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Tupac Shakur (1971—1996) was a renowned rapper who released several very popular (and by now classic), if rather sweary, albums.
He was politically-minded, and had political aspirations that were cut short when he was murdered at the young age of 25.
Shakur's estate has lovingly kept his memory alive by releasing albums of just about every grunt or fart Shakur recorded any time, anywhere. These started out okay-for-fans and have since tunneled through the bottom of the barrel and straight into the bowels of Hell. Stick to the albums put together when he was alive, and was able to exercise any sort of quality control.
And you know the tattoos which read "THUG LIFE", that people get done across their bellies? That's a tribute to Tupac.
Life (and death)
Young Black Male
Lesane Parish Crooks was born in East Harlem on June 16, 1971. The following year, his mother Afeni Shakur (born Alice Williams) changed her son's name to Tupac Shakur, after Tupac Amaru II, the last Incan emperor who led a native uprising against Spanish rule in the 18th century. Tupac's parents were active members of the Black Panther Party at the time, his mother having been acquitted in the Panther 21 case a month before she gave birth, and many of his family members were committed black nationalists. Tupac was interested in the arts from a young age, but the means by which he expressed that interest may be surprising for somebody who only knows him for his hip-hop career. As a child, he was chiefly involved in acting, poetry, jazz, and ballet, performing in Harlem's 127th Street Repertory Ensemble and later, after his family moved to Baltimore, enrolling in the Baltimore School for the Arts. Yes, one of the most legendarily hardcore and gritty rappers of all time used to be a ballet dancer.
Fortune and Fame
Tupac had also been rapping from an early age, and began recording when he was sixteen, but his career didn't take off until the '90s. His debut album 2Pacalypse Now in 1991 was an underground hit that went Gold and marked the beginning of both Tupac's fame and his controversy as the album featured graphic depictions of violence against cops as a legitimate means of self-defense, with Dan Quayle railing against him after the shooting of a highway patrolman in Texas by a man who claimed to have been influenced by the album. Tupac followed this up with his first platinum-selling record Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z... in 1993, where he addresses the criticisms he received for his first album and urged vice president Quayle to simply "eat a dick up."
His first two offerings largely dealt with police brutality and racial injustice and were moderate successes. While still sticking to socially conscious topics, the burgeoning focus on gangsta rap in the hip hop industry left Tupac to reinvent himself as a "thug" and promptly formed a supergroup called Thug Life in 1993, releasing one album that went Gold. However, Tupac's success came in the midst of legal troubles. He shot at two off-duty police officers after he ran into them with his entourage. Suicidal much? In another violent instance he assaulted one of the directors of Menace II Society after he was fired from the movie for causing trouble on the set. Tupac insisted on being one of the two main characters as he was displeased with his role of a Muslim gangbanger, claiming the role was inauthentic as according to him there was no such thing in the world. Tupac later served a 15-day prison sentence after he ironically snitched on himself admitting to the battery by boasting about it on MTV which was later used as evidence in the case.
In 1993, he was charged for sexual assault, eventually serving nine months in prison in 1995. As it is often the case when a famous man is accused of rape, some of his most ardent fans were quick to denounce the account of the woman in question. However both Tupac's and the accuser's story of their relationship are largely identical to one another, the only difference being that Tupac is making out the accuser to be a slut who demanded the gang rape. In a later interview the woman who accused Tupac told that the law enforcers who handled the case were more concerned about convicting a famous black man than helping her, a black female victim of rape.
Later Tupac admitted to hating black women after the charge first came up. This is evidenced by posthumously released songs recorded during the lawsuit which are riddled with nasty attacks on supposed golddiggers. Tupac came to his senses again after he experienced the support he got from black women during the trial and the interaction he had with the black female guards during his term. This episode in his life heavily influenced the lyrical content of his third solo album Me Against the World which was released during his prison sentence, becoming the first artist to have a #1 album on the Billboard 200 while in prison.
