The strange origin of Tupac Shakur’s name
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The strange origin of Tupac Shakur's name

Tupac Shakur was one of the most well-known rappers in the world and, during the 1990s, was the go-to artist if you wanted hardcore and passionate gangsta rap. As the primary artist of Dr Dre and Suge Knight’s Death Row Records, Tupac undeniably made massive hits and, before his murder in 1996, was one of the most famous rappers in the world.

Pac, as well as being a talented rapper, was also highly controversial and was, for all intents and purposes, the perpetrator of the east coast vs west coast feud. The bloodshed and horror of the 1990s was primarily down to Shakur and Suge Knight. The rapper, as the son of a political activist and member of the Black Panther Party, naturally had an anti-establishment mindset and, as such, was quite a brash character and highly troublesome. But still popular.

Tupac knew of his popularity and power, which is why he described his music as “America’s Most Wanted” and, in a 1996 interview with MTV, inferred that Bad Boy “sell a couple of records, we [Death Row] sell large amounts of records.” The rapper was aware of how many units he was actually moving. 

Although he represented the West Coast, Shakur was born Lesane Parish Crooks in Harlem, New York. In New York, he lived temporarily in Harlem and the Bronx before moving to Baltimore. After living in Baltimore, he moved to Oakland and finally ended up in Los Angeles. 

Born to Afeni Shakur, the rapper had his name changed shortly after his birth, although his birth and death certificate both read Lesane Crooks. Tupac’s name was chosen by his mother. In honour of a Peruvian revolutionary, Tupac Shakur was named after the man who led the Peruvians against the Spanish called José Gabriel Túpac Amaru, commonly referred to as Túpac Amaru II.

This is the strange origin of Tupac’s name. You can learn more about the Peruvian revolutionary in the video below.