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Tupac Amaru Shakur
On June 17, 1971 Tupac Amaru Shakur was born in East Harlem public hospital New York. His mother Afeni Shakur spent part of her pregnancy with Tupac in New York Women’s Correctional Facility due to the many charges brought against her and twenty other Black Panther members, one of which included a conspiracy to bomb many public buildings in New York (Powell 22). The case against her dragged on for twenty-five months. While on bail she courted “…two men-Legs, a straight up gangster who did whatever necessary to make money and Billy a member of the Black Panther party” (Powell 22).
Afeni says that “Tupac Amaru is the name of an Inca chief meaning ‘Shinning serpent, while Shakur is Arabic meaning ‘Thankful to god’”(qtd in Shakur 22). Afeni states that this name was the only one fitting enough for her ‘miracle baby’. By this she means that she thought that it was a miracle that she not only got to keep him but the fact that he survived while inside her. She states that while in prison she had to fight for an extra egg and a glass of milk each day (some of the basic nutrients needed to deliver a strong healthy baby).
In 1986 Tupac and Afeni move to Baltimore where Tupac enrolled himself into the Baltimore school For The Performing Arts (Marriott NYT). It is here that Tupac first finds his sense of identity. Tupac states in Vibe magazine that since he and his mother did so much moving around, he was never really able to find friends that he had ties to, he states that he felt like he never really fit in anywhere because he was from everywhere. It is in Baltimore that Tupac is finally exposed to white people. He says that it is at his school that he finally got to interact with white people and “‘…they were not half bad’, that not all of them ‘were out to fuck a nigga over’”(Powell 23). It is at the Baltimore school where he first learns to write his first raps, under the name MC New York.
At the end of his sophomore year his mother moved again, this time all the way to Marin City California. Tupac says that he still has not gotten over the fact that he had to move. Afeni leaving numerous messages back on the east coast trying to inform Legs of her recent move, so he will know where to find her when he gets out of prison dies shortly after he is released due to a heart attack caused by over dosing on crack cocaine. Tupac was never able to say good-bye to the only father that he ever knew.
Marine City is across the bay from Oakland. Nicknamed “…the jungle because niggas there like to kick up dust” (Powell 27). Afeni states that Marin City is essentially one giant housing complex. She states when he got to the west coast Tupac was taught the streets, or more so he started to learn the hard lessons of manhood that she couldn’t teach him (Powell 27).
It is in 1988 that Tupac drops out of high school stating, “I just couldn’t fit in” and starts selling drugs for a near by neighborhood gang (qtd in Times March 10). Tupac says that he could cook, sew and clean house, but he just didn’t feel hard. His mother did everything that she could do, but Afeni couldn’t give him what he yearned for most, to be tuff (Pareles March 30).
Tupac credits the loss of his manly figures throughout his life to his strong yearning to be accepted by the gangsters and feared by average citizen.
Shortly after Tupac drops out of high school he moved in with a neighbor. Tupac would have to sell drugs to be able to stay in the house. Tupac states, “I was in the streets before but only as my mothers son”(Times Sept. 23). Tupac felt that he was old enough to make it on his own. Tupac says that his mother was always moving and he remembers promising himself that when he got old enough he would move out and find his own roots, a place for him to call home.
Tupac further shows his anger towards the
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Tupac Shakur, Shakur family, Gangsta rappers, Afeni Shakur, Suge Knight, All Eyez on Me, Death Row Records, East CoastWest Coast hip hop rivalry, Yaki Kadafi, Tupac: Assassination
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