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On September 13 1996 7 days after being shot while leaving a Mike Tyson fight in Las Vegas Tupac Amaru Shakur became hip-hops first martyr At 25 2pac and his music had frequently focused on his own death but after cheating it once he was not so lucky the second time and raps own Malcolm X was silenced By the time Tupac was born on June 16 1971 his mother Afeni Shakur a member of the Black Panthers had already defended herself in court and been acquitted on 156 counts Living in the Bronx she found steady work as a paralegal and tried to raise her son to respect the value of an education Tupacs biological father Billy Garland was a truck driver who left before he was born Afeni soon had another child with another member of the Black Panther Party Mutulu Shakur However a few months before the birth of the girl Mutulu was sentenced to 60 years in prison for a fatal armored car robbery With Mutulu away the family experienced hard times No matter where they moved-the Bronx Harlem homeless shelters-Tupac was troubled As time passed the issue of his father tormented him The loneliness began to wear on him He retreated into writing love songs and poetry His mother enrolled him in the 127th Street Ensemble a theater group in the impoverished Harlem section of Manhattan where he landed his first role at age twelve that of Travis in A Raisin in the Sun Soon after however his mother tried to take a step in the right direction by moving the family to Baltimore In Baltimore at age fifteen he fell into rap he started writing lyrics walking with a swagger and milking his background in New York for all it was worth People in small towns feared the Big Apples reputation he called himself MC New York and made people think he was a tough guy He enrolled in
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