Heavy in the Game
Before he was convicted, Tupac was mugged and shot in 1994, and accused the Notorious B.I.G. and Sean Combs of instigating the attack, marking the beginning of a feud with the two. It shouldn't go unmentioned that Tupac had virtually no evidence for his accusation; what little evidence he did have boiled down to Combs and Wallace associating with drug dealers he had some negative history with (one of them, Jacques "Haitian Jack" Agnant was his co-defendant in his rape trial, although unlike Shakur he was acquitted). While Biggie occasionally participated in the beef musically (and in one instance was actually humorous about it given the circumstances[note 1]), Tupac on the other hand was pretty involved in the dispute, wishing the cruelest deaths on his adversaries, which eventually turned into an obsession bordering on a persecution complex where everyone who was tangibly mentioning the shooting, slightly supportive of his foes at Bad Boy Records or just any person he had a pet peeve with got a spot on his ever-growing hate list. These did not exclusively include artists from the rival coast of the East-West rivalry though (which would be too numerous to mention anyway). He accused Ice Cube of stealing his idea of letting off steam against East Coast rappers even though Cube made those types of songs before Tupac was even released from jail.[note 2] In less than a year he went from rapping with Dr. Dre to mentioning on record that he is glad of making a song "without gay ass Dre." Lastly even friend and label-mate Snoop Dogg felt Tupac's ire at the end of the latter's life for simply mentioning that he had no issues with Biggie and Puffy.
It's unknown if Tupac experienced delusions of grandeur after surviving a near-fatal assault, being released early from a career-threatening jail sentence and the eventual overwhelming success of All Eyez on Me, which established him as one of, if not the, biggest rapper in the world. Either that or he turned into the mouthpiece of the infamous Suge Knight, CEO of Death Row Records, who incidentally had issues with most of the same people before Tupac had any problem with them.
Death Around the Corner
On September 7, 1996, Tupac was attending a boxing match between Mike Tyson and Bruce Seldon at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with Suge Knight. There, Tupac, Knight, and their entourage got into a fight with Orlando "Baby Lane" Anderson, a member of the Crips who had robbed a member of their entourage earlier that year, before leaving to visit a Death Row-owned nightclub. On the way, Tupac's vehicle was targeted in a drive-by shooting. Tupac was hit with several bullets, one of which punctured his right lung. He spent several days in intensive care before passing away on September 13.
For such a brazen, high-profile attack in a public area, surprisingly little evidence could be found implicating anybody in Tupac's murder. Only one witness came forward but was killed shortly after — however it's unknown if this murder was related to the Shakur shooting. As such, it has become one of the most famous unsolved murder cases in American history. However, there are multiple theories where nearly everybody involved with the situation is accused of planning the assassination. The first claims that Orlando Anderson gunned him down as revenge for their altercation earlier that night at the MGM Grand. He was a suspect in the case, but was killed in 1998 in an unrelated gang shootout. The second claims that he was assassinated by The Notorious B.I.G. as the culmination of their heated rivalry, with Biggie paying a Compton street gang $1 million to kill Tupac and supplying them with the weapons to do so. Biggie's own death six months later was a revenge killing. The third — and most controversial — theory claims that he was assassinated by Suge Knight, an all-around shady figure who spent much of the mid-late '90s in legal trouble and bullying the music industry. This theory goes that Tupac was planning on leaving Death Row and signing with another label, a state of affairs that infuriated Knight, and so (with help from crooked members of the LAPD) he killed both Tupac and then Biggie in order to deflect attention from himself and make it look like their rivalry had gotten out of control. Though keep in mind that Suge Knight was seated next to Tupac when the shooting went down, even getting slightly hit as well - so for this to be true Knight would have risked his own life during this grand scheme, the thought alone which is highly untenable. Last but not least, also Sean "Puffy" Combs is suspected of being behind the murder.
No, of course the story doesn't end there.
Y'know, it really doesn't help that his first posthumous album, released under his new stage name Makaveli less than two months after his death, was titled The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. Shakurian conspiracies include:
- No-one was convicted of Shakur's murder, so of course he must still be alive. There's a whole blog on this theory.
