Túpac Amaru: A Legacy of Rap and Revolution

Image of the last emperor of the Inca, Tupac Amaru. Author and date unknown.

Image of the last emperor of the Inca, Tupac Amaru. Author and date unknown.

The name Tupac is known around the world. One of the most charismatic rappers of the 90’s has seen his image posthumously plastered on shirts and posters around the globe. Few in the Western World would not have heard of him. But the name Tupac was not an original. It’s an Inca name, one steeped in history, with origins going back to the emperors of the Andes.

I admit that my first encounter with the name was due to the rapper. Having grown up near San Francisco and graduating from high school in 1995, I was well and truly familiar with the poster boy of West Coast hip hop. But shortly after the rapper’s death, a Marxist revolutionary group in Peru took over the Japanese embassy, holding hostages for over 100 days before a commando raid by government forces ended the standoff. I became more interested in the name behind the deceased emcee.

Continue reading