More than two decades later, 2Pac's music is still breaking records. The news of Tupac Amaru Shakur's premature passing on September 13, 1996 resonated globally. The news impacted the hearts and minds of those who had been inspired by his activism and musical gifts. On Tuesday (Sept. 12), just a day before the 27th anniversary of his passing, his compilation album Greatest Hits earned a spot on Billboard's longest-charting albums of all time. This historic milestone speaks to the impact of 2Pac, and the legacy that his fans remember him by. With an impressive total of 491 weeks on the chart, Tupac's 25-track album has officially surpassed The Beatles' Abbey Road by one week. And now stands alongside iconic hip-hop albums like Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid m.A.A.d City (567 weeks) and Eminem's Curtain Call (648 weeks).
Furthermore, Tupac was someone who's message continued to live on through his music. Many viewed him as more than just an artist, but instead a guiding light for transformation. His mission extended beyond putting out music, as he was regularly involved in advocating for change within the community. Fans and artists alike have contributed to keeping his legacy alive. In fact, Kendrick Lamar has been someone who has consistently made it a point to preserve the memory of 2Pac.
2Pac's Legacy Lives on
One recent example of Kendrick keeping 2Pac's memory alive occurred last week. The hip-hop community commemorated a significant date in the late rapper's life. On Thursday, September 7, the influential Compton artist shared a series of photos and videos from his recent trip to Tokyo on his personal 'burner' Instagram account. One image in the slideshow shows Lamar wearing a vintage Pac shirt. The shirt showcased the late rap icon raising both of his middle fingers. This photo is a capture from an iconic 1994 photoshoot by photographer Mike Miller. Although Kendrick's post didn't include a caption, its timing carried weight, as it was shared on the same day when 2Pac had been shot multiple times in a tragic drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, marking the 27th anniversary of that fateful event.
In under a week following the shooting, the artist under the Death Row Records label tragically lost his battle with injuries while in the hospital. This heartbreaking turn of events prematurely ended the life and career of one of hip-hop's most influential and significant figures. Kendrick Lamar has previously expressed his deep admiration for 2Pac, going so far as to mention in a 2013 interview that he had a dream in which the late artist appeared to him. He says that the late 2Pac told him, "Keep doing what you doing, don’t let my music die."