Remembering Tupac Shakur On the 21st Anniversary of His Death

Tupac Shakur by Chi Modu

Twenty-one years ago today, the world lost an icon.

Tupac Amaru Shakur was born on June 13, 1971 and passed away on September 13, 1996 at the age of 25, but not before he left a lasting impression on hip-hop culture as a rapper, actor, and outspoken activist.

From brutal diss tracks and criminal charges, to uplifting poetry and inspirational speeches, Pac embodied all the contradictions of being a young Black man in America, and his fans still love him for it. Born the son of a Black Panther, Pac was an avid reader who was wise beyond his years and highly intelligent. When he spoke, it was so deep and so real that everyone paid attention.

What Pac was able to accomplish in 25 years is more than most people could dream of in a lifetime. His music and his spirit continue to inspire millions of people around the world, even if they weren't alive to witness his greatness. As we look back and celebrate his life, we thank him (and his mother, the late Afeni Shakur) for everything. RIP Pac!

Tupac single-handedly made it cool for guys to have nose rings and unibrows for a hot minute. Every girl wanted to know him, and every guy wanted to be like him.

He became known for his tough-guy, "Thug Life" persona, but his music was always filled with the kind of vulnerability and rawness that fans could feel.

He taught a generation of men (specifically Black men) that despite their flaws and personal demons, mothers are queens and should always be given love and respect.

Pac was smart and spiritual, but also sometimes abrasive and hostile. He never claimed to be an angel, but he did try to be a better man.

It wasn't always smiles and good times for the young prophet. He went through a lot of hard times, most of which were made public by the nature of his fame.

He also taught people that it was OK to cry, but that through all the bad times, you gotta keep your head up.

There will always be new rappers who are great at making words rhyme and choosing good beats, but there will never be another Tupac Shakur.

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