Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), known by his stage names 2Pac (or simply Pac) and Makaveli, was a rapper. Shakur has sold over 75 million albums worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. In the United States alone he has sold 37.5 million records.
Shakur’s professional entertainment career began in the early 1990s, when he debuted his rapping skills in a vocal turn in Digital Underground’s “Same Song” from the soundtrack to the 1991 film Nothing But Trouble and also appeared with the group in the film of the same name. The song was later released as the lead song of the Digital Underground EP This Is An E.P. Release, the follow-up to their debut hit album Sex Packets. Shakur appeared in the accompanying music video. After his rap debut, he performed with Digital Underground again on the album Sons Of The P. Later, he released his first solo album, 2Pacalypse Now.
2Pacalypse Now did not do as well on the charts as future albums, spawning no top ten hits. His second record, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., was released in 1993.
In late 1993, Shakur formed the group Thug Life with a number of his friends, including Big Syke, Macadoshis, his stepbrother Mopreme Shakur, and Rated R. The group released their only record album Thug Life: Volume 1 on September 26, 1994, which went gold. The album featured the single “Pour Out A Little Liquor” produced by Johnny “J” Jackson, who went on to produce a large part of Shakur’s album All Eyez On Me.
In addition to his career as a top-selling rap artist, he was a promising actor, and a social activist. Most of Shakur’s songs are about growing up amid violence and hardship in ghettos, racism, other social problems, and conflicts with other rappers during the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry. Shakur began his career as a roadie and backup dancer for the alternative hip hop group Digital Underground.
In September 1996, Shakur was shot four times in Las Vegas. He was taken to the University Medical Center, where he died of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.