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    28 Surprising Facts About Tupac Shakur

    Tupac Amaru Shakur aka Lesane Parish Crooks. Today marks the 22nd anniversary of his death. RIP Tupac Amaru Shakur.

    1. Although his West Coast appreciation indicated otherwise, Shakur was born in East Harlem, New York, on June 16, 1971.

    2. Shakur's real name was Lesane Parish Crooks.

    3. Shakur was named after the South American revolutionary Túpac Amaru.

    4. Afeni Shakur was an active member of the Black Panther party. Tupac Shakur was born one month and three days after Afeni had been acquitted of charges of "Conspiracy against the United States government and New York landmarks."

    5. When he was 13, he played Travis Younger in A Raisin in the Sun, which was performed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem to raise funds for Jessie Jackson's presidential campaign.

    6. He attended Baltimore School for the Arts, where he took ballet classes. He also played the role of The Mouse King in the Nutcracker.

    7. Shakur first started rapping in Baltimore, going by the name MC New York.

    8. Jada Pinkett had a very deep platonic relationship with Tupac.

    9. While attending school in Baltimore, he joined the Young Communist League USA.

    10. In 1990, Shakur started his entertainment career as a backup dancer for The Digital Underground.

    11. Shakur, under his new stage name Makaveli, completed The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory in seven days, using three days to write and record the songs and four days to mix the album.

    12. Ex-wife Keisha Morris alleges Shakur auditioned for the role of Bubba in Forrest Gump, but didn't get the part.

    13. Shakur was supposed to play a lead role in Menace II Society, but after an altercation with co-director Allen Hughes, he was replaced with Larenz Tate.

    14. According to Shakur, while filming Poetic Justice, he was asked to take an HIV test before he could film a love scene with Janet Jackson.

    15. He dated Madonna.

    16. He was a Shakespeare aficionado.

    17. As a teenager, he enjoyed English and Irish pop musicians like Kate Bush, Sinead O'Connor, Culture Club, and U2.

    18. In 1993, Rashida Jones, then 17, wrote an angry letter to Shakur after he criticized her father, Quincy Jones, for having relationships with white women.

    19. Before the whole East Coast vs. West Coast beef, Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. were actually friends.

    20. Me Against the World hit number one on the Billboard 200, making Shakur the first artist to accomplish this feat while serving a prison sentence.

    21. Tupac and Ice-T sang a duet once.

    View this video on YouTube

    22. While in prison, Shakur was heavily influenced by the written works of Niccolò Machiavelli, especially The Prince.

    23. After Shakur was cremated, members of the Outlawz mixed some of his ashes with marijuana and smoked it.

    24. In 2010, "Dear Mama" was the third rap song in history to enter the National Recording Registry.

    View this video on YouTube

    25. Shakur renamed his publishing company from Ghetto Gospel to Joshua's Dream after 11-year-old Joshua Torres.

    26. Shakur shot two off-duty police officers. However, charges were dropped when it was discovered that the officers were drunk, in possession of stolen weapons, and lied to police officers.

    27. He cried after having a conversation with Maya Angelou on the set of Poetic Justice.

    View this video on YouTube

    So, yes, Tupac was a controversial figure...