Tupac lives on.
Tupac was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting on September 7, 1996 after leaving the Bruce Seldon vs. Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Suge Knight, who was driving Pac’s car, was also injured, but survived. After being hospitalized for days, Tupac succumbed to his injuries and died on September 13, 1996. Now, 20 years later, we still remember the incident like it was yesterday.
To the media and people outside the hip-hop community, he was seen as nothing but a gangster. He was described as “the controversial but wildly popular ‘gangsta’ rapper whose life and lyrics evoked a ghetto culture of violence and nihilism” on the front page of The Washington Post the day after he died. In that same write-up, his music was described as “bitter, explosive and often cruel” and “shocked critics but struck home to a generation of rap fans already hardened by life.”
But to us, his fans, Tupac was something of a savior. He was about the community and justice for African-Americans. He was our voice. And he was talented as hell. Not only was he one of the greatest rappers, but he was also a great actor and former hip-hop dancer.
Tupac Covers Rolling Stone
Seven weeks after his death, Rolling Stone magazine featured the rapper on the cover for the first time. What’s interesting is that the photo they used is from a shoot for the magazine that took place three years prior. Check it out…
Most Famous Photo
The first time this photo appeared, it was three years before Tupac’s death. Rolling Stone magazine had done a short profile story on the rapper for a 1993 issue and enlisted Danny Clinch to photograph him. The photographer, who shot artists from Johnny Cash to Nas, didn’t know the fame that Tupac would come to see.
“It was Rolling Stone magazine and I was thinking to myself, ‘Oh man, if this guy ever blew up, I would have this great photograph.’ What if this record is so well received that it could end up on the cover of [the magazine].”
Little did he know that just three years later, his photo would appear on the cover of Rolling Stone and become arguably the most famous photo of the legend.
Clinch Recalls Shoot
20 years later, TIME caught up with Clinch and he recalled the time he met Tupac at the photo shoot. He said when he would photograph rappers, a “whole posse” would come in, which sometimes got in the way of work. But not Pac, who came with only one other person and was “very professional” and “prepared,” as he was excited to be shot for RS.