Rapper Tupac Shakur (real name Lesane Parish Crooks) died 15 years ago after being shot four times in a still-unsolved Las Vegas drive-by.
And although his passing left a hole in the rap landscape (only made bigger six months later when The Notorious B.I.G. was also gunned down), Tupac’s legend inspired a whole new generation.
Lil Wayne, who sold nearly one million copies of “Tha Carter IV” in its first week of release last month, wrote the ballad “How to Love” in honor of a similar message expressed by the late rapper.
“That song is just sweeping the world. It’s touching every woman, that’s what it was for,” he explained. “It was like Tupac had ‘Keep Ya Head Up’ and it was a message to women and little girls across the world just to keep your head up even though things are hard. That’s what my song was.”
In June, around the same time as what would have been Tupac’s 40th birthday, Rick Ross and Meek Mill premiered “Tupac Back,” which appeared on the compilation album “Self Made, Vol. 1” and featured the titles of Pac’s songs.
In the 2009 book, “How to Rap,” 50 Cent wrote, “Every rapper who grew up in the Nineties owes something to Tupac. He didn’t sound like anyone who came before him.”
Waka Flocka Flame named his Top 10 debut album “Flockaveli,” a nod to Pac’s alias, Makaveli, after the famed Renaissance philosopher known for his manipulative manner.
Reportedly, Waka Flocka was even inspired to pick up the works of Machiavelli.
“Tupac introduced me to the [writing] of Machiavelli,” he said last year. “That’s why I made that. I can’t just, ‘Oh, Tupac did that, so I’m gonna do that too.’ If people read, they would love that man. That man is a mind-game genius. I read the Machiavelli war-tactic books, his biography, everything. That man is just like sticks and stones, bad.”
Before Tupac’s death at 25-years-old, he released six studio albums, including 1996’s “All Eyez on Me,” which was certified 9-times platinum.
He recorded so much material, another 8 albums were released following his death — leading to conspiracy theories that Tupac is still alive.