June 1-6, ’71, The Day Mama Pushed Me Out Her Womb, Told me, “Nigga, get paid!”
Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known as 2Pac, Makaveli, or simply just Pac was an iconic American Rapper, Actor, and Social Activist. Tupac’s image as a Thug, and his Thug-Life persona, appealed to fans across the nation and around the world. He is one of the best selling music artists worldwide, and considered as one of the best and the most influential Rap Artist ever. Tupac’s life was unfortunately cut short, after he was shot to death in 1996, at the age of 25, but his legacy lives on to this day. Today, Tupac would of celebrated his 47th birthday.
Tupac was born on June 16, 1971 in the East Harlem section of Manhattan, in New York City. His mother is Afeni Shakur, who was an active member of the Blank Panther Party in the late sixties and seventies, and his biological father is Billy Garland, who also was a Black Panther member. Tupac was born a month after his mom was acquitted on more than 150 charges, which were charges against the U.S. government by the Panthers.
His mother put his birth name as Lesane Parish Crooks, to disguise his true identity, because she feared that her enemies would attack her son. However, in 1972 after Afeni had separated from Garland, and had married Mutulu Shakur, Tupac’s Step-Father, she renamed her son, Tupac Amaru Shakur, after an Incan ruler who was sentenced to death by the Spaniards, the name Tupac Amaru means, Shining Serpent, in the Inca language. Shakur had a half-sister, Sekyiwa, who was two years younger than him, and an older stepbrother, Mopreme Shakur, who appeared on many of his recordings.
Tupac Shakur was not only a rapper. He was an actor; he played in several movies before his death, and was going to release more, if he had not died. And he also was a social activist. Through his music and image, he cried out to higher authorities to look out for the people in the slums and the ghettos. In his songs he explains the troubles of the people in the urban areas, he reflects on how they need help, and also gets mad at how the government does not care.
He is a very big influence to people worldwide for who he represented, as in a young black male, who came out of the slums, became famous, and wanted to make a change. He was also a strong poet; his works are very inspirational and influential. In many interviews, Tupac has claimed that he would soon try to start a political party, for the people who are not represented by the government, including African-Americans, Mexicans, Armenians and more. He was a very complex artist.
He had the Thug-Life persona, of not a gangster, but a thug, a black male from the streets, who held his own, yet he had a soft side, and expressed it in his music. For example he addresses to Black women in the ghettos to be strong, he motivates them like in “Keep Ya Head Up”, and he also expresses his soft side through songs such as “Dear Mama” and more. He read works of Machiavelli, Maya Angelou and more. And he has said, “I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.”
Tupac’s legacy lives on to this day, and he is known world-wide. Rappers today always make references to him. About.com named him the most influential rapper. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized him as the highest selling rapper, he was inducted in the Hip Hop Hall of Fame in 2002, he has made it has Number 1 MC on MTV in 2003, fans have voted him as the greatest rapper of all time in the Vibe magazine poll in 2004. And he is also in the Definitive 200 list of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He is known as the King of Rap by many. His mother has founded the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, and the foundation opened the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts. Just last year, in 2017, a biopic called All Eyez on Me, hit cinemas worldwide, celebrating his life and music. Many consider Tupac Shakur to be a voice of a generation and a revolutionary. The Legacy of Tupac Amaru Shakur lives on today, through his music, the music of The Outlawz and through fans worldwide.
Happy 47th Birthday Pac’ your legacy will live forever.