In eighth grade, Tupac under the alias MC New York, Ace Rocker and DJ Plain Terror formed a group, Born Busy. They used to write lyrics for Jada Pinkett who was rapping back then.
If you take one look in the 2Pacalypse Now booklet, you will notice that all songs are produced by the so called Underground RailRoad. The Underground RailRoad is pretty unknown to most Pac fans. It consists of Raw Fusion, the Live Squad, Big D The Impossible, Pee Wee, Jeremy and members of Digital Underground, the crew Pac joined in the bay area and had his first Studio Records with. Live Squad was the crew of Randy ‘Stretch’ Walker who was Pac’s closest homeboy around the time when 2Pacalypse Now and Strictly For My NIGGAZ were produced. For some unknown reason the Underground Railroad split shortly after that.
Tupac was 18 when he joined the bay area based rap crew Digital Underground which was formed by Shock G and ChopMaster J. They had their first record in 1987 called ‘Underwater Rimes’ which made it to No. 1 in the Netherlands. Then in 1989 they signed to ‘Tommy Boy Records.’ Around that time they had 7 members, one of them was Tupac. Tupac joined the group and went on tour with them. In order to make room for him on the tour he filled the roady position. He first appeared on a record on the song ‘Same Song’ on ‘This is an EP release’. Then later he went on to rap under his alias MC New York and went with DU on a world tour. Tupac became a solo artist with his first solo record ‘2Pacalypse Now’ but was close with DU until he died in 96.
2 from the Crew
In 1986 Tupac joined the crew of ‘2 from the Crew’, which was a rap group formed by teenagers who lived in the ‘Jungle’ of Marin City. This was the time when Pac first came up with his ‘Thug Life’. They were called thugs in the neighborhood, that’s why their theme song was called ‘Thug Life’. So you can see that Pac didn’t came up with Thug Life only for the media as some people claim; he was really living it. The group made songs like ‘Lifestyle of the Poor and Homeless’ and ‘Lets Get It On’. They were rapping about the life of a young black male living in the ghetto, a topic Pac always wanted to inform the people about.
Tupac was very lucky when he met Leila Steinberg in San Francisco. He became friends with her and she became his manager. She was a show moderator and had good connections in the music industry. She introduced Pac to Ray Luv and later, Tupac and Ray formed the group ‘Strictly Dope’. They recorded several songs and after his death they were released on the album ‘1 in 21’. It was Leila who introduced Pac to Atron Gregory, who was the manager of the grammy-nominated group Digital Underground and liked Pacs raps because they were straight of the street.
In 1986, Tupac and another rapper formed the group 2 From The Crew. People in their neighborhood always called them thugs, so they started saying, “Thug Life. Shut up, beitch.” They eventually recorded a song titled “Thug Life.” Years later, Tupac and Randy “Stretch” Walker formed the duo Thug Life. Stretch later left the group for unknown reasons.
In 1992, Tupac met Tyruss “Little Psycho” Himes. They recorded a song also titled “Thug Life” and soon Little Psycho joined the group under the name Syke. Later Macadoshis and The Rated R joined the group. They signed with Interscope Records and recorded an LP titled Thug Life Volume 1. It was so hardcore and underground that Interscope at first didn’t want it, but they later changed their mind. Then Tupac’s stepbrother, Mopreme Shakur, joined the group.
On September 26, 1994, Thug Life Volume 1 was released. It sold gold, which was good, but not as good as they expected. A lot of people blamed Interscope who edited and removed a lot of songs on the LP. The first single and video was “Pour Out A Little Liquor” which was a Tupac solo song. The second, third and fourth singles and videos were “Cradle To The Grave,” “How Long Will They Mourn Me?” and “It Don’t Stop.”
On November 30, Tupac was robbed and shot four times at Quad Recording Studios in New York. The next day he was arrested for sexual abuse. He was found guilty and on Februrary 14, 1995, he was sent to prison. On October 12, Death Row Records, Interscope Records and Time Warner paid a $1,4 million bail to have Tupac released. In return he had to sign a three album deal with Death Row Records.
After all this, the group broke up. Syke and Mopreme joined Tupac’s new group, the Outlawz, but then left. Syke signed with Makaveli Records and he and Tupac were planning to record a second Thug Life volume, but on September 7, 1996, Tupac was shot four times in a drive-by-shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was taken to University Medical Center where he died a week later.”
The Outlawz are a crew that Tupac formed just prior to his death. The group originally featured Yaki Kadafi, Hussein Fatal, EDI Mean, Kastro, Napoleon, and Young Noble.
After Kadafi and Fatal passed away, only Noble and EDI remain active members, although are semi-retired.