books that he read, which include J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, Jamaica Kincaid's At the Bottom of the River, Herman Melville's Moby Dick, Eileen Southern's Music of Black Americans and the feminist writings of Alice Walker and Robin Morgan. Most of these books were read before he was 20. It has been said that Shakur was, in fact, more well-read and intellectually well-rounded at that age than the average student in the first year class of most Ivy League institutions. In 1989, Steinberg organized a concert with Shakur's rap group, Strictly Dope. That concert lead to Shakur being signed with Atron Gregory who set him up with Digital Underground. In 1990, he was hired as a back-up dancer and roadie for the up-and-coming rap group Digital Underground.
Shakur's professional entertainment career began in early 1991, when he debuted his rapping skills on "Same Song" from the Digital Underground album “This is an EP Release.” Also in 1991, he appeared in the music video for "Same Song." Late in 1991, after his rap debut, Shakur performed with Digital Underground again on the album “Sons Of The P.” Later that year, he released his first solo album, “2Pacalypse Now.” But initially he had trouble marketing his solo debut, though Interscope Records' executives Ted Field and Tom Whalley heard it and eventually agreed to distribute the record.
Shakur claimed his first album was aimed at the problems facing young Black males, but it was publicly criticized for its graphic language and images of violence by and against law enforcement. In one instance, a young man admitted his killing of a Texas-based trooper was influenced by the album. Former Vice President Dan Quayle publicly denounced the album as having "no place in our society." “2Pacalypse Now” did not do as well on the charts as future albums spawning no top 10 hits. His second record, “Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.,” was released in 1993. The album, produced mostly in part by Randy "Stretch" Walker, who was Shakur's closest friend and associate at the time, and the Live Squad, generated two hits, "Keep Ya Head Up" and "I Get Around," the latter featuring guest appearances by members of the Digital Underground.
In addition to rapping and hip-hop music, Shakur acted in films. He made his first film appearance in the 1991 motion picture Nothing But Trouble, as part of a cameo by the Digital Underground. His first starring role was in the 1992 movie Juice. In this story, he played the character Bishop, a trigger happy teen, for which he was hailed by Rolling Stone's Peter Travers as "the film's most magnetic figure." He went on to star with Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice and Marlon Wayans in Above the Rim. After his death, three of Shakur's completed films, Bullet, Gridlock'd and Gang Related, were posthumously released.
He had also been slated to star in the Hughes brothers' film, Menace II Society, but was replaced by Larenz Tate after Shakur assaulted one of the directors as a result of a quarrel. Director John Singleton mentioned that he wrote the script for Baby Boy with Shakur in mind for the leading role. It was eventually filmed with Tyrese Gibson in his place and released in 2001, five years after Shakur's death. The movie features a mural of Shakur in the protagonist's bedroom as well as featuring the song "Hail Mary" in the movie's score.
Late in 1993, Shakur formed the group Thug Life with a number of his friends, including Big Syke, Macadoshis, his step-brother Mopreme and Rated R. The group released their first and only record album “Thug Life Vol. 1” on September 26, 1994. The group usually performed their concerts without Shakur.
Tupac the Philosopher, Among Other Things
The concept of "thug life" was viewed by Shakur as a philosophy for life. He declared that the dictionary definition of a "thug" as being a rogue or criminal was not how he used the term, but rather he meant someone who came from oppressive or squalid background and had little opportunity but still made a life for themselves and were proud.
Even as he garnered attention as a rapper and actor, Shakur gained notoriety for his conflicts with the law. In October of 1991, he filed a $10 million civil suit against the law enforcement of the Oakland Police Department, alleging they brutally beat him for jaywalking. The suit was later settled for $42,000.
In October of 1993, in Atlanta, Shakur shot two off-duty police officers who were harassing a Black motorist. Charges against Shakur were dismissed when it was discovered that both officers were intoxicated and were in possession of stolen weapons from an evidence locker during the occasion.
