Tupac Shakur Couldn't Escape Violence
by Lynda Lane
Even the bright lights of the entertainment world
couldn't blind violence to of the troubled life of late
rapper Tupac Shakur. Shakur, 25, died September 13, 1996
in a Las Vegas, Nevada hospital, of injuries sustained
from four bullets -- some of which necessitated the
removal of one of his lungs a few days before his death.
Six nights before the shooting, Shakur and a bevy of
cohorts had been looking forward to going to a club after
witnessing world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson's
victory over Bruce Seldon at the MGM Grand in Las
Vegas. But Shakur's night on the town ended abruptly when
he was ambushed by unknown assailants who fired on the
car in which he was the passenger of Death Row Records
label executive Marion "Suge" Knight,
who suffered only minor injuries.
A former member of rap group Digital Underground,
Shakur stepped into the spotlight as a solo artist with
his 1992 album, 2Pacolypse Now (Priority). At the
same time, he put his acting skills to work by portraying
a violent, misguided youth in the highly-acclaimed film, Juice.
He subsequently played a young man trying to win the
heart of Janet Jackson's character in Poetic Justice
and a smart aleck drug dealer in Above the Rim.
Shakur's climb to stardom was plagued with a series of
criminal charges. In April, 1993, he spent 10 days in a
Michigan prison for assaulting another rapper. The
following October, he was arrested for allegedly shooting
at two off-duty Atlanta, Georgia police officers; those
charges were eventually dropped. The next month, he faced
charges of sexual abuse, sodomy and weapons charges in
New York City. The day before he was convicted of sexual
abuse, Shakur was shot five times and had money and gold
jewelry stolen off of him in the lobby of a Times Square
recording studio. Police classified this attack as a
After recovering from the shooting, Shakur served time
for sexual abuse. While in prison, he got married and his
third solo album, Me Against the World
(Priority/Scarface), rose to #1. After Shakur had served
eight months behind bars, Marion "Suge" Knight
came to his rescue, bailing him out and immediately
signing him to Death Row. His debut release for Death
Row, All Eyez On Me, sold five million copies and
scored a number-one single. Once again, Shakur was back
in the spotlight touting the "Thug Life" he was
living -- expensive cars, guns, women and dodging death.
The album included other controversial Death Row
luminaries Snoop Doggy Dog and Tha Dogg Pound. He also
annulled the marriage to his wife, Keisha, shortly
after his release.
The violence afflicting Shakur's life was nothing new
to him. He started out life in prison, literally, as his
mother, Afeni, gave birth to him in a cell after
being arrested. At the time, she was a member of the
Black Panther Party -- an organization whose purpose was
to better conditions in Black neighborhoods, but whose
activities were shady in the eyes of the FBI. In a
television interview taped months preceding his death,
Shakur remarked that trouble was all he knew because he
came from a family that fought constantly with trouble.
He was not afraid to die. He rapped about it in several
songs. Now, it has become his reality.
Reuters reports that Shakur's family had his body
cremated over the weekend in a private funeral. A
spokesman for Death Row declined comment about this, but
did say that there will be a memorial service tomorrow,
September 19, at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los
Angeles, California at 11:30 a.m. Meanwhile, police still
have no suspects in Shakur's slaying.
Shakur had recently wrapped up work on another movie,Gridlock,
in which he and actor Tim Roth play heroin
addicts. It is due out early next year.
(Some of the information in the above article came
from reports filed by Reuters and MTV News.) rs and