It is easy to forget that Tupac Shakur’s career lasted only five years.
The rapper released his first studio album “2pacalypse now” in November 1991. By September 13, 1996, he was dead. Shakur was only 25 when he was gunned down on a street in Las Vegas and succumbed to his injuries days later.
Within those five years, Shakur was in the studio recording music treasure left behind study. He had roles in such films as “poetic justice” and “Above the rim.” And as Shakur’s fame grew, so did his controversial reputation.
Twenty years after his death, there remains a fascination with Shakur. With its truncated art, some wonder whether the rapper was about to reach its full potential in the same way he was killed – write about #BlackLivesMatter decades before their time.
Writer Kevin Powell extensively covered Shakur. In 1995, Powell made the now famous interview with Shakur Rikers Island, where he was imprisoned rapper after being accused of rape (which was found guilty of sexual abuse and served eight months).
Powell said in death, Tupac is now an even bigger star.
“When you’re in the middle of it, you’re not thinking global figure, iconic level of Bob Marley, one Nina Simone, the Beatles or Elvis,” Powell told CNN. “I’m talking hip hop not only but worldwide. I have traveled all over the country and around the world and everywhere I’ve gone, his name appears in some form or fashion.”
The writer recounts some of his relationship with Shakur in his book “Education Kevin Powell. The journey of a child to adulthood” Powell said that accredits enduring legacy of Shakur rapper vulnerability, honesty and authenticity.
“Pac was a street poet and spoke of the people in the hood,” Powell said. “I was constantly pushing the limits of what an artist could do in the tradition of Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan and Nina Simone.”
“Here on Earth / tell me what life is worth a Black”
Last year, Ebony magazine ran a collection of quotations and poems Shakur under the title: “Tell me what is a life worth Black. 2Pac in #BlackLivesMatter” (The article was tied to a Grammy Museum exhibition entitled “All Eyez On Me :. writings Tupac Shakur”)
“It was always my belief that the police are only one band themselves, with good and bad,” said the rapper during an interview about playing a cop in the 1997 film “Related Band,” which was released posthumously . “As I think gang members on the street got good and bad as they do the police.”
Powell said he absolutely believes “Pac would become someone I have spoken to him about race, gender and various forms of discrimination.”
“I think it would have been a leader in several ways and grown into what Harry Belafonte did, what Paul Robeson and became what Bono of U2 has become” Powell said. “It is understood that have this gigantic platform as artists and animators and wanted to use it for social good.”
“John F. Kennedy and Elvis all in one”
Beyond being an actor and a successful hip hop artist, Shakur was well known for his encounters with the law.
Director Mike Dorsey was associated with former police detective Greg Kading Los Angeles for the documentary “Murder Rap. Within Biggie and Tupac crimes” (The rappers were murdered within six months apart).
“Tupac had a lot more ahead of him in his life, he had so much potential that existed a kind of James Dean aspect to his life,” Dorsey said. “Actually, we never see their full potential and I think all these aspects combined to create the perfect storm that has helped keep this story alive.”
There are plenty of conspiracy theorists who believe that Shakur is dead.
Since his shot, there have been whispers that Shakur faked his own death after being hospitalized.
Recently a video has been circulating on social media that seeks to “prove” Shakur is alive. Fans have continued to share the video despite being unmasked.
— Branden Hodgson (@HodgyBroBeans) September 2, 2016
Kading said he has heard countless theories – including one on a conspiracy connected to the death of Shakur government.
“That’s salacious and want the audience to think that there is much more to the story [Shakur’s death],” Kading said. “And, of course, these racial connotations that have to do with [theories] the government trying to suppress these artists because of where they were potentially go with the black movement. When the facts of history knows, that’s all farfetched. But I think that’s what makes it attractive and mysterious. ”
Dorsey added, “I would say it’s something like JFK and Elvis, all in one.”