Tupac Got His Start in Ballet
Tupac Shakur is the original gangsta rapper, the most influential badass in hip-hop history, and the man that 50 Cent and Kanye West only wish they could be. The man who brazenly mixed raps about social injustice with blowing the heads off his enemies' children with a .44 single-handedly popularized no-holds-barred gangsta rap while making a generation of white people sleep with the lights on.
Christopher Polk/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images And later reinforced the habit when they thought he returned as a ghost.
But Actually ...
The fans will tell you that the reason why Tupac stood alone from the rest was because he wasn't just a rapper, but an artist. He quoted Shakespeare and even compared Romeo and Juliet to a Crips and Bloods story. Shakur denied that he was a gangster and hated the reputation (even if openly rapping murder threats about rivals certainly didn't help). And if you previously thought he was somebody who made the successful transition from gangsta to gangsta rapper, well ...
In 1986, a 15-year-old Tupac moved with his family to the gritty streets of Baltimore. After finishing eighth grade, Tupac moved to the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he studied acting, poetry, jazz ... and ballet. Before he was the world's most known and feared badass, the future Public Enemy No. 1 played the Mouse King in The Nutcracker. He also performed in Shakespearean plays and was a regular assistant to Broadway shows during those days.
He didn't choose performance theater, perform- Oh, wait. Yes, yes, he did.
Now, if you were building the mental image of a rebellious Tupac waiting to leave the lame patrol and deny any part of his ballet past, think again. Tupac said, "I loved going to school. It taught me a lot. I was starting to feel like I really wanted to be an artist."
So there you go: Tupac Shakur worked his way up to his murderous reputation from dancing around in tights to the girliest art form short of synchronized swimming. He probably only hated Biggie Smalls for his lack of poise.
Steve Granitz / WireImage / Getty "Can't do a pirouette into a leap and you and I are gonna have beef, just sayin'."
Amanda would like to thank Devan Thayer Lund for the suggestion of Carroll O'Connor. You can read more from Amanda at Mannafesto or follow her on Twitter. Javier Yepes' friends are organizing a Film Festival in Guatemala, you can donate here.
Related Reading: Not all celebrity surprises are this satisfying. Did you know John Lennon was an abusive asshole who hit women? Or that Sean Penn tied up and beat Madonna? You're probably feeling rather disillusioned right now. But hey, Bill O'Reilly is actually a well-educated Harvard man. So, uh. That's something.