The music world was shocked and fans were left speechless on the night of September 7th, 1996 when rapper/actor Tupac Amaru Shakur (2Pac) was shot and killed in Las Vegas, NV. He was only 25-years-old.
Any time an individual who is considered larger than life is taken from the Earth too soon, people begin to immediately question the answers. That isn’t at all a bad thing by the way. We as Americans should really trust the mainstream media for the truth to around the level we trust our dogs not to eat an unattended steak sitting next to them.
I didn’t follow the 2Pac case very closely in 1996. I knew 2Pac well though. I even owned one of his records, 1993’s “Strictly 4 My N****z.” There was a lot of respect there, but in September of 1996 I had Pearl Jam’s “No Code” in heavy rotation while much of the rest of the world was transfixed on what is arguably 2Pac’s masterpiece – 1996’s “All Eyez on Me.” 2Pac was so big when his death crept up unexpectedly upon the world that my father even knew of him. I remember vividly having lunch with my father shortly after 2Pac’s murder and him saying “It’s a shame what happened to ol’ Six-Pack Shocker.” OK, so it’s apparent my old man didn’t follow mainstream music, but even he could realize what a tragedy the event was.
The news story went something like this. On September 7th, 1996 2Pac attended a fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with a close entourage, including the president of his record label, Death Row Records, Suge Knight. After the boxing match, 2Pac and his entourage spotted a man named Orlando Anderson, an alleged Crips gang member from Compton, CA, in the casino lobby. A fight ensued, which was captured on the MGM Grand’s video surveillance system. What happened next remains under debate still almost two decades later.
Upon leaving the MGM Grand, 2Pac and Suge Knight took a car together (Knight behind the wheel) as part of a convoy of entourage members in route to Club 662. At 11:05pm, 2Pac’s car was stopped by police on Las Vegas Boulevard (better known as “The Strip”), for not having license plates attached. The plates were in the trunk, so the police let them carry on with their journey. Five minutes later at 11:10pm, while stopped at a red light at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane, 2Pac interacted with two women in another car inviting them to Club 662. Five more minutes later at 11:15pm a white, four-door Cadillac pulled alongside the passenger side of 2Pac’s car and opened fire. 2Pac was hit in the chest, waist, right hand, and right thigh. The chest shot had entered 2Pac’s lung. The driver of the car, Suge Knight was only grazed in the head by a bullet fragment. 2Pac fought for his life in a Nevada hospital until September 13th, 1996 when internal bleeding and respiratory failure took the young man’s life. He was cremated the following day.
This seemed pretty reasonable to me. It was clear that rappers in the 1990s gained publicity and admiration by creating conflict with other rappers and attempting to prove their gang and criminal-minded authenticity by living (or appearing to live) the life of a street thug turned gangsta. It’s something that was (and still is) considered a life path to be romanticized. It’s kind of like how outlaws in the wild west were (and still are) romanticized. Much of that culture we now know was fake, but brilliant marketing. In some cases though, it wasn’t fake. People took it too far. Nobody should have ever have had to die over something like art. And nobody should have had to live in constant fear to sell some records either. At some point, the people involved could have stood back and just thought “this is f**king nuts.” But common sense and forward-thinking never happened. 2Pac ended up not being the final casualty of this gang war over record sales.
It wasn’t until a few years later when I began to hear the rumors that “2Pac is still alive.” To me, that sounded pretty silly. It sounded kind of like a supermarket tabloid headline like “Elvis Re-incarnated as Bigfoot.” Therefore, I never paid much attention to the many theories floating around. When looking into anything such as this, I want to see something physical. The incoherent ramblings of people listening to lyrics way too closely didn’t interest me. I never saw anything physical relating to the case until I ran across some website somewhere, when I was probably bored to death, that pointed out some strange things in the what is now famous last known photo of 2Pac sitting in the car in which he was attacked minutes later. What was pointed out prompted me for the first time to take a closer look.
