Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), known by his stage names 2Pac (or simply Pac) and Makaveli, was an American rapper. Shakur has sold over 75 million albums worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Rolling Stone Magazine named him the 86th Greatest Artist of All Time. In addition to his status as a top-selling rap artist, he was a promising actor and a social activist. Most of Shakur’s songs are about growing up amid violence and hardship in ghettos, racism, problems in the society and conflicts with other rappers. His work is known by many for often advocating racial egalitarianism. Shakur was initially a roadie and backup dancer for the alternative hip hop group Digital Underground.
Shakur became the target of lawsuits and experienced other legal problems. In 1994, he was shot five times and robbed in the lobby of a recording studio in New York City. Following the event, Shakur grew suspicious that other figures in the rap industry had prior knowledge of the incident and did not warn him; the controversy helped spark the East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry.
He was later convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half years in prison.
After serving eleven months of his sentence, he was released from prison on an appeal financed by Marion “Suge” Knight, the CEO of Death Row Records. In exchange for Suge’s assistance, Shakur agreed to release three albums for the Death Row label.
In September 1996, Shakur was shot again, only this time in a fatal drive-by shooting in the Las Vegas metropolitan area of Nevada. After being taken to the University Medical Center, he died of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.