Real name: Tupac Amaru Shakur
Birthdate: June 16, 1971
Click here for more images!
Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names 2Pac, Makaveli, or simply Pac, was an American artist renowned for his rap music, as well as his movie roles, poetry, and his social activism. He is recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest-selling hip-hop artist, with over 75,000,000 albums sold worldwide, including over 50,000,000 in the United States alone. Most of Shakur's songs are about growing up around violence and hardship in ghettos, racism, problems in society, and sometimes qualms with other rappers. Shakur's work is known for advocating political, economic, social, and racial equality as well as his raw descriptions of violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and conflicts with the law. Many fans, critics, and industry insiders rank him as the greatest rapper ever.
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 in an apparent robbery attempt after entering the lobby of the Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan by two armed black men in army fatique. He would later accuse Puff Daddy, Andre Harrell and Biggie Smalls — whom he saw after the shooting — of setting him up. According to the doctors at Bellevue Hospital, where he was admitted immediately following the incident, Shakur was shot five times, 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 sexual abuse, but innocent of six others, including sodomy.
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 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. He married his long-time girlfriend, Keisha Morris, while serving his sentence. This marriage was later annulled. While in prison, 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, a story about an adolescent who becomes a drug baron.
Shakur's work has influenced many modern rap 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.