Hip-hop enthusiasts are celebrating the lyrics and life of Tupac Shakur today (June 16), as the talented West Coast rhymer would have turned 40 years old.

Pac, who was taken too soon on Sept. 13, 1996, after a drive-by shooting left him mortally wounded, stood as one of rap's esteemed poetic forces. His words were carefully crafted and his tracks were filled with vivid storytelling from a man with more than money and cars to speak of.

For those that never had the opportunity to see his live performance, hearing his lyrics and watching his videos sufficed, only to prove to his legion of followers that he was a rapper that excelled in every aspect of his craft.

The famed MC released four studio albums -- '2Pacalypse Now,' 'Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.,' 'Me Against the World' and 'All Eyez on Me' -- during his lifetime, and several posthumously, including 'The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory' and 'Greatest Hits.' He also joined forces with the group Thug Life, later dubbed the Outlawz, to craft the LP, 'Thug Life: Volume 1.'

His album sales, which go well over 75 million -- a number reported back in 2007 -- prove even after death his legacy as a cultural icon still lives on. Songs like 'I Ain't Mad at Cha' and 'Dear Mama' showcased his knack for speaking from the heart while 'Hit 'Em Up,' his famed diss aimed at Notorious B.I.G., shed light on his animated delivery in the face of the East Coast-West Coast rap war.

From his roles in movies like 'Poetic Justice' to his many bids in prison, he proved to be a talented yet troubled black man. But never did that take away from the impact and influence on those he left behind.

While his murder is still a mystery 15 years later, news broke on the eve of his birthday, Wednesday (June 15), that Dexter Isaac was the famed gunman during the 1994 shooting and robbery of Pac at Quad Studios in New York City. Though Isaac reportedly confessed to the crime and named music industry veteran Jimmy "Henchmen" Rosemond as the man who planned the act, there is still much speculation regarding his claims.

Watch Tupac's 'Thugz Mansion'
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