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Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996) was an inspiration to millions.
While 2Pac was most famous for his rap career, he was also a gifted actor, poet and thoughtful while outspoken advocate for the poor and the overlooked in America. During his life, he produced an immense amount of artistic work, which included studio albums, major Hollywood feature films, and published works. He was most prolific in the music industry, selling over 75 million albums. 2Pac’s unapologetic lyrics were relevant, important, and reflective of the hard lives led by many. His music earned attention and respect through a poetic style that embraced street vocabulary while being innovative. Today, 2Pac is still considered by many to be one of the biggest influences on modern hip-hop.
2Pac’s career has earned him six Grammy nominations and three MTV Video Music Award nominations. In 1997, Shakur was honored by the American Music Awards as the Favorite Hip Hop Artist.
Born on June 16 1971 in New York City, Shakur’s parents were both members of the Black Panther Party whose militant style and provocative ideologies for civil rights would come to influence 2Pac’s music. At an early age, Tuapc’s love for performance and the arts began to show, as he began acting at age 13 and later enrolled in the Baltimore School of the Arts before dropping out at 17. Shakur broke into the music business with rap group Digital Underground as a back-up dancer and roadie. Eventually Shakur released his first solo album in ’91, 2pacalypse Now. 2Pac’s music career began to grow as his second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z included two top 20 pop chart tracks: I Get Around and
While incarcerated 2Pac’s latest album at the time, Me Against the World, was number one in the pop charts and would later go double platinum. Shakur became the first artist to reach number one in the pop charts while serving a prison sentence. Making the most of his time in jail, 2Pac became a passionate reader. Among his favorites were the works of Niccolò Machiavelli, an Italian Renaissance writer whose works were in part the foundation for western political science. Shakur’s appreciation of his work inspired the nickname: Makaveli.
After serving only eight months of his sentence, 2Pac was out on parole thanks to a 1.4 million dollar bond paid by Suge Knight, CEO of Death Row Records. Now signed with Death Row Records, Shakur went on to create All Eyez on Me, which featured hits How Do You Want It and California Love.
there, and feeling, and everything he was trying to describe. You saw a picture that he was trying to paint.”
2Pac leaves a legacy of honesty and passion in his songs. Respected by many, 2Pac has become an inspiration for artists and a standard in rap music.
Eric Lynn Wright (September 7, 1963 – March 26, 1995), better known as Eazy-E was affectionately called “The Godfather Of Gangsta Rap” was a rapper who performed solo and in the hip hop group N.W.A. Wright was born to Richard and Kathie Wright in Compton. He was the nephew of singer and band member Charles Wright, who formed the Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. After dropping out of high school in the tenth grade, he supported himsel before investing in Ruthless Records and becoming a rapper. When Ruthless artists Dr. Dre and Ice Cube wrote “Boyz-n-the-Hood“, Dre, Cube, and Eazy formed N.W.A. After DJ Yella, MC Ren, and Arabian Prince joined the group, N.W.A released N.W.A. and the Posse. In 1988, they released their most controversial album, Straight Outta Compton. The group released two more albums and then disbanded after Eazy released Dr. Dre from his contract.
Eazy’s main influences included 1970s funk groups, contemporary rappers, and comedians. On February 24, 1995, Eazy was admitted into Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with what he believed to be asthma, but was instead diagnosed with AIDS. On March 16 he acknowledged his condition publicly, and died due to complications ten days later.
The Notorious B.I.G.
Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), best known as The Notorious B.I.G., was an American rapper and hip hop artist. He was also known as Biggie Smalls (after a character in the 1975 film Let’s Do It Again), or Big, and as Frank White (after the main character of the 1990 film King of New York).
Wallace was raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. When he released his debut album Ready to Die in 1994, he became a central figure in the East Coast hip hop scene and increased New York‘s visibility in the genre at a time when West Coast hip hop was dominant in the mainstream. The following year, Wallace led his childhood friends to chart success through his protégé group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. While recording his second album, Wallace was heavily involved in the growing East Coast/West Coast hip hop feud.
On March 9, 1997, Wallace was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His double-disc set Life After Death, released 16 days later, rose to No. 1 on the U.S. album charts and was certified Diamond in 2000, one of the few hip hop albums to receive this certification. Wallace was noted for his “loose, easy flow”, dark semi-autobiographical lyrics and storytelling abilities. Two more albums have been released since his death. In 2006, MTV ranked him at No. 3 on their list of The Greatest MCs of All Time, calling him possibly “the most skillful ever on the mic”. Editors of About.com ranked him No. 5 on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time (1987–2007). In 2012, The Source ranked him No. 3 on their list of the Top 50 (Rap) Lyricists of All Time. He has certified sales of 17 million units in the United States.