At the top of this article you can see the famous final photograph of 2Pac alive. Looks pretty normal doesn’t it? Look closer at the photo gallery here. Did you see that there are no keys in the ignition? Pretty weird to drive a car with the ignition not engaged. Look at 2Pac himself in the same photo beside his US Army picture here. His eyes tell the story. It is quite possible that this is 2Pac’s head on someone else’s body all together. I’m not saying it’s true. I’m saying it’s very interesting to look at.
What else is out there regarding the case? After quite a lot of research, I found a lot. There is way too much to even mention in this article. Admittedly, there are also some pretty cuckoo theories out there. There is stuff as wacky as the “Jackie O killed JFK” theory. It’s a lot to sift through. But on the eve of the 18th anniversary of the violent end to 2Pac’s life, let’s look at some things regarding the case that can make one’s head turn and think again. Is this guy actually still alive?
• 2Pac loved poetry, playing with words, and especially imagery. He was a master of it. Shortly before his death 2Pac decided to begin calling himself “Makaveli.” Historically, the real Nicolo Machiavelli authored works such as “The Art of War” in 1521 and was well-known for proposing the military strategy of faking one’s own death to fool said enemy. Did 2Pac have enemies? I think we’d say give a big “yes” to that question. Was he facing serious jail time? The answer to that is “yes” as well. So if 2Pac wanted to be “reborn,” as he stated in his lyrics, as a new person, following the advice of his new namesake would surely accomplish that. In a nutshell, did 2Pac have anything to gain from faking his own death? The answer is “yes.”
• If 2Pac actually was murdered just like the case files say he was, was there motive anywhere other than an idiotic scuffle with a Crip in the MGM lobby? Could he have been set up? I’m not at all saying anyone there was involved, including Suge Knight, but Death Row Records stood to gain from the demise of its biggest money-maker at the time, 2Pac. At the time of the shooting, 2Pac is said to have been planning to leave Death Row Records and starting his own label called Makaveli Records. This is why he had so much unreleased music recorded by the way. If something were to happen to 2Pac while still under the Death Row umbrella, seems that Death Row would be apt to be able to keep all of the publishing, masters, and unreleased material. Something to think about.
• In the music video for “Live & Die in LA,” one has to look closely to see something I would have never noticed if I hadn’t read up on it extensively and had it pointed out to me. The Air Jordans he is wearing were not even around in 2Pac’s lifetime. That’s strange. I guess he could have had a time machine.
• 2Pac was cremated the day after he died. It’s standard medical practice for an autopsy to be performed, especially in the case of foul play. Although later someone writing a book suddenly had 2Pac autopsy photos. An autopsy being performed is unlikely and almost impossible due to the accelerated timetable of the cremation.
• Official reports say that an ambulance arrived at the scene of the shooting and took 2Pac to the hospital. Suge Knight, the driver of the car, said he drove to the hospital and had a coherent conversation with the injured 2Pac along the way. Knight later changed that recollection to an ambulance showing up.
• The social security # listed on the coroner’s report is 546-47-8539. It took some research to verify the theory, but it can be documented that this SSN was issued in California in 1977. 2Pac was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1971.
• The whole Makaveli thing gets stranger. Check out the album title: “Makaveli The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory.” Are you good at anagrams? I am not, but it was pointed out to me from someone who is, this pretty cool anagram of that album title. “Ok on tha 7th u think I’m dead yet I’m really alive.” Also interesting that he was shot on the 7th.
• Did you know that it is legal to fake your own death in the state of Nevada? That’s the only place that is legal.
• Nicolo Machiavelli came back from faking his death 18 years later. A resurrection so to speak. Could we expect to see 2Pac actually showing back up alive in September 2014? Many people claim to have spotted him in Haiti and in Cuba over the years, but nothing concrete. Was he really shot just like the police reports say? Was he set up by those close to him? Or did he fake the whole thing to avoid jail time and rigors of fame and to return 18 years later like Machiavelli did? It’s an interesting topic to ponder no matter your opinion. Only time will tell.
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