2Pac (born Lesane Parish Crooks in New York, 1971 - also known as Tupac Amaru Shakur or Makaveli) is one of rap's most storied artists. His pioneering role in gangster rap and his untimely death are hip-hop touchstones.
2Pac began rapping while working with the group Digital Underground. He was already politically inclined thanks to his upbringing and background, and soon began to establish himself as a noted rap talent. He would go on to release several recognised classic albums, and although his beginnings were in New York he came to symbolise the West Coast rap scene, with its focus on Los Angeles gangster rap.
In addition, he came to prominence thanks to his association with Death Row Records, a noted gangster rap label. His success largely defined the label and the career of its owner, former football player Suge Knight.
1991 - Releases Same Song, with Digital Underground
1991 - Releases debut album 2Pacalypse Now
1993 - Landmark album Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z
1993 - Forms rap group Thug Life
1994 - Survives five bullets in Manhattan
1995 - Begins prison sentence on sexual assault charge
1995 - Forms rap group The Outlawz
1996 - Releases album All Eyez On Me
1996 - Releases track Hit 'Em Up, which sparks a feud with fellow rapper Notorious B.I.G
1996 - Killed in Las Vegas shooting
2Pac is noted for having several undisputed classic albums under his belt, including Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z (1993) and All Eyez On Me (1996).
In addition, if you can call it an achievement, his role in the coastal wars of hip-hop (sparked largely by his track Hit 'Em Up, which targeted Notorious B.I.G) is a landmark moment in the genre, and although it is looked back on with unease it is an important moment in rap history.
Remarkably, new albums from 2Pac are continually released to this day, based on newly discovered material and B-sides. He influenced countless generations of rappers, and his role in the 1990s rap scene is absolutely crucial.
- Previous article
- Reading list
- Next article
- 1 on 1