Today in Hip Hop History | Tupac Shakur Passed Away 24 Years Ago

As an artist, Tupac Shakur reached the pinnacle of success. He is the undisputed king of the West Coast, selling more than 75 million albums worldwide to date. With his art, he expressed himself as a talented creator, activist and cultural icon.

Tupac Shakur was gunned down in cold blood in a drive-by shooting in 1996, leaving rap fans devastated.

Aged just 25, he was shot four times - twice in the chest, once in the arm and once in the thigh - as he pulled up outside Las Vegas' Club 662 in a black BMW with Death Row Records boss Suge Knight.

Despite being placed in a drug-induced coma, he died from respiratory failure and cardiac arrest in hospital six days later on September 13 - 23 years ago today.

No arrests were ever made or charges brought but last year, suspect Keefe D claimed he took part in the murder as retaliation for his nephew Orlando 'Baby Lane' Anderson's beating at the hands of Tupac earlier in the night.

Tupac's good intentions were often overshadowed by his divisive public persona. His record label, Death Row Records, benefitted by purposely playing up his intimidating image.

Endorsed by the expectations that surrounded him, he often engaged in destructive and violent behavior. Public instances like his encounters with law enforcement, multiple incarcerations and newsworthy trials, fueled the media’s negative image.

As Tupac became a bigger star, he struggled to manage the jealousy and envy that surrounded him. Addressing that realization, he said:

“Up until I got shot, I believed that no black person would shoot me, I’m their representative.”

Raised by a Black Panther, he saw these actions as a blatant contradiction. “THUG LIFE” tattooed across his stomach— was a manifestation of the very negligence and hatred he fought against.

He was a soldier who battled his inner-self as well as outside enemies.

Stricken with cancer, Keefe - real name Duane Keith Davis - refused to say who pulled the trigger, but admitted both he and his nephew were in the car.

"I was a Compton kingpin, drug dealer, I'm the only one alive who can really tell you story about the Tupac killing," said Keefe D in new Netflix series, Unsolved: The Tupac and Biggie Murders. "People have been pursuing me for 20 years, I'm coming out now because I have cancer. And I have nothing else to lose. All I care about now is the truth."

But in the 23 years since Tupac's death there have been no shortage of conspiracy theories, with some believing he faked his own killing, and others claiming to have spotted him in Cuba...


Tupac sometimes performed under the stage name Makaveli – his album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory was released under that name for example.

He picked the name after Italian war strategist Niccolò Machiavelli who pretended to fake his death.

That’s not all though if you switch the letters in Makaveli around you get – Am Alive K.

Furthermore the album, which was released under the name, has the words “Exit 2Pac, Enter Makaveli” on the cover and it of course featured him as Jesus Christ – who you know, came back to life after seven days. Coincidence?

Were there hints in his lyrics?

After this death everyone analysed every lyric he ever rapped and jumped to conclusions.

Perhaps most notably on Richie Rich’s N***** Done Change he rapped:

“I’ve been shot and murdered, can’t tell you how it happened word for word but best believe that n*****’ gonna get what they deserve.”
On another track he says: “all for the street fame on how to be managed, to plan s***, 6 months in advance to what we plotted, approved to go on swole and now I got it.”