Tupac Shakur: remembering the versatile rapper [Pictures, Video]

 @ibtimes on June 16 2011 3:48 PM
  • Tupac Shakur
    A prisoner in New York claims he was hired to kill Tupac Shakur in 1994. Reuters
  • Tupac Shakur
    A new book alleges Sean Combs arranged for Tupac Shakur to be killed. Reuters
  • Afeni Shakur
    Afeni Shakur, mother of the late top selling hip-hop singer Tupac Shakur poses at the premiere of the new documentary film "Tupac Resurrection", November 4, 2003 in Hollywood. Reuters
1 of 3

2pac, (Tupac Amaru Shakur), the Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. Over the span of his short career, which was ended by his untimely death in 1996 when he was murdered, and even after his death, 2pac graced the cover of numerous magazines. 2pac was so influential to rap music that RollingStone rated him as the 86th greatest artist of all time.

In 1994, the same year that 2pac was shot five times (allegedly) by newly confessed shooter, Dexter Isaac, 2pac was shown on the cover of Vibe Magazine's February issue. The headline read, Is Tupac Crazy Or Just Misunderstood? It seems those who knew him best would say he was the latter of the two.

2pac, the influential artist

In a video interview Jermaine Dupri said of the rapper, 2pac was one of the first people to break Hollywood and do movies and whatever, sell five million records. It's hard for rap artists to do that, especially with it being his third or fourth album. 

It's hard to do the third album, sell five million joints . . . and it's hard to get in the movies. I just think overall we lost one of the best artists in the rap game. 

T-Boz, from R&B group TLC, said of 2pac, The person I knew 2pac as, he was like very intelligent and to me like society and people who always talk bad about him had the wrong vision of what kind of person he really was. 

2pac has had 10 biographical movies made of him since his death, and speculation of whether or not he is really dead has continued to swirl amongst some fans and conspiracy theorists, perhaps because his unexpected death came too soon for many.

2pac appeared as an actor in several projects, most notably, 'Poetic Justice,' also starring Janet Jackson. His sensitive portrayal of his character 'Lucky' made fans adore him even more.

In a 2010 interview, his co-star Janet Jackson said of the late rapper: Pac was just silly. He was completely different from what people knew.

Not that it was an act, the person that the world knew, because that was him, too. I adored him; he liked to play and laugh.

I remember when he said he was going back into LA to get a tattoo. And, I said, 'Why are you going to LA? We're not supposed to leave, we have to shoot tomorrow.'

He looked at me and said, 'Square!' When he came back he showed me the tattoo he got on his stomach. He was sweet. Granted, there was another side, but he wouldn't just snap or go crazy out of nowhere. There had to be something that triggered that. I miss him.

Some of 2pac's most memorable songs include, California Love, Changes, I Wonder If Heaven's Got a Ghetto, Life Goes On, Me Against The World, & Keep Your Head Up.

The 1994 shooting

Yesterday, on the eve of 2pac's birthday Isaac gave a statement that he was involved in the 1994 shooting of 2pac. In his statement to AllHipHop.com he wrote: In 1994, James [Jimmy Henchman] Rosemond hired me [for $2,500] to rob Tupac at the Quad studio, plus all the jewelry I took. I still have as proof the chain that we took that night in the robbery.

He continued, I want to apologize to his [Tupac's] family and for the mistake I did for that sucker [James Rosemond], Dexter Isaac toldAllHipHop.com from prison. I am trying to clean it up to give [Tupac and Biggie's] mothers some closure.

Perhaps it was a clearing of Isaac's conscious, or perhaps it was some sort of poetic justice for Rosemond who is currently on the run from Federal officials for unrelated charges (it was he who apparently orchestrated the ambush on 2pac's on November 30, 1994).

Jimmy [James Rosemond], I say to you: I have kept your secrets for years. Now I would like to clear up a few things, because the statute of limitations is over, and no one can be charged, and I'm just plain tired of listening to your lies.

2pac's would be birthday

Today would be the 'California Love' rapper's 40th birthday. And although he was murdered 15 years ago, his music still lives on today.

2pac has had a strong influence on rap music, and therefore, tonight Erykah Badu and other artists are honoring his birthday at the Symphony Hall-Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.

The concert will benefit the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation. Badu will headline the concert, with additional performances from jazz great Roy Ayers, Bun B, 8BallMJG, Too Short and others.

We're celebrating Tupac's birthday, which I thought was very nice, said Ayers to AccessAtlanta.com. He [2pac] sampled my music in the past, as many rappers and hip-hoppers have done.

Watch the trailer for 'Poetic Justice'

Watch a scene with 2pac and Jackson:

  Watch 2pac speak about 'Poetic Justice'

Join the Discussion