Surprising Facts About Tupac Shakur

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In the world of hip-hop, there is no figure more iconic than Tupac Shakur. Selling over 75 million records, the rapper was nominated for six Grammys. For many years, his death at the young age of 25 gave rise to numerous conspiracy theories. With so many fans worldwide, there is hardly a facet of Tupac’s biography that hasn’t been unturned. Here’s a list of intriguing facts about the famous rapper that you probably didn’t know.

His First Name is Peruvian

2Pac’s birth name was Lesane Parish Crooks. His mother, Afeni Shakur, decided to legally change his name to honor the famous Peruvian revolutionary, Tupac Amaru II, who was a descendant of the last Incan ruler. He organized the failed insurrection against the Spanish, which led to his execution. His name is derived from the Quechua words thupaq, meaning “royal” or “shining” and amaru, which can either mean “snake” or refer to the snake-like being from Andean mythology.

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Tupac Amaru II image
Tupac Amaru II

Explaining the name choice, the rapper’s mother said that she wanted him to have the name of a famous revolutionary and to be aware that he is part of the world’s culture.

Shakespeare Was an Inspiration


During his time at the Baltimore School of Arts, the rapper studied ballet, acting, and poetry. He also took a keen interest in William Shakespeare’s works and performed in numerous plays. When describing the famous playwright’s impact on him, Tupac said that Shakespeare’s most famous play, “Romeo and Juliet,” was “some serious ghetto s**t.” 

His Parents Were in the Black Panther Party

In the 1970s, the rapper’s parents actively participated in the Black Panther Party. Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur was actively involved in the organization, which led to her subsequent conviction. Later, she was acquitted of conspiracy against the U.S. government.

Seven of Tupac’s Albums Were Released Posthumously

Tupac was a prodigious artist who recorded multiple tracks before he died in 1996. Seven albums that were released after the rapper’s death have managed to sell millions of copies.

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When he served jail time for sexual assault in 1994, his track “Me Against the World” reached number one on the Billboard 200 chart

The Rapper Dated Madonna

The couple dated in the early 1990s, although the romance between the two was never confirmed. In 2015, the famous American singer corroborated the rumors, saying that she was dating the rapper at the time, and that “he got me all riled up on life in general.”

Tupac was also a close friend of Jada Pinkett (Will Smith’s wife), who called the rapper her soulmate. “If there is such a thing as past lives, I definitely think that Pac and I have traveled a few together,” she said.

He is a Part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Tupac Shakur became the first solo hip-hop artist to become part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In April 2017, his late friend, Snoop Dogg, did the honors by inducting Tupac into the most prestigious award. 

Tupac Shakur’s influence on music is undeniable. From Eminem to Kendrick Lamar, a lot of modern artists find inspiration in this hip-hop icon’s outlaw spirit and struggle against oppression.

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