There are few hip hop artists who have had such an immense impact on the music world as Tupac Shakur. The West Coast rapper was born in New York City, and would enter the music business through a guest spot on a Digital Underground track in 1991. From those collaborations, it was a short step to Interscope Records, where he would create another two solo albums before launching into fame and fortune with the group Thug Life. Shakur’s career would be defined by controversy, legal problems and escalating violence. He was in and out of prison the majority of his time in the spotlight for a variety of charges including assault and sexual abuse. He also dealt with harsh public reaction to his lyrical content, particularly from the law enforcement community and parents concerned with his aggressive messages that his albums seemed to embody. Even as he achieved fantastic success on the charts, 2Pac’s life seemed to enter a dangerous spiral that saw the rapper living out the scenarios he described in his songs. In 1994 while visiting a recording studio in New York he was shot no less than five times during a robbery that would leave him shaken and lead him to channel his aggression into what would become the most lasting aspect of his legacy ; the East Coast / West Coast hip hop feud. Shakur became convinced that industry heavyweights Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs and The Notorious B.I.G. were behind the attack which had put him in the hospital.
Once the media was informed of the feud, it was blown up beyond all reason. This rivalry would culminate into one of the bloodiest explosions of rap-related violence in the history of the genre. On September, 13th 1996, 2Pac left the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in the company of Death Row Records owner Suge Knight. Their BMW was ambushed in a drive-by shooting that would fatally wound Shakur. He later died in hospital shortly after the attack. His death would shock fans around the world, and was made worse by the murder of rival, The Notorious B.I.G., in a revenge killing only a few months later. Tupac Shakur’s label continued to release a number of albums after his death, sparking rumors that he might have faked the entire incident. While conspiracy theories thrive, in reality 2Pac lives on only in the hearts of the millions of people who loved his music, as well as the news reports that narrated his short life and violent times. Work cited
East Coast VS. West Coast.” Hip-Hop Homicide — — Crime Library on TruTV.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2013. “Tupac ’2Pac’ Shakur Dies From Wounds Suffered In Gunshot Attack On This Day.” Breaking News for Black America RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2013.