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Shakur, Tupac (1971–1996)

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SHAKUR, TUPAC (1971–1996). Rapper, actor. He was born Tupac Amaru Shakur in New York City and moved with his family to Baltimore, Maryland, at age 15, where he wrote his first rap. He enrolled in a school of the arts to study ballet and acting until the family relocated to Marine City, California. He joined the rap group Digital Underground in 1990 as a roadie, dancer, and rapper, and released his first controversial album, 2pacalypse Now , a year later. He began a long-running feud with the police involving lawsuits, drugs, guns, and alleged brutality, and his life would be constantly involved in controversy and tragedy. Shakur made his film debut in Juice , 1992, and followed with a costarring role in Poetic Justice , 1993. He was dropped from the cast of Higher Learning and Menace II Society due to bad publicity in his personal life and a case of on-the-set violence. He was then cast in the street basketball-driven film Above the Rim , 1994, and his music was prominently featured in the movie soundtrack. A major rift erupted between the East Coast and West Coast rappers and Tupac was right at the center of this major dispute, much of his music and lyrics only fueled the flames. More legal turmoil followed and he was shot and robbed while entering a New York recording studio. Tupac survived this attack, but was sentenced to four years and six months in jail on sexual abuse and weapons charges. Upon his early release, he returned to Los Angeles and began work on his album All Eyes on Me , and 2 of Americaz Most Wanted with rapper Snoop Dog, which continued to exploit the ongoing East Coast-West Coast rivalry. On 7 September 1996, while leaving a Mike Tyson fight in Las Vegas, Nevada, Tupac Shakur was shot four times while sitting in a car at a traffic light. He died four days later. His posthumously released album Makaveli was a big hit. The documentary Tupac: Resurrection , 2003, explores his life and music. It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary in 2005.

Filmography: Juice , 1992; Poetic Justice , 1993; Bullet , 1994; Above the Rim , 1994; Gridlock’d , 1996; Gang Related , 1996.

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