In December of 1993, Shakur was charged with sexually abusing a woman in his hotel room. Shakur vehemently denied the charges. He had prior relations days earlier with the woman who was pressing the charges against him. The two later had consensual sex in his hotel room. The allegations were made after she revisited his hotel room for the second time where she engaged in sexual activity with his friends and alleged that Shakur and his entourage had gang-raped her, saying to him while leaving, "How could you do this to me?" Shakur stated he had fallen asleep shortly after she arrived and later awoke to her accusations and legal threats. He later said he felt guilty for leaving her alone and did not want anyone else to go to jail, but at the same time he did not want to go to jail for a crime he didn't commit. Shakur was convicted of sexual abuse. In sentencing Shakur to one-and-a-half years in a correctional facility, the judge described the crime as "an act of brutal violence against a helpless woman."
In 1994, he was convicted of attacking a former employer while on a music video set. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail with additional days on a highway work crew, community service and a $2,000 fine. In 1995, a wrongful death suit was brought against Shakur for a 1992 shooting that killed Qa'id Walker-Teal, a 6-year old of Marin City, Calif. The child had been the victim of a stray bullet in a shootout between Shakur's entourage and a rival group, though the ballistics tests proved the bullet was not from Shakur or any members of his entourage's guns. Criminal charges were not sought, and Shakur settled with the family for an amount estimated between $300,000 and $500,000. After serving part of his sentence upon a conviction, he was released on bail pending his appeal. On April 5, 1996, a judge sentenced him to serve 120 days in jail for violating terms of probation.
On the night of November 30, 1994, the day before the verdict in his sexual abuse trial was to be announced, Shakur was shot five times and robbed after entering the lobby of the Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan, by two armed Black men in army fatigue. He would later accuse Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs (now “P Diddy”), Andre Harrell and Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallis, who he claims he saw after the shooting, of setting him up to get shot. Shakur also suspected his close friend and associate, Randy "Stretch" Walker, of being involved in the attempt. According to the doctors at Bellevue Hospital, where he was admitted immediately following the incident, Shakur had received five bullet wounds; twice in the head, twice in the groin and once through the arm and thigh. He checked out of the hospital, against doctor's orders, three hours after surgery. In the day that followed, Shakur entered the courthouse in a wheelchair and was found guilty of three counts of molestation, but innocent of six others, including sodomy. On November 30, 1995, exactly one year to the day of the shooting, Walker was killed in an execution-style murder in Queens.
Jail Time and Coastal Fueds
Shakur began serving his prison sentence at Clinton Correctional Facility on February 14, 1995. Shortly afterwards, he released his multi-platinum album “Me Against the World.” Shakur is the only artist ever to have an album at number one on the Billboard 200 while serving a prison sentence. The album made its debut on the Billboard 200 and stayed at the top of the charts for five weeks. The record album had first week sales of 240,000 copies which was the record for highest first week sales for a solo male rap artist at the time.
Shakur married his long-time girlfriend, Keisha Morris, while serving his prison sentence. This marriage was later annulled.
While imprisoned, Shakur read many books by Niccolò Machiavelli, Sun Tzu's The Art of War and other works of political philosophy and strategy. He also wrote a screenplay titled “Live 2 Tell” while incarcerated. It was a story about an adolescent who became a drug baron.
In October of 1995, Shakur's case was on appeal, but due to all of his legal fees, he could not raise the $1.4 million bail. After serving 11 months of his one and a half to four and a half year sentences, Shakur was released from the penitentiary due in large part to the help and influence of Marion "Suge" Knight, CEO of Death Row Records. Knight posted $1.4 million bail pending appeal of the conviction, in exchange for which Shakur was obligated to release three albums for the Death Row label.
Upon his release from Clinton Correctional Facility, Shakur immediately went back to song recording. He began a new group, The Outlawz, and with them released the track "Hit 'Em Up," a scathing lyrical assault, also known as a “diss song,” about Notorious B.I.G. and others associated with him. In the track, Shakur attacks Bad Boy's street credibility. Bad Boy is the label Notorious and Puff Daddy were represented by. Although no hard evidence suggests so, Shakur was convinced that some members associated with Bad Boy records had known about the shooting that landed him in the hospital beforehand due to their behavior that night and what his sources told him.
Shakur aligned himself with Knight, who was already bitter toward Combs and his successful Bad Boy label. All of this this added fuel to building an East Coast-West Coast rivalry, that seemed to be turning violent. Both regional groups remained bitter enemies until Shakur's death.
