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YEAR IN REVIEW / 1996

How Shall He Be Remembered?

December 29, 1996

The question left by the death of Tupac Shakur, the rap star who died of gunshot wounds Sept. 13, is whether we should ultimately judge an artist by his life or by his art. As a person, there was much to suggest Shakur was a failure, including his 1995 sexual abuse conviction involving a 19-year-old woman. As an artist, however, Shakur was a valuable and compelling chronicler of his struggle with the personal demons that ultimately contributed to his destruction. The hope is that others caught in the same social vise don't ignore the warning signs in Shakur's albums.

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