As one of the most famous rappers of all time, many people claimed to know and understand him. But when you carefully review his history or even just read Tupac interviews, you’ll discover all new depths to the late legend. Here are just five surprising facts about Tupac Shakur.
1. He wasn’t born Tupac; his mother renamed him shortly before his first birthday. The name on his original birth certificate was Lesane Parish Crooks.
2. The name Tupac came from a South American revolutionary who rebelled against the Spanish in 1780. His mother was somewhat of a revolutionary herself, protesting civil rights violations as a member of the Black Panthers. She actually spent time in prison while five months pregnant with Tupac.
3. As a child, Tupac was a ballet dancer at the Baltimore School for the Arts. He once had a role in The Nutcracker.
4. Depending on who you ask, Tupac either became a communist or was intellectually intrigued by communist ideals. He joined the Young Communist League USA while still in school.
5. Despite his affinity for cutting-edge music, Tupac had a great appreciation for the classics, most likely because of his mother’s intelligence and his own upbringing in the arts. He was a particular fan of Shakespeare, likening Romeo and Juliet to the struggle between the Bloods and Crips.
These are just five things that you might not have known about one of the world’s great musical icons. He may be gone from this earth, but his legend will never die.