Tupac Shakur Essay

1365 words - 5 pages

Tupac Shakur became the unlikely martyr of gangsta rap, becoming the tragic symbol of hardcore rap. At the outset of his career, it didn't appear that he would emerge as one of the definitive rappers of the '90s, especially since he was a second-string rapper for Digital Underground, joining after they had their biggest hit. But in 1992, he delivered an acclaimed debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, which quickly followed with a star-making performance in the urban drama, Juice. Over the course, of one year his profile raised substantially, as he became as well-known for his run-ins with the law as he did for his music. By 1994, 2-Pac was rivalling Snoop Doggy Dogg as the most controversial figure in rap, as he was spending as much time in prison as he was in the recording studio. His burgeoning outlaw mythology helped his 1995 album Me Against the World enter the charts at number one, and it also opened himself up to charges of exploitation. Yet, as the single "Dear Mama" illustrated, he was capable of sensitivity as well as violence. Unfortunately, the gangsta lifestyle he captured in his music soon overtook his own life. Signing with Death Row Records in late 1995, Shakur released the double-album All Eyez on Me in the spring of 1996, and the record, as well as its hit single "California Love," confirmed his superstar status. While his celebrity was at its peak, he was publicly fighting with his rival the Notorious B.I.G. and there were tensions brewing at Death Row. Even with such conflicts, 2-Pac's drive-by-shooting in September 1996 was unexpected. On September 13, six days after the shooting, Shakur passed away, leaving behind a legacy that was based as much on his lifestyle as it was his music.The son of two Black Panther members, Tupac Amaru Shakur was born in New York City. His parents had separated before he was born, and his mother moved him and his sister around the country for much of their childhood. Frequently, the family was at the poverty level, but Shakur managed to gain acceptence to the prestigious Baltimore School of the Arts as a teenager. While he was at the school, his creative side flourished, as he began writing raps and acting. Before he could graduate, his family moved to Marin City, California, when he was 17 years old. Over the next few years, he lived on the streets and began hustling. Eventually, he met Shock-G, the leader of Digital Underground. The Oakland-based crew decided to hire him as a dancer and roadie, and as he toured with the group, he worked on his own material. 2-Pac made his first recorded appearence on the group's spring 1991 record This is an E.P Release, and he also appeared on their second album, Sons of the P. The following year, he released his own debut, 2Pacalypse Now. The album became a word-of-mouth hit, as "Brenda's Got a Baby" reached the R&B Top 30 and the record went gold. However, its blunt and explicit lyrics earned criticisms for moral watchdogs, and Vice President Dan Quayle attacked...

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