Tupac Shakur was born to Black Panther activist parents in New York City. His mother Afeni Shakur was imprisoned while she was pregnant with him and he became acquainted with his biological father Billy Garland only after he became an adult.He had a difficult childhood spent in the company of people who had been convicted of serious crimes and had been imprisoned. He had been exposed to violence from an early age. He studied poetry, jazz, acting and ballet at the Baltimore School for the Arts. He was a talented rapper who won many competitions while in school.
He began his career as a roadie and backup dancer with the alternative hip hop group Digital Underground in 1990. He performed with the band for the soundtrack of the movie ‘Nothing but Trouble’ and also appeared in the film in 1991.
He released his debut solo album ‘2Pacalypse Now’ by the end of 1991. It featured content on racism, poverty, violence, and teenage pregnancy. It generated considerable controversy, and made the rapper very popular.He formed a group Thug Life along with musicians Big Syke, Mopreme Shakur, Rated R and others. They released one album ‘Thug Life: Volume 1’ in 1994. The album was certified Gold in the U.S.Around this time he had several brushes with the law and was shot in an armed robbery case. After recovering from the shooting, he was sent to prison on a sexual assault charge. He read a lot of books during imprisonment and also continued working on his music.He won the Soul Train Music Award for Best Rap Album in 1996 for ‘Me Against the World’.
He received the American Music Award for the Favorite Rap/Hip Hop artist posthumously in 1997.
The album ‘All Eyez on Me’ released in 1996 was the last one released during his lifetime. It featured five singles and went multi Platinum just months after its release. It featured the hits ‘How Do U Want It’ and ‘California Love’.Tupac was killed in a drive-by shooting in September 1996. Several albums containing previously recorded material were released posthumously. All of his posthumous albums were also super hits.He was briefly married to his longtime girlfriend Keisha Morris from 1995 to 1996.
His personal life was plagued by violence. He had been involved in criminal offences and imprisoned. He was tragically killed in a drive-by shooting in September 1996 when he was just 25 years of age.