Tupac Amaru Shakur was born on the East Harlem section of Manhattan in New York City. He was named after Túpac Amaru II, a Peruvian revolutionary who led an indigenous uprising against Spain and was subsequently executed.
Shakur’s professional entertainment career began in the early 1990s, when he debuted his rapping skills in a vocal turn in Digital Underground’s “Same Song” from the soundtrack to the 1991 film Nothing but Trouble and also appeared with the group in the film of the same name. Later, he released his first solo album, 2Pacalypse Now.
Shakur’s hit song “Dear Mama” is one of 25 songs that was added to the National Recording Registry in 2010. The Library of Congress has called “Dear Mama” “a moving and eloquent homage to both the murdered rapper’s own mother and all mothers struggling to maintain a family in the face of addiction, poverty and societal indifference.” Shakur is the third rapper to enter the library, behind Grandmaster Flash and Public Enemy.