June 16th marks the birthday of one of the most influential rappers of all time.
Tupac Shakur, born Lesane Parish Crooks, known by his stage names 2Pac, Pac, and Makaveli, is a widely respected rap icon, not just in the music industry but also outside it for his poetic deliverance of words, character, and outlook on life. The rawness of his lyrics and the way he rapped resonated with an entire generation and, to this day, his music deeply touches and speaks to people around the world.
Tupac became a victim and a tragic symbol, as he was assassinated when he had so much more to share with the world, just like so many others who left us too soon. Tupac had established himself as one of the definitive rappers of the ’90s era. He started off as a second-string rapper and dancer for Digital Underground and went on to produce and release his debut album “2Pacalypse Now” in 1991. He quickly became the buzz around town, and soon entered Hollywood with his acclaimed performance in the movie “Juice,” directed by Ernest Dickerson in 1992.
His outlaw antics paved the way for his album “Me Against the World” in 1995. It topped the charts at number one but this also opened him up to charges of exploitation. Tupac had a sensitive side, however, and this is apparent in his lyrics and singles like ‘Dear Mama.’ Following a prison sentence, Suge Knight, CEO of Death Row Records, bailed Tupac out after nine months in exchange for a three-record deal with him.
At the peak of his career, he fought fellow rapper Notorious B.I.G, and tensions were brewing between him and Death Row Records as well. The rivalry between East Coast and West Coast hip-hop intensified, and on September 7, 1996, after attending a boxing match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Tupac was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting. He died in hospital a few days later on September 13.
Leaving behind an unmatched legacy, Tupac’s death shocked the world, with hundreds of mourners showing up outside the hospital where he passed away. The entire entertainment industry was shaken, especially since there were no leads in the case. Still, it was believed that Tupac’s death would end the East Coast/West Coast rivalry but, six months after his death, rapper Notorious B.I.G was also murdered in similar circumstances. A number of posthumous releases followed Tupac’s death, the biggest of them being “Don Killuminati” and “R U Still Down?” in 1996 and 1997, “Still I Rise” in 1999, “Until the End of Time” in 2001, and “Better Dayz” in 2002.
Jada Pinkett Smith is sharing a never-before-seen poem from Tupac Shakur. Jada took to Instagram ahead of what would have been the music legend’s 50th birthday, and shared a poem she says, “You may have never heard before.”
“Tupac Amaru Shakur would have been 50 midnight tonight!,” Jada shared in an Instagram video, showing off the handwritten poem by her longtime friend, who died in 1996. “As we prepare to celebrate his legacy … let’s remember him for that which we loved most … his way with words. Here are a few you may have never heard before✨ Happy “you goin’n to be 50 at midnight” Birthday Pac! 😆 I got next😜P.s I was planning to post tomorrow which is why the video says today is Pac’s bday. But I decided to start earlyyyyy✨.”