Top Picks: Tupac Shakur

Whether he rapped lyrics or showcased his raw, unparalleled acting talents on the big screen, you recognize Tupac Shakur as one of the most influential hip-hop artists of all time. Complex, personal, and fearless; Tupac was a lighting rod; larger than life with timeless authenticity. With his introspective lyrics, charming smile, and boisterous presence, he sparked conversations about Black youth in contemporary society. Although his recording career lasted five years, Tupac Amaru Shakur remains one of the most popular music artists in history, having sold over 75 million records.

On what would have been his 50th birthday on June 16, we're going to take a look at a few top picks of Tupac's music and film career.

Juice : Tupac made his acting debut in this classic coming of age drama. As friend turned foe Roland Bishop, he steals the show with a menacing and unhinged portrayal of Black inner city youth.

The Rose That Grew From Concrete: Released three years after his 1996 murder, this introspective poetry collection shows a more vulnerable and sensitive Tupac whose writings center around love, self-worth, and single parenthood.

2pacalypse Now: On his debut album, Tupac's lyrical themes center around racism, police brutality, black-on-black crime, and teenaged pregnancy. The album has three major singles: "Brenda's Got a Baby," "Trapped," and "If My Homie Calls." 

Me Against the World: Arguably one of Tupac's best albums, this project is his most introspective given his lengthy prison sentence. With themes surrounding poverty, racial profiling, and the downside of fame, the album was made to show hip-hop fans his respect for music as an art form. It is notable for containing his greatest hit, "Dear Mama."

Tupac Resurrection: This Oscar-nominated documentary tells the story of Tupac's early life, rise to fame, its' perils, his troubles with the law, and tragic murder at the age of 25. The riveting and polarizing film is narrated by Shakur himself. 

What's your favorite song by Tupac? Favorite movie? Sound off in the comments below!