In February of 1996, Shakur released his fourth solo album, “All Eyez on Me.” These double albums were the first and second of his three-album commitment to Death Row Records. It sold over 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. Rapper and producer, Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, left his post as house producer to form his own label, Aftermath. All the while, Knight was under investigation for illegal and unethical activities and business practices. Despite these problems, Shakur recorded hundreds of tracks during his time at Death Row, most of which would be released on posthumous albums such as “Better Dayz” and “Until the End of Time.” He also began the process of recording an album entitled “One Nation,” with the Boot Camp Clik and their label Duck Down Records, both New York-based.
While incarcerated in Clinton Correctional Facility, Shakur read and studied Niccolò Machiavelli and other published works, which inspired his pseudonym "Makaveli" under which he released the record 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. Shakur wrote and recorded all the lyrics in only three days and the production took another four days, combining for a total of only seven days to complete the album. The album was completely finished before Shakur died and Shakur had complete creative input on the album from the name of the album, to the cover, which Shakur chose to symbolize how the media had crucified him. The record debuted at number one and sold 663,000 copies in the first week. Shakur had plans of starting Makaveli Records which would have included people such as, the Wu-Tang Clan, The Outlawz, Big Daddy Kane, Big Syke, and Gang Starr.
The Night of the Fight
On the night of September 7, 1996, Shakur attended the Mike Tyson vs. Bruce Seldon boxing match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. After the fight, one of Knight's associates spotted 21-year-old Orlando "Baby Lane" Anderson, a member of the Southside Crips, a sect of the national Crips gang, in the MGM Grand lobby and had Shakur notified. Shakur rushed Anderson and knocked him to the ground. Shakur's entourage, as well as Knight and his followers, assisted in beating down Anderson. The event was captured on the hotel's video surveillance. A few weeks earlier, Anderson and a group of Crips gang members robbed a member of Death Row's entourage in a Foot Locker store, precipitating Shakur's anger. After the brawl, Shakur went to meet up with Knight and go to the Death Row-owned Club 662, now known as Club Seven. He rode in Knight's 1996 black BMW 750i sedan as part of a larger convoy with some of Shakur's friends, The Outlawz and bodyguards.
At 10:55 p.m., while paused at a red light, Shakur rolled down his window and a photographer took their photo. At around 11:00 p.m. to 11:05 p.m., they were halted on Las Vegas Boulevard by city police for playing the car stereo too loud and not having license plates, which were then found in the trunk of Knight's vehicle and though they weren’t fined, they were released a few minutes later. At nearly 11:10 p.m., while stopped at a red light at Flamingo Road near the intersection of Koval Lane in front of the Maxim Hotel, a vehicle accompanied by two women pulled over to an intersection on their right side. Shakur, who was standing up through the sunroof, exchanged words with the two women and invited them to go to Club 662. At approximately 11:15 p.m., a white four-door, late-model, Cadillac rode towards the BMW’s right side, one of the windows was rolled down, and someone rapidly fired around 12 to 13 gun shots at Shakur and Knight’s vehicle. Shakur was fatally struck by four rounds; one hit him in the chest, the pelvis, and his right hand and thigh. One of the rounds apparently ricocheted into Shakur's right lung. Knight was grazed in the head by shrapnel, though it is thought that a bullet grazed him According to Knight, a bullet from the gunfire had been lodged in his skull, and however, medical reports later contradicted this statement.
At the time of the shooting, Shakur was riding alongside Knight, with his bodyguard following behind in a vehicle belonging to Kidada Jones, Shakur's then-fiancée. The bodyguard, Frank Alexander, stated that when he was about to ride along with the rapper in Knight's car, Shakur asked him to drive Kidada Jones' car instead just in case they were too drunk and needed additional vehicles from Club 662 back to the hotel. Shortly after the shootings, the bodyguard reported in Shakur’s documentary, Before I Wake, that one of the convoy's cars drove off after the assailant but Alexander had never heard back from the occupants of whether they caught up to the murderer’s vehicle.
After arriving on the scene, police and paramedics took Shakur and Knight to the University Medical Center. According to an interview with one of Shakur's closest friends and music video director, while at the hospital, he received news from a Death Row marketing employee that the shooters had called the record label and were sending death threats aimed at Shakur, claiming that they were going there to "finish him off." Upon hearing this, Gobi immediately alerted the Las Vegas police, but the police claimed they were understaffed and no one could be sent. Nonetheless, the shooters never arrived. At the hospital, Shakur was in and out of consciousness; he was heavily sedated, breathed through a ventilator and respirator, was placed on life support machines and was ultimately put under a barbiturate-induced coma after repeatedly trying to get out of the bed.
