Today In Hip-Hop: Tupac’s Birthday

On this day, June 16, in hip-hop history…


1971: Forty-two years ago, one of hip-hop’s most influential and tragic figures was brought into the world. On June 16, 1971, Tupac Amaru Shakur was born in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. Born to a family of Black Panthers, and named after a legendary Peruvian revolutionary, Tupac was destined to oppose the status quo.

His artistic abilities were discovered at an early age. During his high school years, he attended the Baltimore School for the Arts, where his reputation as a gifted rapper began. After displaying his rapping skills on a few guest appearances with Digital Underground (a group he started out as a backup dancer for), Tupac released his very first album, 2Pacalypse Now. The rest was history.

Tupac’s life was one riddled with controversy, legal trouble, and violence. His music, however, has left an indelible imprint on music lovers from all walks of life. The passion, skill, and honesty which fueled Tupac’s music has influenced artists from Eminem to Talib Kweli. His music touched on every aspect of life, from family (“Dear Mama”) to personal sadness and insecurity (“So Many Tears”). His extensive catalogue of work has allowed him to live on even today. As hip-hop lovers celebrate his 42nd birthday, one can only imagine what the music scene would be like if Tupac Amaru Shakur were here to celebrate it too.—Chisom Uzosike

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  • She

    The article seems a little incorrect. He was actually born Lasane Parish Crooks and his mother legally changed his name to Tupac Amaru Shakur when he was 8.

  • MonicaShawntel

    Happy Birthday Pac this is from your biggest fan your music will FOREVER live on. Man if those rumors wre to be true that you was alive I will be ecstatic. May you rest in peace :-)

  • TrueToDaGame

    I dont like this article either, but HBD to a great.

  • Blackjesus

    Honestly , really disappointed with this article and in general the lack of coverage of this legend in the news today. I guess we still need to wait another 20 or 30 years for people to reach the artistic and intellectual level to truly understand the significance of this man’s art. White, black, mexican, asian, male , female, poor, rich especially in the international community outside the U.S follow Tupac big time! His poetry, music, his life, his honesty, his conflict, his flaws and his courage to not allow any man to frame him into one character is of the the greatest trait of this legend. He represented the world ( thuglife) that he was brought up in and put all the underdogs and criminals of the world into the map of the world and told their side of their story. He broke intellectually through the barricade of criminalizing drug-dealers, prostitutes and the disfranchised side of society . Can’t believe he lived only till 25. This man is Black Jesus whether people like it or not. His art is a psychological oasis for everybody who understands his struggles and conflicts within and outside himself. Miss you Pac!