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February is African American Heritage Month and WERS AT NIGHT is honoring one artist or one song every day this month that helped contribute to social consciousness, political responsibility, or civil rights. At WERS, we believe that these songs are always bigger than just entertainment; music can be used to drive a movement or even motivate a nation.
In honor of African American Heritage Month we will look inside the life of Tupac Shakur. 2Pac was a rapper who was well known for his socially active lyrics and focus on violence and racism in society. He has sold over 75 million albums and was named the 86th Greatest Artist of All Time by Rolling Stone. Shakur’s attitude was revolutionary in the industry all the way until his unfortunate end at the age of 25.
2Pac’s life of activism began early as he was born to a family who were highly involved with the Black Panther Party. He lived with struggling relatives for the early part of his life and saw many of the hardships that he later wrote about in his lyrics. His first solo album, 2Pacalypse Now focused largely on political injustice and was largely criticized for this reason. His lyrics on most of his albums focused on the wrongful treatments of people in inner cities and the racism that persists.
As 2Pac continued his activism he became a more polarizing figure. On September 7, 1996 Shakur was shot in a drive-by shooting and died at the hospital from internal bleeding. His death shed light on many issues and brought his life of lyrical activism to the forefront.