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The September update of the American National Biography features five new essays, including legendary rappers Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B. I. G.; influential country music star Buck Owens; gay and transgender rights activist Sylvia Rivera; and Alan Berkman, a doctor and radical activist involved with the Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground.
Tupac Shakur (1971-1996) helped define the West Coast gangsta rap sound. His lyrics, which ranged from drug street poetry to potent analysis of social problems, have influenced countless rappers, poets, and musicians. Shakur was murdered at the height of his fame, in a still-unsolved case that raised suspicions of the involvement of his friend-turned-rival the Notorious B. I. G. (1972-1997), the pathbreaking East Coast rapper also included in this update. The latter was himself murdered less than six months later, linking the two hip hop icons forever.