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TUPAC SHAKUR

“ Poverty, murder, violence and never a day 2 rest.” Those were the words of Tupac Shakur, a legendary rapper. Tupac Amaru Shakur (born June 16, 1971 вЂ" September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names 2Pac, Makaveli, or simply Pac, was an American artist renowned for his rapping and hip hop music, as well as his movie roles, poetry, and his social activism. He is recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest-selling rap artist, with over 75 million albums sold worldwide, including over 50 millions in the United States alone. Most of Shakur's songs are about growing up around violence and hardship in ghettos, racism, problems in society, and sometimes qualms with other rappers. Shakur's work is known for advocating political, economic, social, and racial equality as well as his raw descriptions of violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and conflicts with the law. Many fans, critics, and industry insiders rank him as the greatest rapper ever.

Tupac Amaru Shakur was born in the East Harlem section of Manhattan in New York City, New York. He was named after TÐ"Ñ"pac Amaru II, an Incan revolutionary who led an indigenous uprising against Spain and received capital punishment. His mother, Afeni Shakur, was an active member of the Black Panther Party in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Shakur was born just one month after her acquittal on more than 100 charges of "conspiracy against the United States government and New York landmarks" in the New York Panther 21 court case. Although officially unconfirmed by the Shakur family, several sources list his birth name as either "Parish Lesane Crooks" or "Lesane Parish Crooks". Afeni feared her enemies would attack her son, and disguised their relation using a different last name, only to change it three months or a year later, following her marriage to Mutulu Shakur.

Struggle and incarceration surrounded Shakur from an early age. His godfather, Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, a high ranking Black Panther, was convicted of murdering a school teacher during a 1968 robbery although his sentence was later overturned. His stepfather, Mutulu Shakur, spent four years at large on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list beginning in 1982, when Shakur was a pre-teen. Mutulu was wanted in part for having helped his sister Assata Shakur (also known as Joanne Chesimard), Tupac's godmother, to escape from a penitentiary in New Jersey, where she had been incarcerated for allegedly shooting a state trooper to death in 1973. Mutulu was caught in 1986 and imprisoned for an attempted robbery of a Brinks armored car in which two police officers and a guard were killed. Tupac had a half-sister, Sekyiwa, two years his junior, and an older step-brother, Mopreme "Komani" Shakur, who appeared on many of his recordings.

At the age of twelve, Shakur enrolled in Harlem's famous "127th Street Ensemble." His first major role with this acting group was as Travis in A Raisin in the Sun. In 1984, his family relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, After completing his second year at Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School, he transferred to the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he studied acting, poetry, jazz, and ballet. He performed in Shakespeare plays and had the role of the Mouse King in The Nutcracker.

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