Despite having been resuscitated in the trauma center and surviving a multitude of surgeries, as well the removal of a failed right lung, Shakur had gotten through the critical phase of the medical therapy and had a 50 percent chance of living. While in Critical Care Unit on the afternoon of September 13, 1996, Shakur died of internal bleeding; doctors attempted to revive him but could not stop his hemorrhaging. His mother, Afeni, made the decision to tell the doctors to stop. He was pronounced dead at 4:03 p.m. The official cause of death was respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest in connection with multiple gunshot wounds. Afterwards, Shakur's body was cremated; Shakur's ashes were spread over Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean, his aunt's land and his mother's land in North Carolina, and some were mixed with marijuana and smoked by The Outlawz. Family and friends spread the remaining ashes during a ceremony in Soweto, South Africa. The ceremony was delayed from September 13, 2006, to June 16, 2007, which would have been Shakur's 36th birthday.
Still No Answers
Due largely to the perceived lack of progress on the case by law enforcement, many independent investigations and theories of the murder have emerged. Because of the acrimony between him and rapper Notorious B.I.G., there was speculation from the outset of their rivalry about the possibility of Notorious B.I.G.’s collaboration in the murder. He, as well his family, relatives and associates, has vehemently denied this accusation. In a notable 2002 investigation by Los Angeles Times writer Chuck Phillips, claimed to have uncovered evidence that implicated Notorious B.I.G., Anderson and the Southside Crips gang, played key roles in the attack. In the article, Phillips quoted unnamed gang-member sources who claimed Notorious B.I.G. had ties to the Crips, and he often hired them for security during West Coast appearances. Phillips' informants also state that Notorious B.I.G. gave the gang members one of his own guns for use in slaying Shakur, and that he set out a $1,000,000 contract on Shakur's life. But by the time Phillips' specific allegations were published, Notorious B.I.G. himself had been murdered.
In support of their claims, Notorious B.I.G.'s family submitted documentation to MTV insinuating that he was working in a New York-based recording studio the night of the shooting. His manager Wayne Barrow and fellow rapper, James "Lil' Cease" Lloyd, made public announcements denying Notorious B.I.G.’s partaking in the crime and claimed further that they were both with him in the recording studio during the night of the event.
The high profile nature of the killing and ensuing gang violence caught the attention of British filmmaker Nick Broomfield, who made the documentary, Biggie & Tupac, which examines the lack of progress in the case by speaking to those close to the two slain rappers and the investigation. Shakur's close childhood friend and member of The Outlawz, Yafeu "Yaki Kadafi" Fula, was in the convoy when the shooting occurred and indicated to police that he might be able to identify the assailants. He was shot and killed shortly thereafter in a housing project in Irvington, N.J.
In the first few seconds of the song, "Intro/Bomb First (My Second Reply)," on the record album “The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory,” Shakur can be heard saying "Shoulda shot me." While some believed that Knight may have orchestrated Shakur's murder, theorists mistook the statement in the song as "Suge shot me" or "Suge shot 'em" until confirmation by multiple audio tests and confirmation from members of The Outlawz. This, along with reports of Knight's strong-arm tactics with artists and other illegal business tactics, including involvement with the Mob Piru Bloods gang, gave rise to a theory that Knight was complicit in the homicide, as it was supposedly reported that Knight owed Shakur up to $17,000,000 in back royalties. But no evidence has been provided to support this theory.
Other theories have been put forth, including a conspiracy theory that Shakur is alive and well, but in-hiding. Supporters of these theories point to the symbolism in Shakur's “The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory” album and in his music video for "I Ain't Mad at Cha." Efforts exposing these conspiracy theories include, 2Pac Lives: The Death of Makaveli / The Resurrection of Tupac Amaru released in 2005.
Life After Death
A DVD titled, Tupac Revelation was released on October 23, 2007, more than 11 years after Shakur's murder. It will explore aspects circulating the shooting and provide new insight about the cold case with details by Shakur's bodyguard, Alexander.