- More albums were released after his death than before it, so he must be secretly recording! One particular example which is cited as evidence is a song called God Bless the Dead. During multiple times of this track, 2Pac mentions a recently deceased friend named "Biggie Smalls," which was the nickname of his pal turned arch-nemesis The Notorious B.I.G., who was killed months after 2Pac passed away.
- Therefore, it is claimed he deliberately talked about an event which happened after his "official" death to let us know of his survival. However, simple reasoning discards this theory quickly. Firstly, the song features another rapper named Stretch (with whom Tupac also fell out of favor) musing about the death, who was gunned down before Biggie and Tupac. This would mean that he must've also faked his death so he could record with the deceased Shakur (whom he didn't like anymore) and talk about the slain Biggie, which is nothing short of ridiculous. Secondly, the song has early '90s production values written all over it which, while not released as a single, would have been a hard sell to kids during the late '90s who were used to a newer sound.[note 3] Lastly and most evidently, Shakur wasn't talking about the Biggie we all knew, but rather about another rapper who had the same nickname and the song is more or less a tribute to him.
- If the first two counter points and Tupac's confirmed death are acknowledged, it still serves as proof for conspiracy theorists that 2Pac had prophetic capabilities.
- General graphomancy on his lyrics (numerology, claims of predictions of events after his death).
- Shakur = Makaveli = Machiavelli. Advocates claim that Niccolò Machiavelli advocated faking one's own death in The Art Of War or faked his own death (neither of which is the case). Therefore Tupac faked his own death.
- Hacker group LulzSec even got media play for a story that he was hiding out in New Zealand.
- Shakur once called himself the Black Jesus. So fans who could do with a bit more chlorpromazine have ascertained that Shakur would return to Earth on June 13, 2014 at 3:04 pm. I guess we must have all been sleeping that day.
- The number seven. Why? That last album. His time of death was supposedly 4:03pm. 4+0+3=7. He was gunned down September 7th (septem is Latin for seven) and died in hospital six days later — and therefore, would resurrect on the seventh day (see Killuminati album title). Tupac was killed seven months after his album All Eyez on Me. And his career lasted seven years.
- A hologram of Shakur at Coachella in April 2012 was seized upon as evidence of Project Blue Beam after a tweet to this effect.
- Some conspiracy theorists argue that Tupac Shakur was killed by the Illuminati because he denounced them in several of his songs. In Shakur's song "They Don't Give a Fuck About Us", he raps "some say Illuminati take my body to sleep, niggas at the party just as rowdy as me, before I flee computer chips I gotta deal with brothers flippin', I don't see no devils bleeding, only black blood dripping", and many morons argue that he is speaking against the Illuminati. If only they paid a little more attention, they would realize that he is in fact rejecting the conspiracy theory and claiming that people who spend copious amounts of time "researching" absurd conspiracy theories are in fact being distracted from real problems, such as racism and social inequality. Shakur reinforced this in an interview conducted shortly before his death. 
- Out-of-context speeches of him "admitting it".
- Maybe the most outlandish and ridiculous theory on the reason of his killing is that he refused to give sexual services to music mogul Quincy Jones. Yes, really. Jones responded by saying that it was bullshit.
- Dave Chappelle sketch: A "2Pac" song showing what he already knew in '94. (Now unavailable for "copyright reasons.")
- However, The Notorious B.I.G. did openly diss Tupac once in an unreleased song, and it's likely he subliminally dissed him in his second album
- What's more funny about this dispute is that Tupac's early musical output seems heavily influenced by Ice Cube. So more or less a case of biting the hand that feeds you.
- You know there are commercial reasons why they
massacredupdated most of the posthumously released songs.
- Bin Wahad, Dhoruba. "History 101: The Panther 21, Police Repression, The BLA & Cointel-Pro." Hip Hop and Politics, 14 December 2015 (recovered 25 August 2016).
- Amanda Mannen and Javier Yepes. "5 Pleasant Surprises About Famous People You Had All Wrong." (#1: Tupac Got His Start in Ballet.) Cracked.com, 20 August 2013 (recovered 25 August 2016).
