It has been nearly 20 years since Tupac Shakur was murdered – if you believe that he is dead, that is – and yet Tupac continues to be a music phenomenon unlike any other person who has since emerged on the scene. One reason is that Tupac is regarded as arguably the greatest rapper in the history of the genre. The legend of Tupac has grown over time also because of the recordings featuring the rapper that have been released since his untimely death. Those releases have helped add fuel to the fire that has been rumors that Tupac may have faked his death and may be alive today.
Unless Tupac outs himself to the world and then proves that he is who he says he is and that he is still around, odds are that there are always going to be groups of fans who don’t believe that the rapper staged what was, per the official story, a gruesome demise. Other theorists may claim that we will never know for sure what happened to Tupac in 1996. That could be a matter of opinion. What is not up for debate is that there are plenty of interesting facts about Tupac that casual fans of the artist may have either forgotten or never knew over the years.
15. Tupac’s Real Name
The man who would become known to the world as Tupac Shakur was given the name Lesane Parish Crooks at birth. His mother, per Norberto Briceno of BuzzFeed, renamed him Tupac Amaru Shakur after a Peruvian revolutionary who was executed after leading an uprising against Spanish oppressors. The irony of Tupac being “assassinated” sticks out, even if the deaths of the two men were rather different. Tupac had watched a Mike Tyson fight when he entered a vehicle in Las Vegas. It was in that vehicle where Tupac would be gunned down and murdered, one of the most tragic events in the history of modern music.
14. Tupac Was Pro Gun Control
A sad fact about the rapper is that Tupac was not the first person he knew to have been shot. According to a piece written by Jon Pareles of the NY Times, Tupac wrote his first rap about gun control. He was inspired to do so after a friend was shot. Tupac would, as time went on, write lyrics about violence. He received criticism from groups that wanted such songs to be banned from radio stations and from television programs aired on channels such as MTV. Before any of that, though, Tupac penned lyrics about gun control. Some of those lines would still be appropriate in 2015.
13. He Was A Young Actor
Fans may remember seeing Tupac take part in projects such as Above the Rim and Poetic Justice. Tupac’s mother started his acting career earlier in his life. Tupac was, per a CBS story, enrolled in Harlem’s 127th Street Repertory Ensemble. He then, according to the previously mentioned NY Times story, studied at the High School of the Performing Arts after he and his mother moved to Baltimore. Things could have gone much differently had Tupac gone down a different path well before he gained fame and fortune. Maybe he would still be alive today had he done just that.
12. He Went To School With Jada Pinkett Smith
Well before the world knew who they were, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tupac were classmates and friends when the two were in high school. Smith, according to the Daily Mail, discussed this relationship while appearing on The Howard Stern Show in June 2015:
You know, it’s so funny. Now being older, I have more of an understanding of what that was between us,’ Jada said while visiting Stern’s New York studio.
‘When you have two young people that have very strong feelings, but there was no physical chemistry between us at all, and it wasn’t even just for me! It was him too.
‘There was a time when I was like, “Just kiss me! Let’s just see how this goes.” And when I tell you it had to be the most disgusting kiss for us both. The only way I can put it is, the higher power just did not want that.’
11. He Was A Fan Of Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey was a comedic actor who was just becoming an international superstar when Tupac was murdered. Carrey did have a fan in the rapper. Carrey reportedly penned letters to Tupac when the music icon was completing a prison sentence. It has also been said that Carrey was Tupac’s favorite actor. Carrey had already landed major gigs in movies such as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber before Tupac was murdered. The actor would, of course, go on to have a very successful career. One would have to believe that Tupac would have enjoyed watching Carrey’s work.
10. He Has A Lot Of Unreleased Material
Some who hold onto the idea that Tupac did fake his death may point to the number of Tupac albums that have been released since his murder. It turns out that there may be a reasonable explanation for this. Tupac, according to CBS News, recorded around 150 songs during the last year of his life. That does not account for any other recordings that were unknown or that have not yet seen the light of day. There are likely still plenty of songs for future Tupac albums that exist somewhere in the world. That information is probably not enough to convince some theorists that Tupac is, in fact, dead.
9. He Wanted To Play Bubba?
It would not be all that surprising to learn that Tupac failed to land some acting roles during his life. According to an interview with his ex-wife, Tupac nearly landed a gig in what became a famous and historic movie. Keisha Morris explained in that interview that Tupac showed interest in being in Forrest Gump:
We went to the Chelsea Movie Theater to see Forrest Gump and then we ate dinner around the corner in an Italian restaurant. He wanted to see Forrest Gump because he read for the part of “Bubba.” I was in total shock, I couldn’t believe who I was on a date with.
