One month after being released from prison for a Black Panther plot to bomb banks and department stores, Afeni Shakur gave birth to Tupac Shakur, born Lesana Parish Crooks on June 16, 1971 in Brooklyn, New York. His biological father was William Garland, who was also a Black Panther. While he was still a child, his mother changed his name to Tupac Amaru Shakur after an Inca Indian revolutionary in the 18th century. Tupac Amaru means "Shining Serpent" and Shakur means "Thankful to God" in Arabic. His mother was very involved in the Black Panther movement, black people bettering themselves and such. From his mother, he gained the revolutionary aspect in his lyrics and his concern for political issues. He never knew his biological father. His mother had lived briefly with Mutulu Shakur who became his stepfather and spiritual advisor during his childhood. Mutulu was taken away from Shakur when he was 15, arrested in 1986 for a fatal armored car robbery. He grew up in hardship, his family moving from the Bronx, Harlem, and homeless shelters which caused distress in his life. "I remember crying all the time. My major thing growing up was I couldn't fit in. Because I was from everywhere. I didn't have no buddies that I grew up with" (Thug - Shakur). He grew up in the ghettos and was involved with street gangs and drug dealers. The struggles of the ghetto life and his friends would influence his lyrics to come. His mother was introduced to crack from these drug dealers and developed an addiction that hurt him deeply.
From this young troubled life in the ghetto, Shakur became one of America's most beloved men. Before his death, he had become the greatest rapper of all time, a talented actor, and a revolutionary. However it was not recognized was that he was a literary artist, poet, reader, and a never-ending follower of knowledge. His writings touched deeply on his personal feelings of life and political issues.