Infamous 25-year-old gangsta rapper and actor Tupac Shakur was shot and killed before he had a chance to fulfill the promise of a successful career in both fields. He was born in New York City and his mother Afeni Shakur was a member of the Black Panther Party. Shakur spent much of his youth in Oakland, CA, where he first gained notice as a rapper in 1991 with the group Digital Underground. Later that year, he released a solo album, 2Pacalypse Now that earned both notoriety and acclaim from fans of the genre. Shakur began his acting career in the late '80s with an appearance on the television series A Different World. He made his feature film debut in 1992 with the film Juice and followed it up co-starring with Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice in 1993. Shakur had a certain charisma that always made him stand out in his films. This was especially true in Gridlock'd (1997) which proved that the versatile young artist had the makings of being a major star. Unfortunately, he was murdered during a drive-by shooting outside a Las Vegas hotel a few months before its release. Just before he died, Shakur was also involved in another film, Gang Related (1997).
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- Worked as a roadie and backup dancer for the hip-hop group Digital Underground.
- Was a childhood friend of Jada Pinkett Smith and wrote a poem about her entitled "Jada."
- In February of 1995, became the first artist ever to have the No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 list while serving a prison sentence.
- His album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory was released after his death and reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
- His song "Dear Mama" was added to the National Recording Registry in 2010.
- Is the subject of more than a dozen documentary films.
- Fifteen years after his death, "performed" at the 2012 Coachella Music Festival as a hologram.