Episode 150: Tupac Shakur: The Curse of Tupac Island

Tupac Shakur

This episode of The Sofa King Podcast covers some hip-hop roots and looks at the rise, fall, life, war, and death of rapper and poet, Tupac Shakur. Tupac was born in 1971 to a family of incredibly radical black activists. His parents were both Black Panthers, and his aunts and uncles were often on the FBI most wanted list and worked with organizations like the Black Liberation Army. In fact, his mother was in jail for allegedly plotting to bomb police departments while she was pregnant with Tupac and was released when her crimes were dismissed only a month before this rap legend was born.

As a young child, Tupac was often homeless, and eventually he found his way into the arts. He was admitted to the Baltimore School of the Arts, and he was an actor and dancer at a very young age in different troupes in New York City. This dichotomous upbringing that married revolutionary violence with arts and poetry helped to make Tupac a natural for the rap game, and when he moved to Oakland in 1988, he almost immediately found success as an entertainer.

He started with the group Digital Underground, and within two years was selling platinum albums on his own. His rise to fame was meteoric and well deserved, and he rapped about everything from gang violence to social responsibility and then from sex to powerful black women.

He was a huge artist, selling over 75 million records, and when the East Coast / West Coast rap beef started, Tupac helped the fan the flames. Tupac was shot four times at a record studio in New York, but lived to tell about it. Then, his songs like “California Love” and “Hit Em Up” made the beef turn into a war. In fact, this war is what eventually led to his own death, as he was shot and killed in Las Vegas after a Mike Tyson fight in 1996.

And from there, he moved to the mysterious Tupac Island where he rules to this day. Or at least, that’s what we think, and we’re apparently in good company. Many people honestly believe he is still alive, and they claim to have proof. What is the proof? Give us a listen and find out. We talk about his unique family background, the influence of his music, his feud with Biggie Smalls and Sean Puffy Combs, his alliance with Dr. Dre and Suge Knight, and whether any evidence of his supposed “Machiavelli” life after death is true.

Our Sponsors