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Who was Tupac Shakur? –

It’s been nearly three decades since rapper Tupac Shakur was killed.

He died on 13 September 1996 at the age of 25, after being shot four times in Las Vegas.

From holograms to hoaxes, the hip-hop legend has been spoken about for years by fans of his music – but also those fascinated by the mystery of what happened to the rapper.

Who was he?

Tupac Shakur was born in East Harlem, New York City. He released his debut album 2Pacalypse Now in 1991.

Tupac, whose stage name was stylised as 2Pac, went on to enjoy chart success with multiple hits including California Love, All Eyez on Me, Changes and I Ain’t Mad at Cha.

It’s been noted that his music often touched on themes around social issues such as inequality.

And his contribution to the music world continued even after his death.

In 2004, the posthumous single Ghetto Gospel, which features a sample from Elton John’s Indian Sunset, reached number one in the UK singles chart.

Tupac has sold more than 75 million records worldwide – and in 2017 was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Earlier this year, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – making him one of only 12 rap artists to be given one. 

‘Is Tupac really dead?’

That’s the question many have asked for decades.

Over the last 27 years there have been countless rumours about what really happened to Tupac.

Some of those include claims he faked his own death and was secretly hiding in another country.

And some fans say Tupac gave away clues in his songs. On Life Goes On, he raps about his own funeral.

I Ain’t Mad at Cha on the album All Eyez On Me was released two days after his death. In the video he’s seen being shot after leaving a fight with a friend – an event some claimed was close to what really happened.

For years people have claimed to have sighted him in various different locations. And in 2012, even Kim Kardashian thought she had spotted him.

There have also been films and documentaries examining not only his impact on music, but also what happened on the night he was killed.

In 2017, Suge Knight – the man who was with Tupac the night he died – claimed in a documentary that the rapper might still be alive.

“When ‘Pac died, if he really did…” Knight says while being interviewed from prison.

Murals of Tupac can be seen on walls around the world

What if…?

The theories – and mystery – around his death remain one of the reasons his name still generates such a buzz.

But for many, the early death of Tupac leads to the question of what could have been in his career.

He is once reported to have said: “I have a very short window to live, I’ve got to create a body of work.”

His music and personality means Tupac is widely considered to be one of the most influential and successful rappers of all-time, who heavily influenced hip-hop, particularly the West Coast rap scene.

Rapper 50 Cent said “every rapper who grew up in the ’90s owes something to Tupac”. 

“He definitely developed his own style, he didn’t sound like anyone who came before him.”

Kendrick Lamar said his own career had been “inspired” by the work of Tupac.

“He’s the most important hip-hop icon we’ve ever had in the 50 years of hip-hop,” according to hip-hop historian Kevin Powell.