There will never be another Tupac Shakur. Who knew that back in 1991 after he made his musical debut with 2Pacalypse Now that the saggy jean-wearing, wide-eyed MC who rapped about the fictional teenaged Brenda and her baby would grow to be one of the most revered figures in modern American history? On Tuesday (September 13), the 15th anniversary of the day he died at age 25, it is clear that Tupac has transcended hip-hop, held by his generation in the same regard as inspirational musical figures like Bob Marley and John Lennon.
Tupac’s 1996 shooting and death was the final act in a life often overshadowed by drama and controversy. On September 7, 1996, after attending a Mike Tyson heavyweight championship fight in Las Vegas (and then getting into a fight himself afterwards), the rap star was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting. It wasn’t the first time the enigmatic street poet came under fire. On November 30, 1994, Shakur was shot five times and, like a mythical urban superhero, checked himself out of the hospital against the doctor’s orders, living to tell his tales through rap.
Through his music, storied acting career and overall public persona, Tupac Shakur had proved resilient, so his fans held hope that he would survive the 1996 attack that left him hospitalized for six days. But this time would be different. On Friday September 13, 1996, Tupac Amaru Shakur died due to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. Authorities have yet to find his killer.
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