Slain rap legend Tupac Shakur was honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame on Wednesday, almost three decades after the best-selling artist was gunned down in a drive-by shooting.
The ceremony paid tribute to a rapper who died at age 25 after a brief but spectacular career, in which he went from backup dancer to self-styled gangsta and one of the most influential figures in hip-hop.
“Tupac knew deep down that he was always meant for something great. And as his little sister, I had the privilege to watch that greatness unfold.”
Known for his emotionally intense lyrics and on-stage flair, Shakur sold more than 75 million records, with hits including ‘California Love’ and ‘Changes’. Shakur also became a key figure in a vaunted rivalry, egged on by promoters, between East Coast and West Coast hip-hop.
Though born in New York, Shakur moved as a teenager with his family to California. He became one of the most identifiable figures in the West Coast scene, before he was shot dead in September 1996 in Las Vegas.
The circumstances of Shakur’s death remain murky. Wednesday’s ceremony came nine days before what would have been his 52nd birthday.
Shakur’s identification as a gangsta rapper came toward the end of his brief life, when he had repeated brushes with violence and went to prison on sexual assault charges. But Shakur – whose mother Afeni was active in the Black Panther movement and named him after Tupac Amaru, a revolutionary Inca chief – also used his lyrics to raise issues facing Black Americans, from police brutality to mass incarceration.