8. Tupac Loved Shakespeare
Tupac had many influences during his life. Among them were the works of William Shakespeare. Tupac talked about this during an interview with Chuck Philips of the LA Times back in 1995:
It influences all my work. I really like stuff like “Les Miserables” and “Gospel at Colonus.” And I love Shakespeare. He wrote some of the rawest stories, man. I mean look at Romeo and Juliet. That’s some serious ghetto [expletive]. You got this guy Romeo from the Bloods who falls for Juliet, a female from the Crips, and everybody in both gangs are against them. So they have to sneak out and they end up dead for nothing. Real tragic stuff.
7. He Pissed Off Rashida Jones
Before she was known as an actress who worked on shows such as Parks and Recreation, Rashida Jones was merely the daughter of Quincy Jones who was upset by some comments that Tupac made about her famous dad. Tupac had some harsh words about Jones due to the music icon’s relationships with white women. Rashida responded by penning a letter in which she made her feelings about Tupac clear to everybody. In that letter, Ms. Jones refers to Tupac as being “self-absorbed and indulgent.” She also dropped multiple curse words in the letter. That’s quite the moxie from a young woman who was but 17 years old at the time.
6. He Knew Mike Tyson
Watching Mike Tyson fight inside of the ring was one of the final acts of Tupac’s life. It turns out that the two knew each other before that fateful evening. Tyson once explained in an interview that he first encountered Tupac outside a crowded club located in Brooklyn. The boxing champion did not know of Tupac at the time, but Tyson did help the performer obtain access into the club. The rest, as the well-known saying goes, is history. Tyson has said that Tupac’s mother wrote letters to him when the boxer was behind bars following his rape conviction.
5. Tupac Liked Pop Music
One might not be able to guess this from listening to the majority of his songs, but Tupac has been said to have been a fan of some pop music acts during his younger years. Among some of his favorite acts were: Sinead O’Connor, Kate Bush, Culture Club, and iconic rock band U2. In a world in which collaborations across multiple genres of music are not uncommon, it is not a stretch to suggest that Tupac could have linked up with O’Connor or U2 for a song or two had he remained alive. An album featuring Tupac and U2: That alone is enough reason to hope that Tupac is alive.
4. He Made Joshua’s Dream Come True
Along with being an innovator in the music world and also an actor, Tupac was an avid fan of basketball. Basketball was, according to a famous story, once part of a moment that left a lasting impact on the rapper. Tupac received a letter in 1993 from a family of a terminally ill young man named Joshua. All Joshua wanted was to meet Tupac. The rapper fulfilled that wish, and Tupac and Joshua took in a basketball game together. As much as that likely meant to the young man, it also apparently meant a lot to Tupac. He changed the name of his publishing company to Joshua’s Dream after the young man passed away.
3. His Buddies Smoked His Ashes?
One of the stories cited by those who would stick with the idea that Tupac is truly dead is a rather weird one. It has been reported that members of the Outlawz, the rap group that Tupac founded, smoked some of his cremated ashes and some marijuana after he was murdered. If there were ashes, that means there would have had to have been a victim. Done and done, right? Maybe not. Whatever was smoked on that day may not have included the ashes of Tupac, after all. The question has to be asked: What or even who was smoked on that day?
2. He’s Still Rich
A piece of advice that is sometimes suggested to a person who is trying to connect the dots of a story is that he should “follow the money.” Why would Tupac fake his own death? One reason is that doing so would turn out to be very profitable for the rapper. Tupac, per Forbes, “earned” millions of dollars after he was killed. It has been suggested that Tupac could have a net worth of around $40 million today. How much Tupac would have been worth had he remained alive up through the 2000s will never be known, but $40 million is nothing to just brush off.
1. Madonna Secretly Dated Tupac
It is not a secret that Madonna and Tupac had a relationship. Those rumors have been confirmed multiple times. What you may not know is that Madonna could have had Tupac’s baby had the two remained together for a significant length of time. Author Lucy O’Brien claimed in a book that was released in 2007 that Madonna desired to have a baby with the rapper while the two were an item. Madonna has not, as of the posting of this piece, discussed that aspect of her relationship with Tupac. The fellow music genius has not gone in-depth about dating Tupac other than to say that they were once together.