Lesane Parish Crooks was born on June 16, 1971 in the Bronx to Afeni Shakur and William Garland. The name Tupac Amaru Shakur means "shining serpent" (Tupac Amaru) and "thankful to god" (Shakur). Want to know more? Here's 40 facts you might not have known.
On the stageTupac's mother enrolled him in Harlem's 127th Street Repertory Ensemble. His first acting role was portraying Travis from the play "A Raisin in The Sun."
Do you feel Olympic today?Tupac was cast in the movies "Cool Runnings," "Higher Learning," and "How To Be A Player" before his untimely death.
Backup dancerHe was a roadie and dancer for Digital Underground before joining the group.
Childhood friendsHe studied drama, ballet and dance at Baltimore School For The Arts. That's where he met Jada Pinkett Smith. She would become a close friend.
Tupac allegedly wanted to name his first child Star if it was a daughter, and Michelangelo if it was a boy.
Tupac's rootsHis mother Afeni Shakur (left) was an active member of the Black Panther party and one of the defendants at the "Panther 21" trial.
Who's Tupac's favorite actor? It's comedian Jim Carrey.
From the beginningTupac's first music video appearance was on Digital Underground's "Same Song."
Where he got ShakurShakur wasn't Tupac's original last name. It came from his adopted stepfather's, Mtulu Shakur. The elder Shakur was a Black Panther party member who spent four years on the FBI's Most Wanted List for helping his sister Joanne Chesimard (aka Assata Shakur). She fled to Cuba to avoid jail time.
Strictly Dope yearsTupac also formed the group Strictly Dope with Santa Rosa rapper Ray Luv.
Love lifeTupac dated Madonna, who reportedly wanted to have his baby.
Breaking records behind barsTupac is the only artist to have an album at number one on the Billboard charts ("Me Against the World") while incarcerated.
Conspiracy theoriesShakur's alter-ego Makaveli was named after Niccolo Machiavelli, author of "The Prince." Machiavelli faked his own death, which is why many still believe Tupac is alive.
Cross on his back
Tattooed on Tupac's back is a cross with the words "Exodus 18:31." It refers the biblical scripture: "Now i know that the Lord is greater than all gods because he delivered the people from the hands of the Egyptians when they dealt with them arrogantly."
Meaning behind the wordsAccording to Tupac the individual letters of THUGLIFE stands for "The Hate U Give Little Infants F-cks Everybody." N.I.G.G.A.Z stands for "Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished."
Famous wordsTupac was quoted as saying, "All good n-ggas, all the n-ggas who change the world, die in violence. They don't die in regular ways," in a Details magazine interview during Spring 1996.
13 was a lucky numberTwo of the biggest events in his career happened on the 13th. "All Eyez on Me," was released on February 13, 1996. His only number one pop single "How Do U Want It?", topped the Hot 100 on July 13, 1996.
Founding fatherHe was the founding member of the rap group named Outlawz, also known as Outlaw Immortalz and Thug Life.
Take oneShakur recorded about 150 songs during the final year of his life, often completing three songs per day. He often recorded his verses in one take. He felt that rappers who could not perform their verses on the first try weren't ready to be rappers.
Unfinished buisnessShakur was cast in the movie "Woo," but was shot a few days before principal photography began.
Real life replicaHe is the first rap/hip-hop artist in history to have a wax model of himself in Madamme Tussaud's.
As American as "American Pie"Shakur considered singers Don McLean and Kate Bush as two influences in his life. He was especially inspired by McClean's hit "Vincent," a song about painter Vincent Van Gogh life.
Bubba GumpHe read for the part of Bubba in "Forrest Gump," but lost to Mykelti Williamson.
A little FaithHis song "Hit 'Em Up", is an attack on one-time friend Notorious B.I.G., Bad Boy Records, and Puff Daddy. He claims that he slept with Faith Evans (Notorious B.I.G.'s wife) in the song's lyrics.
Covering the classics
His 1996 song "Me and My Girlfriend" chronicles Tupac's relationship with his pistol. The song was covered in 2003 by Beyonce and Jay-Z, with a slightly different chorus.