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Tupac Shakur Biography

Home > Music > S > Shakur, Tupac > Biography

Birth Name: Tupac Amaru Shakur
Born: 1971/06/16
Birth Place: Marin City, California, U.S.
Died: 1996/09/13
Years Active: 1988–1996 (rapping) 1990–1996 (acting)
Genres: Hip Hop

Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper. Shakur has sold over 75 million albums worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. In the United States alone he has sold over 37.5 million records. In addition to his career as a top-selling rap artist, he was a promising actor, and a social activist. Most of Shakur's songs are about growing up amid violence and hardship in ghettos, and conflicts with other rappers during the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry. Shakur began his career as a roadie and backup dancer for the alternative hip hop group Digital Underground.

In September 1996, Shakur was shot four times in the Las Vegas metropolitan area of Nevada. He was taken to the University Medical Center, where he died of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. “2Pacalypse Now,” his debut album, was released in November 1991. It went on to be certified gold by the RIAA. It featured three singles, "Brenda's Got a Baby," "Trapped," and "If My Homie Calls." “Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.” debuted at #24 on the Billboard 200 in 1993. It spawned the hits "Keep Ya Head Up" and "I Get Around" and reached platinum certification.

Released March 14, 1995 while Shakur was imprisoned for sexual assault, “Me Against the World” debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and became certified 2x platinum by the end of the year. This ultimately made Shakur the first artist to have an album debut at #1 on Billboard 200 while serving time in prison. "Dear Mama" would be the album's most successful single, topping the Hot Rap Singles chart, and peaking at the ninth spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The single was certified platinum in July 1995. His most successful album was the 9x platinum selling “All Eyez on Me,” released in February 1996 on Death Row Records and Interscope Records. It was the last album released during 2Pac's lifetime, before he died 7 months later.

Since his death, eight additional albums featuring Shakur have been released with all but one certified as platinum while two, “Until the End of Time” (2001) and “Loyal to the Game” (2004) reached #1 on the Billboard 200 Album and Top R&B/Hip hop Albums charts.