Rising out of the West Coast gangsta rap scene of the early ‘90s, Tupac had raw skill on the mic and a passion that forced people to listen. Through the decade he proved he wasn’t just a skilful MC but a masterful storyteller with the lyrical prowess to cover complex social issues, poetic reflection, and even raw party jams.
Through a string of solo records, features, and film roles, he became a critical and commercial success. Not even jail time or media vilification could slow his blockbuster success.
2Pac seemed invincible. But an increasingly violent hip hop rivalry with East Coast domos like Notorious B.I.G. and Sean ‘Puff Daddy’ Combs would result in Shakur’s death, and one of music’s biggest unsolved crimes.
More than two decades on from his untimely demise, Tupac remains an unparalleled influence on modern music - a legacy that seems to swell with age, rather than fade.
As part of our ‘90s month celebrations, join Gemma Pike for the Tupac J Files from 8pm Thursday 13 September
Read on for a Tupac Shakur longread featuring interviews with Kendrick Lamar, N'fa Jones, L-FRESH The LION, Sampa The Great, journalist Ben Westhoff, filmmaker Lauren Lizen, and more.