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11/8/2003 7:54:13 PM
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*Editors note-I know we have been doing alot of these Tupac Resurrection related stories lately. Well it is news and yes some contain the same information . Bare with me on this. This article has some great information in it. Newer Tupac fans will learn something from it, more devoted fans will be able to relate to what is said. I just wanted to say that from the beginning so you don't just glance over this. We are getting alot of information lately because of the Tupac Resurrection movie, so just don't glance and miss some of what this article has to offer.

It has been seven years since the rapper Tupac Shakur was killed at age 25 in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, and one can confidently say that he has never been more popular. More than 15 books, four documentaries, three college courses, a play and countless Web sites have explored his brief life and undying legacy.

Prolific still, Shakur has released more albums dead than alive (four while breathing, six posthumously). Bootlegs of his work abound — "Rap Phenomenon," an unauthorized mix tape of Shakur's work, was this fall's hip-hop must have. He has a hit song, "Running (Dying to Live)," produced by Eminem, on the radio. And Forbes recently ranked him No. 8 on it's Richest Deceased Celebrities list, with Shakur raking in $12 million from June 2002 to June 2003, $5 million more than his 2001 take-home pay. The new documentary "Tupac: Resurrection" (opening on Friday), and the accompanying book and soundtrack, will undoubtedly enhance Shakur's legend as one of music's most electrifying and endlessly fascinating artists.

Directed by Lauren Lazin, with Afeni Shakur, Tupac's mother, as an executive producer, "Resurrection" explores Shakur's spectacularly complicated life. Without a narrator or secondary interviews, Ms. Lazin relies solely on film, photos, old interviews and journal entries by Shakur. Since he does all the talking, this documentary, which was five years in the making, has an intensely autobiographical feel, and viewers are given the (false) sense that Shakur had an active role in the creation of the film.

"The way I wanted to tell this story was from Tupac's point of view," said Ms. Lazin, an executive producer at MTV. "He has such a strong voice. I didn't need other people talking about him. No one can speak for Tupac better than Tupac."

But why the enduring interest in Tupac Shakur after all these years?

On the surface, the reasons seem fairly simple. It is not uncommon for even lesser artists to have a surge of nostalgia-fueled popularity shortly after their deaths. And in the public imagination artists cut down in their prime — Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly — are forever frozen in their perfect states, never aging or fading in beauty, diminishing in talent or stature. Still, since Shakur's murder, the mystique surrounding him has swelled to near Elvis-like proportions.

"If Tupac had a Graceland, there would be people camping outside of his house right now," said Elliott Wilson, editor-in-chief of XXL, a hip-hop magazine.

Born to a Black Panther mother, Tupac Amaru Shakur was introduced to issues of race and politics early in life. Just one month before his birth, his mother was acquitted of conspiring to bomb several New York public buildings. Though much of his youth was spent in poverty (as Ms. Shakur battled a crack addiction), Shakur had a wealth of experience in the arts. He began performing at 12 with a Harlem acting troupe and then, at the Baltimore School of Arts, he picked up violin and ballet, fell in love with the paintings of Van Gogh and ultimately discovered his calling: rapping. He was 20 when "2Pacalypse Now," his debut, was released in 1991.

With that album, Shakur demonstrated an emotional honesty that was both palpable and intoxica

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