Tupac Shakur

by: Deja Johnson

Early Life

Lesane Parish Crooks was born June 16th, 1971 to his mother Alice Faye Williams and his father Billy Garland. He was born in Harlem New York where he often couch surfed with his mother before they moved to Baltimore Maryland in 1986. Throughout Crooks’ life, his father was absent to the point that he thought his father was dead. His mother joined the Black Panther Party and renamed Crooks his legendary name Tupac Amaru Shakur. He was named after a Peruvian Revolutionary Tupac Amaru II. Williams also changed her name to Afeni Shakur. After settling into Baltimore Tupac attended the Baltimore School for the Arts where he excelled creatively and academically. Before graduating from the Baltimore School for the Arts his family relocated to Marin City California where Shakur was introduced to gang culture and began his career as a gangsta rapper.

Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.

Tupac Shakur

You gotta make a change. You see the old way wasn’t working so it’s on us, to do what we gotta do to survive.

Tupac Shakur

Professional Career

Although Tupac Shakur died on September 13th, 1996 his professional career is lengthy. After arriving in Marin City California Shakur joined Digital Underground an Oakland Rap group in 1990. In 1991 Shakur appeared on two Digital Underground albums and then later released his solo album 2 Pacalyspe Now. In 1992 Tupac started his acting career and appeared in the movie Juice. In 1993 he also appeared in Poetic Justice with pop star Janet Jackson. During this time he also released his second album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. Although Tupac was flourishing in the rap and acting industry he faced legal trouble. He was convicted for sexual assault in 1994 and had to serve time in jail. While incarcerated he released his third album Me Against the World in 1995. In 1995 Shakur also signed with Death Row Records which at the time was owned by Suge Knight. With Death Row Records he released All Eyez on Me in 1996 which debuted at #1 on Billboard and sold 5 million copies within the 1st year. Tupac also appeared in the movies Bullet and Gridlock’d. After his untimely demise, his legacy continued as he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. Tupac is still iconic and influential as his work in music and movies represented the African American youth. 


Throughout Tupac’s career, he was nominated and won many awards. In total, he has won 7 awards and has been nominated for 13.  

The picture on the right shows Tupac alongside Suge Knight, Snoop Dogg & MC Hammer at the 38th Grammy awards.

Social & Political Involvment

Tupac Shakur was not only an American Gangsta rapper and actor but he was also involved in political movements and social justice. His interest in politics began while Shakur was in school at the Baltimore School for the Arts where he started several campaigns. He started the “Stop the Killing Campaign” “Safe Sex Campaign” and “AIDS Prevention Campaign”. Tupac was also known to actively participate in several different grassroots organizations. At only 18 years old Shakur joined the New Afrikan Panthers, a group of young people whose focus was to work against police abuse, educate the public about NAO and advocate for the release of political prisoners. Tupac often expressed his social justice and political movement views in his music. The song “Trapped” is about police harassment in black and brown communities. The song “Words of Wisdom” recognizes racial discrimination. Within his political and social work Tupac created the ideology “Thug Ideology.” His ideology was developed around his own life experiences like growing up in a broken home with a mother who was addicted to drugs and an absent father. Due to the circumstances, he had at home Tupac turned to the streets just like others who grew up in broken homes and sought support systems from hustlers, and drug dealers.



1991 2Pacalyspe Now

1993 Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z

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)

1999 Still I Rise

2001 Until the End of Time

2002 Better Dayz

2003 Tupac: Resurrection

2004 Loyal to the Game


Juice (1992)

Gridlock’d (1997) …

Poetic Justice (1993) …

Bullet (1996) …

Above the Rim (1994) …

Gang Related (1997) …

Nothing But Trouble (1991) Tupac performs with Digital Underground in ‘Nothing But Trouble. …


Influenced Comteporaries

Tupac had a huge impact on the hip-hop and rap industry as lyrics were so powerful and related to those who listened. Although Tupac has been deceased for over twenty years many artists strive to reach the level of greatness that he achieved in such a short time. Many artists whose sound and lyrics are influenced by Tupac are Nipsey Hussle, Kendrick Lamar, and J Cole just to name a few. 

"Nobody in this game got my credentials. Just me and Pac," Jeezy told Hot 97. "As far as Hov, Hov is a businessman. Me and Pac is more so on revolutionary leadership. Hov, that’s my G. I respect anything he do. But he’s a boss. He makes boss moves. Me and Pac, we always on the ground level, trying to motivate and inspire."


Tupac's Death

Tupac was fatally shot on September 6th, 1996 in Las Vegas Nevada. He died six days later in the hospital due to his injuries. His death shook the world as many who never met him were greatly impacted. Many people can still remember where they were when they heard the bad news. His death impacted so many people because Tupac was revolutionary and paved the way for African Americans especially the youth. He showed people how to survive and make it out of the hood despite the circumstances while making music that related to the everyday struggle.





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