Near the end of his life, Shakur founded a movie development company called Euphanasia. Euphanasia is a constellation of euthanasia and euphoria. He wore the company’s chain, which is a silver chain with a medallion depicting the Black Angel of Death, on September 4, 1996, during the MTV Video Music Awards. He wore it again on September 7, 1996, during the Mike Tyson vs. Bruce Seldon bout when he was shot that night. Shakur was evidently planning to start writing and directing his own films that would be developed by Euphanasia; the company never materialized due to his death.
Shakur's first record album, “2Pacalypse Now,” revealed the socially conscious side of Shakur. On this album, Shakur attacked social injustice, poverty and police brutality through songs such as, "Brenda's Got a Baby," "Trapped" and "Part Time Mutha." His style on this album was highly influenced by the social consciousness and Afrocentrism pervading hip-hop in the late 1980s and early 1990s. On this initial release, Shakur helped extend the legacy 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 Blacks, with songs like "The Streetz R Deathrow" and "Last Wordz." He also showed his compassionate side with the inspirational 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, an increasingly aggressive attitude can be seen in Shakur's subsequent albums.
The contradictory themes of social inequality and injustice, unbridled aggression, compassion, playfulness and hope all continued to shape Shakur's work, as witnessed with the release of his incendiary 1995 album “Me Against the World.” In 1996, Shakur released “All Eyez on Me.” Many of these 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;'" “All Eyez on Me” was a change of style from his earlier works. While still containing conscious songs and themes, Shakur's album was heavily influenced by party tracks and tended to have a more "feel good" vibe than his first albums. Shakur described it as a celebration of life. Nonetheless, the record was critically and commercially successful.
Shakur and his work have insinuated and inspired many modern hip-hop artists. Eminem, Nas, Lloyd Banks, Rick Ross, Ja Rule, The Game and 50 Cent all acknowledge his influence on their work. The likes of Snoop Dogg, Diddy, Pharrell, Ghostface Killah, Lil' Scrappy, DMX, Lil' Jon, Mary J. Blige, Juvenile, Outkast, Jermaine Dupri, WC, Sean Paul, Ice Cube, Missy Elliott, Mike Tyson and Nelly have all named songs by Shakur that they personally enjoyed.
Shakur has one of the largest personal legacies of any music artist in history. The music and messages in his work permeated the styles of the following generations and his music had great impact all over the nation and world. At a Mobb Deep concert following the death of the famed icon Cormega recalled in an interview where the fans were all shouting "Makaveli."About.com has named Shakur the most influential rapper ever.
To preserve Shakur's legacy, his mother founded the Shakur Family Foundation, which was later re-named the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation or TASF, in 1997. TASF's stated mission is to "provide training and support for students who aspire to enhance their creative talents." TASF sponsors essay contests, charity events, a performing arts day-camp for teenagers and undergraduate scholarships. The Foundation officially opened the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts in Stone Mountain, Ga., on June 11, 2005.
On November 14, 2003, a documentary about Shakur entitled, Tupac: Resurrection was released under the supervision of Afeni and narrated entirely in Shakur’s voice. It was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2005 Academy Awards. Proceeds went to a charity set up by Afeni.
On April 17, 2003, Harvard University co-sponsored an academic symposium entitled "All Eyez on Me: Tupac Shakur and the Search for the Modern Folk Hero." The speakers discussed a wide range of topics dealing with Shakur's impact on everything from entertainment to sociology.
Many of the speakers discussed Shakur's status and public persona, including State University of New York English professor Mark Anthony Neal who gave the talk "Thug Nigga Intellectual: Tupac as Celebrity Gramscian," in which he argued that Shakur was an example of the "organic intellectual" expressing the concerns of a larger group. Neal has also indicated in his writings that the death of Shakur has left a "leadership void amongst hip-hop artists." Neal further describes Tupac as a "walking contradiction," a status that allowed him to "make being an intellectual accessible to ordinary people."
