It has been over 20 years since the death of one of hip-hop’s brightest stars, Tupac Shakur. Shakur was gunned down in Las Vegas on September 7, 1996, after attending the Mike Tyson vs. Bruce Seldom fight. The late rapper was shot four times riding in a 740il BMW alongside former Death Row boss Suge Knight. He would end up dying six days later and his murder has still remained unsolved since then.
Prior to his death, Tupac was involved in multiple feuds with some of hip-hop’s biggest stars, street guys, and gang bangers that ultimately led to his demise. His most public feud was against his former friends The Notorious B.I.G. and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, who was also the owner of Bad Boy Records. Both Combs and B.I.G. were from New York City and were responsible for the resurgence of East Coast rap.
On November 30, 1994, Shakur was shot five times in New York City in the lobby of Quad Studios. Tupac was in town for the filming of Above The Rim, a movie that he starred in alongside Duane Martin and Marlon Wayans. While in town, Shakur had formed close relationships with Jacques “Haitian Jack” Agnant and Jimmy “Henchman” Rosemond, who were both known at the time to have serious street reputations.
Prior to the shooting at Quad, Shakur was accused of rape by a female he was introduced to by Agnant. The shooting was believed to be ordered by Rosemond and Agnant to discipline the rapper for comments he made to reporters regarding the case and to challenge his gangster reputation. After being found guilty of sodomy, Tupac was sentenced to serve time at the Clinton Correctional Facility just one day after his release from Bellevue Hospital Center.
After leaving the hospital and receiving his jail sentence, Shakur made it clear that he felt that P. Diddy and the Notorious B.I.G. were aware that he was going to be set up at Quad Studios on the night of the shooting but did not care enough to give him a warning. Pac ultimately held the two artists responsible for the incident and slowly but surely began to plot his revenge.
After serving nine months at the Clinton Correctional Facility, Shakur was bailed out by Death Row owner Marion “Suge” Knight for $1.4 million in exchange for three albums for the label. Once released, Shakur wasted no time and released one of the hardest diss songs ever, “Hit Em Up,” unleashing an all-out lyrical assault on Bad Boy Records and several other artists from New York. This would lead the infamous East Coast vs. West Coast war.
At the same time, Tupac’s boss Suge Knight was also in a feud with P. Diddy himself. The two were involved in a dispute at a nightclub that resulted in the shooting death of Suge’s friend and bodyguard. However, it wasn’t until the allegiance that was formed by Pac and Suge and the release of the diss track “Hit Em Up” that led Diddy to begin to fear for his safety.
This would lead to Combs allegedly hiring the Southside Crips gang in Los Angeles, CA, for protection when he and the Notorious B.I.G. visited the city. Knight was already a member of the Compton Blood gang, so Combs was well aware of who and what he was up against. As the situation became more intense with the continuous insults from Shakur, Combs allegedly put a $1 million contract out to have both Tupac and Suge Knight killed by the Southside Crips, according to a 2016 Daily Mail article.
Not too long after word was spread about the alleged contract, Shakur was involved in a fight with Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, who was ironically a member of the Southside Crips. Shortly after, while heading to do a performance at Club 662, which was owned by Knight, Tupac was killed by an unidentified shooter driving in a white Cadillac. For over 20 years there seemed to be no evidence against any of the suspected individuals that Shakur had feuds with.
However, according to former LAPD Detective Greg Kading in his 2011 book Murder Rap, leader of the Southside Crips gang Keefe D provided statements that detailed his involvement in the Shakur murder. Keefe D stated that there was indeed a $1 million dollar contract put out on Knight and Shakur by Combs. The claim made by Keefe D seems pretty accurate considering Combs was the only one that Tupac had a feud with that could afford such a big payout.
P. Diddy has continuously denied having any involvement in the murder of Shakur, but many hip-hop fans believe otherwise. Kading stated in an interview with Vlad TV that it would be difficult to bring a case against Combs because of his wealth that would provide a high-powered defense team of lawyers. It is very likely Diddy will never admit to any involvement in the murder of Shakur, but the statements provided by Keefe D certainly make it hard to believe that he’s completely innocent.
USA Network recently premiered its new series titled Unsolved (Season 1: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.) on February 27, 2018. According to the New York Times, the show is inspired by Detective Kading’s Murder Rap book. It will display the relationship between the late Notorious B.I.G. and Shakur whose murders have both remained unsolved.