Rapper Tupac Shakur died 20 years ago Tuesday, leaving behind not only an artistic legacy but also a socially conscious one. The artist, born Lesane Parish Crooks in 1971, was known for addressing issues like racism, politics and hardship in his songs and interviews.
"When people say ’Pac is the best rapper of all time, they don’t just mean he's the best rapper," Complex reported rapper Shock G said in the documentary "Thug Angel." "They just mean what he had to say was the most potent, most relevant and that he was the better human being."
During his short career, Shakur topped the Billboard charts despite having legal troubles — he was convicted for sexual abuse in 1994, according to the New York Times. Two years later, the controversial artist was shot four times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. Shakur died at the hospital one week later.
Since then, conspiracy theories have circulated about his death as his music has grown in popularity — the rapper earns about $3.5 million every year, according to Forbes.
If you're spending time listening to Shakur's songs Tuesday, you should also read some of his most famous quotes. Check out 15 well-known Shakur sayings and lyrics below, collected from the Independent, Goodreads and 2pac2k.de:
"Every time I speak I want the truth to come out. Every time I speak I want a shiver. I don’t want them to be like they know what I’m gonna say because it’s polite. I'm not saying I’m gonna rule the world or I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee you that I will spark the brain that will change the world."
"For every dark night, there’s a brighter day."
"Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature's laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared."
"The seed must grow regardless of the fact that it's planted in stone."
"No matter what these people say about me, my music does not glorify any image, my music is spiritual if you listen to it. It's all about emotion, it's all about life."
"All I’m trying to do is survive and make good out of the dirty, nasty, unbelievable lifestyle that they gave me."
"If I was white, I would be like John Wayne. I feel like a tragic hero in a Shakespeare play. Somebody who pulled himself up by his bootstraps from poverty."
"You have to work from one point to go to another."
"If we really are saying rap is an art form, then we got to be more responsible for our lyrics. If you see everybody dying because of what you saying, it don’t matter that you didn’t make them die, it just matters that you didn’t save them."
"My mama always used to tell me: 'If you can't find somethin' to live for, you best find somethin' to die for.'"
"Is it a crime to fight for what is mine?"
"Never surrender. It’s all about the faith you got: Don’t ever stop, just push it 'til you hit the top, and if you drop, at least you know you gave your all to be true to you. That way you can never fall."
"I see no changes, all I see is racist faces. Misplaced hate makes disgrace for races."
"The addict in Tupac is dead. The excuse maker in Tupac is dead. The vengeful Tupac is dead. The Tupac that would stand by and let dishonorable things happen is dead. God let me live for me to do something extremely extraordinary, and that's what I have to do."
"That which does not kill me can only make me stronger. And I don't see why everybody feel as though that they gotta tell me how to live my life. Let me live, baby, let me live."