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5. His Appearance
Biggie Smalls had Coogi sweaters. Tupac had a wealth of bandanas, a nose ring and tattoos. The late rapper dodged fitted caps and instead tied a bandana in a style that has become celebrated yearly by fans paying homage to Tupac at Halloween. The controversial star even made men feel comfortable enough in their own skin to sport a nose ring. But the most recognizable aspect of 'Pac's overall appearance was the "Thug Life" tattoo printed on his stomach, which served as a reminder of who he was and what he ultimately wanted to move away from.
4. His Passion
Never one to shy away from the camera, fans could always count on Tupac to give an opinion, act unruly or put on a show. He embodied the spirit of a friend everyone knew -- one that was troublesome on the come-up but was striving for progress. Though the emcee spat at reporters or admittedly beat up the Hughes brothers after they fired him from his role in 'Menace II Society,' fans still supported him because he was raw and unapologetic in his approach.
3. His Big Screen Moments
Tupac naturally transitioned from a rapper to actor, which would later pave the way for the likes of T.I. and Ludacris. The West Coast rapper did not stray far from his true persona in the roles he took. Most poignant were his roles as the gun-toting killer Bishop in 'Juice,' the neighborhood drug dealer Birdie in 'Above the Rim' and the strong-minded Lucky in 'Poetic Justice.'
2. His West Coast Representation
Whether living in New York City, Miami or Detroit, rap fans felt a smidgen of what life was like in California through Tupac's rhymes and videos. People learned standard hand signals for West Coast affiliations through album covers like 'All Eyez on Me.' Then there were his odes to the "the citaaay, the city of Compton" -- 'California Love' and 'To Live & Die in L.A.' His devotion to the region was wholly felt as he spit on the latter, "I love Cali like I love women."
1. His Impactful Words
Authentic. Thought-provoking. Effulgent. Tupac's words resonated most soundly with African Americans facing the same hardships as he had, but his status as a raconteur allowed for his lyrics to touch the masses. On 'Me Against the World,' the lauded rapper acted as a spokesman for those feeling backed into a corner, with sentiments of loneliness and frustration. But it was the social poetics he displayed on 'Keep Ya Head Up' that gave way to what he was capable of accomplishing as an icon. His words on the track caused men to question their actions and women to praise his efforts: "I wonder why we take from our women/ Why we rape our women, do we hate on our women/ I think it's time to kill for our women/ Time to heal our women, be real to our women."