- Violent lyrics
- Peep Game lyrics
- Ronald Smothers. "Rapper Charged in Shootings of Off-Duty Officers", New York Times, Nov 02, 1993.
- Rob Markman. "Tupac Would Have 'Outshined' 'Menace II Society,' Director Admits", MTV, May 30, 2013.
- Victor Gonzalez. "Tupac's Temper: Five Greatest Freakouts, From MTV to Jail Time", Miami New Times, May 10, 2012.
- rec.music.hip-hop: vibe got the bitch who tupac raped.. thread, May 19, 1995.
- Staff ID19. The Alleged Rape, Thug Life Army, Sep 23, 2004.
- Courtney Brown. "Tupac Accuser Ayanna Jackson Breaks Her Silence", The Source.
- Lie to Kick it lyrics
- Jay-Z feat. The Notorious B.I.G - Brooklyn's Finest lyrics
- YouTube: Tupac - disses ice cube for swagger jacking in 1996
- Mack 10 feat. Ice Cube and WC - Westside Slaughterhouse lyrics
- To Live & Die in L.A. lyrics
- Raj Anand. "The Day Snoop Dogg & Tupac Stopped Seeing Eye To Eye", Uproxx, May 14, 2013.
- "Witness to Rapper's Killing Is Shot to Death", Los Angeles Times, Nov 14, 1996.
- Eggert, Jessica. "Who Killed Tupac Shakur? 4 Theories Including the Latest and Most Unexpected Claim." MusicMic, 8 February 2016 (recovered 25 August 2016).
- Chris Vogel, Simone Wilson. "Cop's Book Says Sean Combs, Suge Knight Ordered Tupac and Biggie Killings", Oct 06, 2011.
- Philips, Chuck. "Who Killed Tupac Shakur?" The Los Angeles Times, 6 September 2002 (recovered 25 August 2016).
- Danton, Eric R. "Biggie (rip) Vs. Tupac (rip)." Hartford Courant, 9 November 2002 (recovered 25 August 2016).
- Alan Duke. "FBI reveals documents in Biggie Smalls death probe", CNN, Apr 08, 2011.
- Is Tupac Shakur Alive?
- God Bless the Dead lyrics
- Charisse Jones. "Rapper Slain After Chase In Queens", New York Times, Dec 01, 1995.
- DJ Franchise a/k/a Stringer Fell. "Biggie Smalls or Biggy Smallz?", Oct 14, 2009.
- Tupac Shakur - 5 Prophecies Fulfilled In His Music, HipHopDX, May 28, 2014.
- Unexplained-Mysteries.com Thread: "Conspiracy theory is Tupac Still Alive?", Nov 12, 2004.
- "Tupac Shakur: Top 5 conspiracy theories", Newshub, Jun 17, 2011.
- Eric. "The Tupac Conspiracy", PlanetArbitrary, Mar 22, 2011.
- DJ Big Bink. "THE TUPAC CONSPIRACY AND THE NUMBER 7……",
- "Tupac Rises from the Dead... Performs at Coachella", TMZ, Apr 16, 2012./
- Dr. Eowyn. "Tupac 'rises' from the dead and Project Blue Beam", Fellowship of the Minds, Apr 18, 2012.
- Godlike Productions thread: "Project Blue beam? Tupac Hologram live At Coachella", Apr 16, 2012.
- Twitter: tweet by user @TheIlluminati.
- YouTube: "Makaveli - Killuminati Explained: Tupac Did Not Believe The Illuminati Were Out To Kill Him", recording of Tupac explaining his thoughts about Illuminati conspiracy theories.
- YouTube: "Tupac exposing the truth about the illuminati - ILLUMINATI KILLED 2PAC!"
- YouTube: Professor Griff Exposes Will Smith Quincy Jones and More, Feb 05, 2010.
- James Withers. "Music legend Quincy Jones laughs at rumor about him and Tupac Shakur", Gay Star News, Sep 23, 2012.