Tupac Shakur’s death at the age of 25 rocked the hip-hop world, shaking it all the way down to its core and left fans questioning why one of gangster or ‘gangsta’ rap’s biggest stars was cut down in his prime in a senseless act of violence. After all, this was Tupac. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
As one of Tupac’s fans, I sat on my couch stunned as news of his shooting was reported that evening. I was confident he would pull through as he had a couple years earlier when there was attempt on his life. A few days later on September 13, 1996, media reported his death and hip-hop was thrown in a tailspin.
Someone once said Tupac Shakur was worth more dead than alive, and they may be right. Years after the rappers death, his albums continue to sell and a total of 10 albums have been released posthumously. All of them have gone platinum.
I often find myself wondering where Tupac would be today had he been spared the brutal ending of his life. He was a talented rapper and had a promising career as an actor, having starred in ‘Juice’ and ‘Poetic Justice’ in 1992. His last movie, ‘Gang Related,’ was released October 10, 1996.
According to MTV News the rapper talked about his potential as an actor and musician in his last interview:
“I could be the best actor anybody’s ever seen, given the chance, the opportunity and the experience and the lessons from people. I could be the best, but right now, I don’t even wish to be the best, I just want to be one of them.”
West Coast-East Coast Feud and the First Attempt on Tupac’s Life:
By the mid-90s, the feud between East Coast record label Bad Boy Entertainment and West Coast label Death Row had gotten rather heated. What began as a war of words soon manifested itself into violence and Tupac swore his allegiance to the West Coast, although he had many friends from the East Coast. He was linked to at least one act of violence – that against record promoter Mark Anthony Bell.
The first attempt of Tupac’s life came in 1994. Tupac was in New York waiting for sentencing on a sexual assault conviction.
East Coast rapper Little Shawn invited the rapper to record at Quad Studios. Tupac and his entourage arrived and were waiting for an elevator when they were ambushed and robbed. Tupac tried to overtake one of his assailants and the man fired his weapon, striking Tupac five times – twice in the head, twice in the groin, and one bullet hit an arm and his thigh. Tupac believed he was set up.
Tupac survived the attack, but his luck ran out two years later.
The Death of Tupac Shakur:
Tupac Shakur was in Las Vegas to see the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon boxing match at the MGM Grand Hotel in early September 1996. Following the match, he and Suge Knight left for Club 662, named for the California penal code for ‘death row.’
Tupac was a passenger in a black 1996 BMW 750 driven by Knight. The pair was pulled over by Las Vegas police for loud music and no tags on the car and let go. They pulled up to a red light and, in a scene straight out of ‘The Godfather,’ were boxed in by cars to their front and rear.
On one side of them was a car carrying four women who Knight flirted with. Neither man paid attention to the white Cadillac that pulled up alongside the driver’s side. One of the men in the Cadillac brandished a gun and fired thirteen times into the BMW.
Tupac attempted to take cover in the backseat of the car but was restrained by his seatbelt. He was hit three times in the chest, hip, and right hand. Miraculously, Knight was only hit once in the neck and his injuries were not life threatening.
Police in the area heard the gunfire and quickly made their way to the scene. Knight attempted to drive Tupac to the emergency room himself, but he was down two tires that had been shot out and he blew a third tire when his car hit a median, disabling the car.
When police arrived, they called an ambulance. As for his entourage, they were treated as suspects and the white Cadillac disappeared into the night carrying Tupac’s killers with it.
Tupac was still conscious and talking when he arrived at Universal Medical Center. He was put on life support, underwent three surgeries – one of which was to remove a lung – and was put in a drug-induced coma.
Tupac Shakur succumbed to his injuries six days after the shooting. To date, no one has been arrested for his murder.
The Blame Game and Conspiracy Theories:
Some say Knight was responsible while others put the blame on Christopher Wallace, also known as Biggie Smalls and the Notorious B.I.G., or Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, as he was called then. Still, some say the FBI assassinated Tupac. The list goes on and on.
Believe it or not, there are those who believe he is still alive, probably on a nice warm beach somewhere sipping Mai Tai’s with Elvis as they look out over the ocean.
Tupac Shakur Biopic in the Works:
In June 2010, it was announced a movie was in the works based on Tupac’s life. The director, Antoine Fuqua, is the same man who directed the biopic ‘Notorious’ based on the life of the Notorious B.I.G., another tragic rapper who was gunned down six months after Shakur died.
Fan of Tupac Shakur
News – Articles – 1433998 – 19970926, Tupac Talks About Acting Goals In One Of His Last Interviews, MTV News
Tupac Should Be Played By Unknown Actor, Biopic Director Says – MTV Movie News| MTV