June 16, 1971 — Tupac Shakur is born

Born Tupac Amaru Shakur in New York City on June 16 of 1971, Tupac was a rap artists. In addition to his own name, he also used the stage names 2Pac, Pac and later Makaveli (although that last name never really caught on).

He grew up in Harlem and many of his songs reflect his background, dealing with topics such as growing up amid the violence and hardship of ghettos, racism and crime. In addition to his career as a rapper, Tupac was also an actor and a social activist known for his advocacy of racial egalitarianism.

In the course of his career, he sold over 75 million albums worldwide and was named the 86th Greatest Artist of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine. He was shot in a drive by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996, and died from his wounds in hospital shortly thereafter. Tupac was mourned by rap fans the world over, and remains one of the best known rappers in history.

July 7, 1974 — Malcolm Greenridge, a.k.a. E.D.I. Mean, is born

A member of hip hop ensemble Outlawz, E.D.I. Mean (his name is intended to sound like that of Idi Amin – although why anyone thought that was a good idea is a matter of considerable speculation) is best known for his work with Tupac. Mean met Tupac through his third grade classmate, Katari “Kastro” Cox, a cousin of Tupac.

His first recording was a guest appearance on Tupac’s 1993 single, “Holler If Ya Hear Me”. Mean would frequently record with Tupac between 1995 and Tupac’s death in 1996. E.D.I. Mean remains an active recording artist, although his recent work has largely consisted of guest appearances on other artist’s recordings.

November 5, 1996 — Tupac Shakur changes his professional name to Makaveli

In 1995, Tupac was sent to prison for molestation. While serving his time in Clinton Correctional Facility, he read, among others, Niccolò Machiavelli, which inspired his pseudonym “Makaveli” – under which he released his next album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. He also read Sun Tzu and other works of politics and philosophy.

The album was very different from Tupac’s earlier works, perhaps unsurprisingly given that it was largely inspired by his time in prison. The title was inspired by how long it took him to record the album – 3 days to write and record, 4 more to produce.

By the time it came out, Tupac had been dead for almost two months, fatally shot on September 7.