Tupac Amaru Shakur was born Lesane Parish Crooks. As long as you’re addressing him by his famous moniker, this man needs no introduction.
2Pac is a legendary figure for his many notable contributions to hip hop and American culture, as well as the mystery surrounding his still-unsolved murder in 1996.
For one, although is mother’s name was Afeni Shakur and his aunt – a fairly famous Black Panther – was Assata Shakur it is believed that Afeni and Tupac’s father Billy Garland gave their son the name Lesane Parish Crooks to avoid him being targeted by his Black Panther-affiliated family’s enemies.
While that’s more interesting than the stories behind most names, it’s not the only notable aspect of how 2Pac’s name could have shaped his personality.
Tupac Amaru II – after whom the rapper was named – was a Peruvian revolutionary who met a similar end – as Amaru was executed after leading an uprising against Spain. Tupac’s last name, Shakur, was well-known among the black liberation community for a family of its leading social voices.
And how about the other, “official” name? Well, a constant theme of Tupac’s work was the struggle between good and bad – he constantly explored themes as diverse as murder and crime, while also writing heartfelt social anthems like “Baby Don’t Cry” and “Changes” (based on a sample of a Bruce Hornsby song). Within his birth name, we see both themes echoed. Parish represents a wholesome village overseen by a priest, and Crooks has a much more sinister, below-the-table connotation.
So what’s in a name? Well, in the case of Tupac “2Pac” Amaru Shakur, aka Lesane Parish Crooks, it could be more than you think. This is the kind of fuel that keeps us going in our pursuit to unlock the secrets of the funny-named corners of our galaxy.
And whether or not Tupac is alive today, we know that his legacy lives on through our work on the Funny Names Blog, thanks to some inspired parents who granted him such a fascinating set of names.