Elvis of Hip-Hop
Tupac Shakur was shot September 7, 1996 on the Las Vegas strip and died seven days later in the hospital. During his time on earth he made five albums, although one was released days after his death that he previously recorded. Since his death, he has released seven albums, three of which have hit number one on the Billboard 200.
Tupac is making almost the same amount of money dead than he did while he was living. As of 2007, the rapper had made more than 35 million dollars since his death. At the time of his death, he was worth about 40 million dollars. Forbes Magazine consistently has him as one of the richest dead celebrities. He has also sold more than 75 million albums worldwide since dying. Tupac is basically just as popular now if not more than when he was alive.
To compare someone to Tupac is hard, but the way his legacy remains, it's very close to that of Elvis Presley. Not in how they lived their lives or by the music they wrote. Their legacies are unique because before their death they were the best in their genres. Even after their deaths their legacies still can't be touched because when their lives were cut short they were both at the top of their game. Tupac and Elvis's legacies will never die, just as legends never die.
Tupac died in his prime, or maybe he hadn't even reached his prime before he died. In a way because of his early exit, he will forever be remembered by the greatness that he only started to achieve in the short time he had. He made great music when he was alive, and great music is still coming out from notes and recordings people are still finding from what he left behind. He wasn't around long enough to run out of ideas and force an album to make more money like some other rappers have done towards the end of their career. Because of his death his image is frozen in perfect form.
Since that fatal day in 1996, there have been more than 15 books, four documentaries, three college courses, a play and numerous websites made exploring his brief life and legacy. (Lola Ogunnaike, New York Times) He is such a giant figure in the hip-hop community that he even had a hologram made of him at a Coachella festival where he performed alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre.
Although some may think he was just a thug that died how a thug should die, he is so much more than that. He has forever left his imprint on the rap game and has inspired numerous other rap artists. Tupac Shakur was more than a rapper or poet; he is a motivator, an inspiration and an American classic even in death.