Tupac Shakur was born 38 years ago today.

“June sixteenth, nineteen seventy-one:
Mama gave birth to a hell-raising heavenly son
See, the doctor tried to smack me, but I smacked him back
My first words was “Thug for life” and “Papa, pass the MAC.”

– 2Pac and Thug Life’s “Cradle to the Grave” from Thug Life Volume 1.

I’m from the Bay and Tupac, as imperfect and complex as he was, will always have a special place in my heart, iPod and DVD player.

Here are my top five Tupac moments from music and film- ranked!


5. “What’z Ya Phone #” – I’m a sucker for the Minneapolis sound. This raunchy track, which samples The Time’s 1982 single “777-9311,” isn’t a great example of Pac’s lyrical ability but the dance-inducing beat and comical bridge make it a favorite.

4. “Ain’t Hard 2 Find” – Bay representing at it’s best. C-Bo, B-Legit, E-40, and Richie Rich all featured on this song in which Pac taunts his rival.

“I heard a rumor I died, murdered in cold blood dramatized
Pictures of me in my final stage you know Mama cried…..
And if you don’t like this rhyme
then bring your big bad ass to California, cause we ain’t hard to find

The song also features the classic B-Legit line, “I’m from the V-A-L-L-E-J-O -where sellin narcotics is all I know.”

pac in above the rim

3. Above the Rim – I know I wasn’t the only one who got chills when Tupac, as Birdie, pulled that blade out of his mouth. Gangsta!

2. “Brenda’s Got a Baby” – This song is based on the true story of a 12-year-old Oakland girl who gave birth and tried to leave the baby in a trash can. One of my earliest memories of Tupac is watching this video over and over again on The Box.

1. Juice – More early Tupac. Although he will always be best known for his music, Pac’s emergence on the Hip-Hop and Hollywood scenes was almost simultaneous. Tupac, as the troubled and often frightening teen Bishop, was the highlight of “Juice.”