Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 - September 13, 1996) was an American rap artist, actor, activist, and poet. He is known by various alias such as: 2Pac, Makaveli and Pac. He is known in the Guinness Book of World Records as the top-selling hip-hop artist, having sold over 73 million albums worldwide. This includes over 44.5 million sales in the United States alone. Most of Shakur's songs are about growing up around violence and hardship in ghettos, racism, problems in society, and sometimes his feuds with fellow rappers. Shakur is known for the political, economic, and messages of racial equality found in much of his work. He has been ranked by many fans, critics, and industry insiders as the greatest rapper ever.
Born in New York City, Tupac frequently found his family changing place of residence. In 1988, his family moved to California, where he would reside for the rest of his life. In 1990, he was hired as a backup dancer for the alternative rap group Digital Underground. Tupac's debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, gained critical recognition and backlash for its controversial lyrics. Shakur became the target of various lawsuits, and experienced legal troubles. Most notably, he was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in 1993 (although he vigorously denied the claims). The day before the guilty verdict was issued, Shakur was shot five times in a recording studio lobby in Manhattan, wounding him. Following the incident, Shakur grew suspicious that other figures in the rap industry had prior knowledge of the shooting and did not warn him; the controversy would help spark the later East Coast-West Coast feud. After serving eleven months of his sentence, Shakur was released from prison on bail by Marion "Suge" Knight, the CEO of Death Row Records. In exchange, Shakur would release three records under the label, with his fifth album, the first ever double-disc album in hip hop history All Eyez on Me counting as two albums. On September 7, 1996, Tupac was shot four times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. On September 13, 1996, six days after the shooting, Tupac died of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest at University Medical Center, Las Vegas.