Tupac Amaru Shakur (/ˈtuːpɑːk ʃəˈkʊər/ TOO-pahk shə-KOOR; born Lesane Parish Crooks, June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), better known by his stage name 2Pac, was an American rapper and actor. Considered by many to be one of the most influential rappers of all time, much of Shakur’s work has been noted for addressing contemporary social issues that plagued inner cities, and he is considered a symbol of resistance and activism against inequality.
Shakur was born in the Manhattan borough of New York City but relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1988. He later moved to Los Angeles in 1993 to further pursue his music career. By the time he released his debut album 2Pacalypse Now in 1991, he had become a central figure in West Coast hip hop, introducing social issues in the genre at a time when gangsta rap was dominant in the mainstream. Shakur achieved further critical and commercial success with his follow-up albums Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z… (1993) and Me Against the World (1995).
Shakur became heavily involved in the growing East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry between 1995 and 1996. His double-disc album All Eyez on Me (1996) became certified Diamond by the RIAA. On September 7, 1996, Shakur was shot four times by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas; he died six days later and the gunman was never captured. The Notorious B.I.G., Shakur’s friend turned rival, was at first considered a suspect, but was also murdered in another drive-by shooting six months later. Five more albums have been released since his death, all of which have been certified platinum in the United States.
Shakur is one of the best-selling music artists of all time having sold over 75 million records worldwide. In 2002, he was inducted into the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame. In 2017, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone named Shakur in its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Outside music, Shakur also gained considerable success as an actor, with his starring roles as Bishop in Juice (1992), Lucky in Poetic Justice (1993) where he starred alongside Janet Jackson, Ezekiel in Gridlock’d (1997), and Jake in Gang Related (1997), all garnering praise from critics.