Tupac Amaru Shakur, better known by his stage name 2Pac and by his alias Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential rappers of all time.
Named after a Peruvian revolutionary and raised by a family heavily involved in the Black Panther movement, Tupac Shakur (aka 2Pac) brought a potent political outlook to gangsta rap and became an icon for a generation. Beginning his career as an MC for Oakland hip hop collective Digital Underground, his debut solo album 2Pacalypse Now (1991) made little impact but thanks to follow-up Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. (1993) and an acting role in inner-city drama movie Juice, his star quickly started to rise.
A controversial figure who became embroiled in the East Coast vs West Coast gang wars and feuded fiercely with rival rapper Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac was shot five times in November 1994 just days before being found guilty of sexual assault.
He became the first artist to reach Number 1 while incarcerated when Me Against The World (1995) topped the charts. He went on to sign a deal with Suge Knight’s Death Row Records and scored the huge hit single California Love with his new group Outlaw Immortalz, before fourth solo album All Eyez On Me (1996) sold over 9 million copies and cemented his reputation as the biggest hip hop star in the world.
At the peak of his fame in 1996 2Pac was wounded in a drive-by shooting while driving back from a Mike Tyson fight in Las Vegas. He died six days later from the internal bleeding aged 27, but his legacy as a socially conscious rap superstar continues to grow with numerous posthumous releases.