Tupac Amaru Shakur was an American artist renowned for his rap music, movie roles, poetry, and his social activism. He is recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best selling hip-hop artist, with over seventy-five million albums sold worldwide including over fifty million 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 fellow 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.
In 1990, Shakur was a roadie and backup dancer for the alternative rap group Digital Underground. Shakur's debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, gained critical recognition and backlash for its controversial lyrics. Shakur became the target of lawsuits and experienced other legal problems. Later, Shakur was shot five times in a recording studio lobby in Manhattan and was robbed. Following the incident, Shakur grew suspicious that other figures in the rap industry had prior knowledge of the shooting and did not warn him; the controversy would help spark the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry. After serving eleven months of his sentence, Shakur was released from prison on an appeal financed by Marion "Suge" Knight, the CEO of Death Row Records. In exchange for Suge's assistance, Shakur agreed to release three records under the Death Row label. Shakur's fifth album, the first double-disc release in hip hop history All Eyez on Me, counted as two albums. On September 7, 1996, Shakur was shot four times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, and died six days later of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest at University Medical Center, Las Vegas.
A memorial of Tupac Shakur at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia.
A bronze statue of Shakur at the Peace Garden in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
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