50 2Pac Songs Every Fan Needs to Know
There are plenty of 20-year anniversaries that we've seen this year. Classic albums from the likes of The Fugees, Jay Z and A Tribe Called Quest have all been celebrated. However, one 20-year milestone stands out for a different reason. Sept. 13 marks 20 years since the hip-hop world lost Tupac Amaru Shakur. After being shot in a still unsolved murder, he succumbed to internal bleeding and passed away in the ICU shortly after 4 p.m. His murder was preceded the following year by that of The Notorious B.I.G., effectively ending an era and changing the course of the music industry.
Throughout his life, and even after his death, Tupac was many things to many people. He was a superstar, but he was also a son, friend, mentor, poet, actor, heartthrob and folk hero. His blend of a thug, lover and quasi-militant voice of the people broke the mold, effectively redefining what a rap artist could be. From humble beginnings as a protege and back up dancer for the chart-topping group Digital Underground, shooting two off-duty police officers in defense of civilians, jail stints, timeless music and iconic movie roles, to post-death martyrdom, conspiracy theories and posthumous success, his legend seems to live on. He's grown to become an international symbol often associated with the concept of revolution, not unlike Bob Marley or Che Guevara, whose likeness can be seen on walls in South America and shirts worn by youth (and rebels alike) around the globe.
Tupac stands as one of the genre's best-selling artists, and, arguably, one of the most influential and important figures in the history of hip-hop culture. With such an extensive body of work and such a remarkable amount of content he was able to produce, it's both challenging and jarring to grasp that he was only a 25-year-old kid at the time of his death. It's a new day, and with each passing year, his legacy, although acknowledged, becomes less relevant to a new generation of artists and listeners. We can only hope that the upcoming All Eyez on Me biopic will help introduce his music to new ears, much like Straight Outta Compton did for N.W.A.'s catalog.
On the anniversary of Tupac's death, XXL dug through his discography, including posthumous releases, and put together a list of 50 songs that new and OG fans need to know. R.I.P., 'Pac.
Check out more on Tupac Shakur's life and legacy at <em>XXL</em>'s special 20th anniversary tribute hub below.