Thirty-nine years ago today (June 16), Afeni Shakur birthed Tupac Amaru Shakur, one of hip-hop’s most revered artists. Though his life tragically ended on September 13, 1996 at the age of 25, his legacy has lived on. Through the years much has been written on ‘Pac’s legacy and countless people have picked apart his life, revealing countless details. Here, XXLMag.com highlights 16 little known or forgotten facts that you may have missed. Pour out a little liquor for the big homie.
1) As a teenager in Baltimore, 2Pac used to rhyme under the name MC New York.
2) 2Pac began his career in 1990 on Public Enemy’s Fear Of A Black Planet Tour, as a roadie and dancer for one of the tour’s opening acts, Oakland-based rap group, Digital Underground.
3) Although his role as Bishop in Juice, was his first starring one, Tupac Shakur’s very first film appearance was in 1991’s Nothing But Trouble, starring comedian Chevy Chase and Demi Moore. In the movie ‘Pac, who appeared alongside his then-group Digital Underground, played himself.
4) Digital Underground rapper Shock G.’s verse on 2Pac’s 1993 hit “I Get Around” was actually ghost-written by ’Pac.
5) Tupac read for the role of Bubba in the 1994 film Forrest Gump but did not get the part.
6) In 1994, 2Pac recorded “Let’s Get It On” with the Notorious B.I.G., Heavy D and Grand Puba. It was rumored that the quartet was forming a super-group called The Untouchables, but in actuality the track was a single off of producer Eddie F.’s unreleased Let’s Get It On compilation.
7) 2Pac’s 1995 album, Me Against The World, shot to No.1 after it’s release, making ’Pac the first artist in history to have an album debut at the top of The Billboard 200 while severing time in prison.
8) While imprisoned, Tupac maintained communication through letters with Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jasmine Guy and most surprisingly Who’s The Boss Actor Tony Danza, who urged the embattled rapper to embrace a more positive attitude.
9) According to Suge Knight, upon his release from jail in February 1996, 2Pac immediately began working on his double-disc opus All Eyez On Me; the first song recorded for the album was “Ambitionz Az A Ridah.”
10) 2Pac’s (released as Makaveli) The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory album was literally recorded over the course of seven days in August 1996.
11) Although not credited as a producer, 2Pac laid down the bass line, which interpolated Naughty By Nature’s “Uptown Anthem,” on “Intro/Bomb First” from The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory.”
12) Tupac’s official cause of death was respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest in connection with the multiple gunshot wounds he’d suffered days earlier.
13) The official coroner’s report released after Tupac’s death revealed that the rapper was originally born Lesane Parish Crooks on June 16, 1971. He was later renamed Tupac Amaru Shakur, after an Inca freedom fighter, by his mother Afeni Shakur.
14) In the Fall of 1997, the University of California at Berkeley offered History 98: Poetry and History of Tupac Shakur, and became the first accredited school to develop a course based on ’Pac’s music, life and lyrics.
15) In January 2000, 2Pac’s “Changes” was nominated for a Best Rap Solo Performance Grammy, marking the first time a hip-hop artist’s posthumously created work has been nominated for the award.
16) In the 2004 Guinness Book of Records, 2Pac was given the title of the highest selling rap/hip-hop artist of all-time, selling over 67 million copies worldwide.