By Kalu Onyemaechi U.
Tupac Shakur was a perfect example of what I call ‘beautiful contradiction’. He took advantage of the struggles he had gone through to create strong lyrics about ghetto and gang violence yet spent most of his time preaching peace while highlighting the hardship of common Americans.
This sort of situational irony remind us that Tupac Shakur, in spite of his godlike status, was a man like us with venial flaws. Here are some jaw-dropping facts about Tupac Shakur.
Tupac Shakur’s height was slightly controversial
Tupac Shakur’s height is arguably one of the most intriguing aspects of the list. Many of his adoring followers are probably ignorant of his true height. Needless to say, everyone has an opinion on the subject, but there exists divergent evidence which makes it hard to put an end to the squabble once and for all. The mugshot after his arrest on March 8, 1995 suggested 5ft 11in but the post-mortem suggested 6ft.
Tupac Shakur’s mother was jailed during her pregnancy
Tupac Shakur’s parents were both active members of the New York Black Panther Party during Tupac’s childhood in the 1960s and early 1970s. His mother, Afeni Shakur, spent much of her pregnancy in prison on more than 150 charges of “Conspiracy against the United States government and New York landmarks,” but was acquitted just a month before Tupac was born on June 16, 1971.
Tupac Shakur was furious with his wife for escaping a fire.
Pac appeared to be a ferocious personality with some weird standards. When asked to describe a typical Tupac moment, his ex-wife Keisha Morris recalled a fire incident in their Atlanta hotel room. “I went to see Tupac in Atlanta, and the hotel room caught fire, and he became upset at me because I wanted to flee,” she explains. He claimed he couldn’t trust me since I should have stayed with him to put out the fire.”
Tupac Shakur was shot five times in Manhattan
On November 30, 1994, three men robbed and shot Tupac five times in the lobby of Manhattan’s Quad Recording Studios, the day before his sexual abuse trial ended. They took his jewels but not his Rolex watch, which led Pac to believe the heist was merely a pretext for the shooting. He left the hospital only three hours after surgery, despite the doctor’s advice, and made it to the courthouse in time to hear the verdict the next day (he was found guilty of three counts of molestation and not guilty of six others).
Tupac accused Sean Combs, the CEO of a rival record label, as well as his associate Jimmy Henchman and artist Biggie Smalls, of orchestrating the attack in an interview shortly after. Years later, Dexter Isaac confessed to carrying out the attack on Jimmy Henchman’s orders, and he was justified. Biggie is said to have been uninvolved in the attack.
Tupac Shakur was revived seven times before his death
Tupac Shakur was a fighter even on the verge of death. He came perilously close to death several times after being transported to Las Vegas’ Bellevue Hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, losing consciousness and being resuscitated a total of seven times before finally passing on. The rapper’s death has sparked a slew of conspiracy theories, but Pac’s mother, Afeni, confirmed the specifics of his multiple resurrections before his death.
Tupac Shakur’s friends smoked his ashes
Tupac Shakur was cremated the same day he died. Members of the Outlawz, a hip-hop group he co-founded in 1995, later mingled his ashes with marijuana and smoked them as an unusual manner of honouring their late comrade.
Rapper Noble said: “Yes, it’s definitely true… Had a little memorial for him with his mum and his family.
“We had hit the beach, threw (in) a lot of s**t he liked at the beach. Some weed, some chicken wings, he loved orange soda. Pac loved that kind of s**t, so we were giving him our own farewell.”
Tupac Shakur almost wore a bulletproof vest the night he was killed
As indicated by the security guards that accompanied Pac during public appearances, Pac and his loved ones were wary of attempts on his life by rival gang members. Following a fight with Orlando Anderson, his fiancée Kidada Jones requested that he wear his bulletproof vest the night he died in Las Vegas. Tupac declined, claiming that it was too hot, and advised her to spend the night at home.
Tupac Shakur grew up around radical politics
Shakur learnt about the Black Panther Party and its affiliated Black Liberation Army through his mother and her friends when he was a child, many of whom were imprisoned or otherwise persecuted by the government because of their beliefs.
Elmer Pratt, another Black Panther, was convicted of murdering a bystander during a heist but had his sentence reversed later. From 1982 to 1986, his stepfather, Mutulu Shakur, was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for assisting his sister, Assata Shakur, in escaping from a New Jersey jail where she was incarcerated for killing a state policeman. Mutulu was apprehended and imprisoned for the robbery of an armored truck, which killed a guard and two police officers.
Tupac Shakur was not even born on the West Coast, despite becoming a West Coast icon
Tupac was born in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood. This may come as a surprise given that he later helped to ignite a murderous rivalry between the East and West Coasts, with Pac siding with the latter. In 1988, he relocated to California.
Tupac Shakur had some harsh words for Donald Trump back back in 1992
In an unreleased interview with MTV, Pac blasted Trump: “Everybody’s taught that. You wanna be successful? You wanna be like Trump? Gimme gimme gimme, push push push push, step step step, crush crush crush. That’s how it all is… It’s too much money here. Nobody should be hitting the lotto for 36 million and we’ve got people starving in the streets. That’s not idealistic, that’s just real. That’s just stupid… There’s no way that these people should own planes and there are people who don’t have houses.”
Tupac’s entire career, believe it or not, would be defined by his study of Williams Shakespeare
Although it may not seem like a typical start for a rapper, Shakespeare was one of Tupac’s main influences. When he was at the Baltimore School for the Arts, he studied the English playwright and said: “Shakespeare is one of my favorite authors. Man, he wrote some of the most raw stories. Take, for example, Romeo and Juliet. That’s a lot of ghetto s**t.”
Tupac Shakur and Biggie were bosom friends before they fell out with each other
How ironic is it that someone you would die to protect had turned out to be the same person you want to choke to death? In the infamous East Coast – West Coast conflict, Tupac and Biggie were good friends. However, the problems began when Biggie released ‘Who Shot Ya?,’ a song that Tupac mistook for a diss song. The song marked the start of what would become known as the hip-hop coastal war, and it influenced Tupac’s subsequent work.
More music has been released since Tupac’s death than when he was alive
For some, death is final but for others, it is transitional. Tupac’s death transitioned him into a realm of prolific immortality. Shakur has sold over 75 million records worldwide, with the bulk of that coming after his death; seven of his 11 platinum albums were released posthumously. Indeed, death and life are partners.
Tupac Shakur’s names are symbolic
Do names really impact on one’s life? Or are they mere ‘labels’ by which one is identified? The legendary rapper’s name ‘Tupac Shakur’ descends from the Incas of Peru and the Arabic language respectively. Túpac Amaru II was the last leader of Peru’s Incan Empire that fought against the Spanish invasion of Peru, and the name translates to “shining serpent.” Any similarity in personality? Be the judge. And “Shakur” comes from Arabic origins and means “thankful” or “appreciative.”
We are ‘shakur’ for your rapt attention thus far.