Tupac Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996) born as Lesane Parish Crooks―also known as 2Pac―was an American rapper and actor. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling rap/hip-hop artist ever, having sold over 75 million albums worldwide, including 44.5 million sales in the United States alone. 2Pac rapped on every subject―good and evil, war and friendship, life and death. If it was worth discussing, he rapped about it. He was never scared to speak his mind. His fearlessness and resilience is also what kept him at the top from his debut as a rap artist to long after his death in 1996. Till date, he continues to reign supreme.
Here’s a look at his top 10 greatest songs.
California Love (1995)
This song sung by 2Pac, featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman, celebrates the hip-hop lifestyle of California. Tupac and Dre rap about all the creativity and activity occurring around them. They also mention, with pride, about the gang violence, crimes, and social ailments that prevail.
★ The song was nominated for a posthumous Grammy Award as a Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1997. It has two platinum certifications from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and gold certifications each from the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).
How Do U Want It (1996)
It was performed by Tupac Shakur and featured R&B duo K-Ci & JoJo. The song includes a diss of gangsta rap critic C. Delores Tucker. The song focuses mainly on the perks and problems associated with fame. While thoroughly enjoying the benefits, 2Pac reminds everyone of all the problems fame brings along with it.
★ The song was nominated at the 1997 Grammy Awards for the Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. It has two platinum certifications from RIAA, and a gold certification from ARIA.
Ghetto Gospel (2005)
This song was written by Tupac Shakur as an outcry, speaking about the futility of racial discrimination and dissidence. Through his lyrics, he pays homage to the murdered activists Malcolm X and Bobby Hutton. He also talks about how society views people from the “hood”.
★ This song is platinum certified by ARIA, and also has two gold certifications.
Dear Mama (1995)
Tupac wrote this song as a tribute to his mother, Afeni Shakur, detailing his childhood poverty and his mother’s addiction to crack cocaine. He claims that his love and respect for his mother overwrites the bad memories. In 2010, it was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress, as it was “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflects life in the United States.”