By: Justice Lamar Duncan
The birth of tupac
Even longer than Shakur's hit list, though, was his police blotter. In 1992 the rapper was arrested after a six-year-old California boy was killed by a stray bullet discharged during a scuffle between Shakur and two others. (A lawsuit filed by the boy's family was later settled out of court.) He was then charged in Atlanta with shooting two off-duty police officers in October 1993. Charges in both cases were dismissed. The following month Shakur and two members of his entourage were charged with sexual abuse following an incident in a New York luxury hotel.
In early 1994 he was found guilty of assault on Menace II Society codirector Allen Hughes and served 15 days in jail. By the end of the year, the rapper was found guilty of the sexual assault only a day after being shot by muggers in the lobby of a New York recording studio. He was later sentenced to one and half to four and a half years in prison. While his 1995 album Me Against the World (Number 1 pop, Number 1 R&B) headed to the top of the charts, Shakur headed for prison. Shakur became the first artist to reach Number 1 on the Billboard charts while serving a prison sentence. The hit single "Dear Mama" (Number Nine pop, Number Three R&B) suggested a depth of feeling that led some critics to reassess the rapper and his work.
By now Shakur was a lightning rod for a highly publicized West Coast vs. East Coast hip-hop feud. Shakur was released after serving just eight months of his sentence, the result of a parole arrangement and a $1.4 million bond paid by Death Row label CEO Marion "Suge" Knight. The rapper signed with Death Row in late 1995, soon releasing the dark, two-disc All Eyez on Me (Number 1 pop, Number 1 R&B, 1996). On the album, Shakur attacked his enemies with furious threats of violence, while speaking of his own early death as inevitable. The album also included "How Do You Want It" (Number 1 pop, Number 1 R&B), "California Love" (Number 6 pop) (with Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman), and "Hit 'Em Up," on which Shakur claimed to have slept with the Notorious B.I.G.'s wife, singer Faith Evans.
Then, on September 7, Shakur was shot near the Las Vegas Strip while riding in the passenger seat of Knight's BMW. The shooting came about two hours after a scuffle that involved Shakur and Knight in the lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel (an incident that ultimately led to Knight, 31, being handed a nine-year prison sentence for violating his parole). Six days later Shakur died from his injuries. He was 25. No arrests were ever made. In addition, despite calls within the hip-hop community to halt the violence, the Notorious B.I.G. was killed in a similar fashion six months later. No murder charges have been filed in either murder.