The music world has seen its fair share of legends who meant more to the world than just fancy beats and appealing sounding lyrics. Names like Elvis Presley, The Beatles, James Brown, and Michael Jackson are known throughout the world for their outstanding talent and influence. But the hip-hop community has a star of their own to celebrate: Tupac Amaru Shakur.
14 years ago Monday, Tupac was shot in Las Vegas, Nevada just moments after witnessing his friend Mike Tyson win the WBA Heavyweight Title. The rapper would die six days later. The murder, which still goes unsolved to this day, left the hip-hop community without their biggest star.
But September 13th, 1996 did something else too. Not only did that day see the fall of Shakur as a human being, it saw his rise as a legend. Shakur was already making a name for himself both in and out of the music world for years but his death shot his relevancy and fame to another level.
Since his death, Shakur has sold more albums than while alive. He has influenced generations of rappers and continues to be one of the most popular artists today.
Shakur’s record sales come in at over 75 million units sold, making him the second best selling hip hop artists of all time behind Eminem.
Shakur, also a successful actor, is perhaps best known for his social influences.
2pac informed the world of the struggles that African-Americans have to go through in the United States and what the lifestyle of someone who comes from the poor neighborhoods of America is like.
2pac reached out to the boys and girls, and the men and women of the African-American community and let them know that despite social repression, they were capable of great things and should be proud of who they are and where they come from.
With songs like “Keep Ya Head Up” and “Dear Mama,” which is to be added to the Library of Congress this year, Shakur was able to bring positivity into the African-American community.
As his legend grew, he words transcended race and became words of hope for people all around the world.
As Shakur said in an interview in 1995, “The only thing that can kill me is death, that’s the only thing that can ever stop me, is death, and even then my music will live forever.”
And 14 years later, his music still lives on.
This is the real stuff I like! Not that pop Hip Hop. Blaze On Weeeezy!