10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Tupac Shakur: Happy 40th Birthday Tupac!

Had he lived to see this day, Tupac would have celebrated his 40th birthday. Tupac Amaru Shakur, known by his stage names 2Pac (or just Pac) and Makaveli, was born on this day in 1971. Most people who aren’t too familiar with his work know him as a rapper and an actor – but did you know he was also an established poet?

Here’s one of Tupac’s poems, entitled “A Rose That Grew From Concrete”:

    Did you hear about the rose that grewfrom a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s law is wrong it learned to walk with out having feet. Funny it seems, but by keeping it’s dreams,it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concretewhen no one else ever cared.

Crazy, huh?

In honor of his birthday today, here are 10 facts you probably didn’t know about Tupac:

1. Tupac Amaru Shakur was named after an Inca Indian chief: “Tupac Amaru” means “Shining Serpent” and “Shakur” means “Thankful to God” in Arabic.

2. His hit song “Dear Mama” is one of 25 songs that was added to the National Recording Registry in 2010. The Library of Congress has called Tupac’s song “a moving and eloquent homage to both the murdered rapper’s own mother and all mothers struggling to maintain a family in the face of addiction, poverty and societal indifference.”

3. He began his career as a roadie/backup dancer for the hip hop group Digital Underground.

4. At the time of his death in 1996, Tupac was engaged to Quincy Jones’ daughter, Kidada Jones.

5. As an established poet, he was inspired by a wide range of writers, including William Shakespeare, Niccolò Machiavelli, Donald Goines, Sun Tzu, Kurt Vonnegut, Mikhail Bakunin, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Khalil Gibran.

6. He and Jada Pinkett Smith had what she describes as a “platonic romance.” They met while both were attending the Baltimore School For The Arts.

7. Tupac planned on being an actor before he ever thought of being a rapper. He studied drama at Baltimore’s School For The Arts, where he rapped under the name MC New York.

8. The seat of the Catholic Church released a list of 12 songs onto the social networking Web site’s streaming music service. Among the artists included are Mozart, Muse and Dame Shirley Bassey; the list also includes Tupac’s song “Changes.”

9. He passed away in September 1996 after being the victim of a driveby shooting while waiting at a red light in Las Vegas.

10. MTV ranked him at No. 2 on their list of The Greatest MCs of All Time.


What’s your favorite Tupac song or poem? Post your faves in the comments!