Professor of Communications Murray Forman of Northeastern University, spoke of the mythical status surrounding Shakur's life and death. He addressed the symbolism and mythology surrounding Shakur's death in his talk entitled "Tupac Shakur: O.G. Ostensibly Gone." Among his findings were that Shakur's fans have "succeeded in resurrecting Tupac as an ethereal life force." In "From Thug Life to Legend: Realization of a Black Folk Hero," Professor of Music at Northeastern University, Emmett Price, compared Shakur's public image to that of the trickster-figures of Black folklore, which gave rise to the urban "bad man" persona of the post-slavery period. He ultimately described Shakur as a "prolific artist" who was "driven by a terrible sense of urgency" in a quest to "unify mind, body, and spirit."
Michael Dyson, University of Pennsylvania Avalon Professor of Humanities and African-American Studies, and the author of the book, Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur, indicated that Shakur "spoke with brilliance and insight as someone who bears witness to the pain of those who would never have his platform. He told the truth, even as he struggled with the fragments of his identity." At one Harvard Conference, the theme was Shakur's impact on entertainment, race relations, politics and the hero/martyr persona. Late in 1997, the University of California, Berkeley offered a student-led course entitled "History 98: Poetry and History of Tupac Shakur." In late 2003, Afeni launched the Makaveli branded clothing line. In 2005, Death Row released, Tupac: Live at the House of Blues. The DVD was the final recorded performance of Shakur's career, which took place in July 4, 1996, and features a plethora of Death Row artists. In August 2006, Tupac Shakur Legacy was released. The interactive biography was written by Jamal Joseph. It features unseen family photographs, intimate stories and over 20 removable reproductions of his handwritten lyrics, contracts, scripts, poetry and other personal papers.
Shakur's sixth posthumous studio album, “Pac's Life,” was released on November 21, 2006. It commemorates the 10th anniversary of Shakur's death. He is still considered one of the most popular artists in the music industry as of 2007.
1991: 2Pacalypse Now
1993: Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
1994: Thug Life: Volume 1
1995: Me Against the World
1996: All Eyez on Me
1996: The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
1997: R U Still Down? (Remember Me)
1998: Greatest Hits
1999: Still I Rise
2001: Until the End of Time
2002: Better Dayz
2004: Loyal to the Game
2006: Pac's Life
Top 10 Billboard singles
1991: "Brenda's Got a Baby"
1991: "If My Homie Calls"
1993: "I Get Around"
1993: "Keep Ya Head Up"
1995: "Dear Mama"
1995: "Old School"
1995: "So Many Tears"
1996: "California Love"
1996: "How Do You Want It"
1997: "To Live & Die in L.A."
1997: "Made Niggaz"
1997: "Do For Love"
2002: "Thugz Mansion"
2003: "Runnin' (Dying to Live)"
2005: "Ghetto Gospel"
2006: "Pac's Life"
1997: Tupac Shakur: Thug Immortal
1997: Tupac Shakur: Words Never Die (TV)
2001: Tupac Shakur: Before I Wake...
2001: Welcome to Deathrow
2002: Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel: The Life of an Outlaw
2002: Biggie & Tupac
2002: Tha Westside
2003: 2Pac 4 Ever
2003: Tupac: Resurrection
2004: Tupac vs.
2004: Tupac: The Hip Hop Genius (TV)
2006: So Many Years, So Many Tears
2007: Tupac Revelation
2008: Notorious (TV)
Thru My Eyes: Thoughts on Tupac Shakur in Pictures and Words
Rebel for the Hell of It: The Life of Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur (They Died Too Young)
Got Your Back: The Life of a Bodyguard in the Hardcore World of Gangsta Rap
Back in the Day: My Life and Times With Tupac Shakur
Jesus and the Hip-Hop Prophets: Spiritual Insights from Lauryn Hill and Tupac Shakur
How Long Will They Mourn Me?: The Life and Legacy of Tupac Shakur
All Eyez on Me: The Life and Times of Tupac Shakur
Tough Love: Cultural Criticism & Familial Observations on the life and death of Tupac Shakur (Black Words Series)
Tupac Shakur (Just the Facts Biographies)
Tupac Shakur (People in the News)
Tupac Shakur (Rock Music Library)
Tupac and Elvis (Inevitably Restless)
Tupac Shakur (Hip-Hop Stars)
Static: My Tupac Shakur Story
Tupac Shakur: 2Pac in the Studio (The Studio Years (1989 - 1996))
The Rose That Grew From Concrete (1999)
Inside a Thug's Heart (2004)
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Thursday, December 13th 2007 at 1:45PM