Rapper Tupac Shakur is one of the most significant musical figures to have ever lived, and it’s largely due to his undeniable work ethic.
Shakur was known for his passion and his roots, but above all else, he was known for his drive. While other artists were working on one song a day, Shakur would be hammering out three or four, according to Complex. Death Row labelmate Snoop Dogg said in an interview with VladTV in 2013 that Shakur’s work ethic was unlike any other MC:
“He worked like a fucking racehorse.
“It’d be like 30 niggas in [the studio]. [Tupac] would make a song. He’ll let him get on the song, him get on the song, him get on the song. As soon as the song go off, he won’t even listen to it. ‘Put that shit over there, pull the next beat up.’ He move on the next beat, they writing some more shit. They finish with that song, he say, ‘Ima do one by myself.’ Twenty minutes later and he in [the booth] spitting it. That’s three songs this nigga done did in an hour. He ain’t listen to nan one of them.”
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California-based rapper Bad Azz recorded with Shakur on the Don Killuminati track “Krazy” during the months leading up to Shakur’s sudden death. He said of Shakur’s work pace:
“He was moving fast like a race every day. Things it takes people a lifetime to do, he was doing them in two weeks.”
Shakur was arrested eight different times throughout his life. In 1994 he was shot five times, and in 1995 he was imprisoned for eight months. Despite his hardships Shakur never allowed his spirit to die.
In May 1996, six months before he was gunned down on the Las Vegas Strip, Shakur was interviewed by Vibe:
“I have to change the world, or I have to be changed by the world.
“I believe in my heart that I am a man’s man. I made myself. I’m a millionaire by my own self, I fight for myself, I’m a struggler, a striver, I take care of my family… I’m not politically correct, but I’m still a man’s man and I believe in family values.”
Many believe Shakur was the greatest MC to ever touch a mic. Those who knew him best said he rarely slept because he was too concerned with perfecting his craft. Shakur boasted to Vibe:
“I’m the most macho nigga out here. I’m the most thuggish nigga out here. I have no motha fuckin fear. I have no fear. I have only ambition and I want mine. I will do anything to protect and feed my family.”
Last month marked the 19th anniversary of Shakur’s tragic murder on Sept. 13, 1996.