A stretch of MacArthur Boulevard near Lake Merritt in Oakland will have two names when the city adds signs for Tupac Shakur Way.

Shakur, the famous hip-hop artist, called Oakland his home and said the city is the place where he got his “game,” according to an announcement by the city and the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which honors Shakur’s legacy.

The unveiling of Tupac Shakur Way is planned for September between Grand and Van Buren avenues where Shakur once lived, following approval by the Oakland City Council on May 16.

City officials also plan to have commemorative signs and/or plaques to honor Shakur. Two albums each sold more than 10 million copies and he sold more than 75 million albums in total worldwide before he died at 25 years old.

“We look forward to peace, healing and building new legacies, here on Tupac Shakur Way.”

Sekyiwa ‘Set’ Shakur, president of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation

“If I’ma claim somewhere I’ma claim Oakland,” Shakur said, according to the city’s announcement.

City Councilmember Carroll Fife brought forth the resolution to celebrate Shakur with the commemorative street name.

“With what seemed to be effortless skill, this Black Panther Party Cub influenced hearts and minds while highlighting the contradictions of the brand of ‘American exceptionalism’ that ‘has money for wars but can’t feed the poor,’” Fife said in a statement.

“In addition to his theatrical and literary contributions, we recognize his social commentary; one that is just as relevant today as it was 30 years ago,” Fife added.

Career cut short

Shakur’s recording career spanned just five years before he was killed in 1996 in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.

Shakur was born in Harlem, New York City, in 1971. He later lived in Baltimore and Marin City, according to Oakland officials.

The street name honoring Shakur is meant to remember his contributions to Oakland and the Bay Area, which include the celebration of art and culture and their use as a tool to change society.

“We hope that this street sign resides at the intersection of Love, Courage, Compassion, Honor and Community,” said Sekyiwa ‘Set’ Shakur, president of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation and sister of the late Tupac Shakur.

“These are important virtues for me, my family and The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation,” she said. “We look forward to peace, healing and building new legacies, here on Tupac Shakur Way.”

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.