Tupac Amaru Shakur, born on the 16th of June 1971, was an American rapper and was considered to be one of the greatest artists of all time (ranked 86th by the Rolling Stones Magazine). He was not only a musician, but was a great actor and a social activist as well. He was known to promote racial egalitarianism with his songs. In September 1996 2pac, as he was famously known by, became the victim of a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. He died of respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest.
2pac’s murder was thought to have been anticipated as the 1996 shooting was not a first. In November 1994, 2pac was shot five times and then robbed at a New York recording studio. 2pac managed to survive this ordeal despite being shot twice in the head, twice in the groin, and once more through the arm and thigh.
2pac’s murder was one of the few key events of the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry. This rivalry was also believed to have been the angle behind 2pac’s murder. It was rumored that 2pac was dragged into the rivalry when he was bailed out of prison by Death Row Records of the “West Coast” hip hop scene in exchange for 2pac releasing three albums under them. 2pac then joined Suge Knight, CEO of Death Row Records in furthering their rivalry with East Coast representative Bad Boy Records and Biggie Smalls, A.K.A. Notorious B.I.G.
2pac’s murder was not the first of the East Coast-West Coast feud. In 1995, while attending a party in Atlanta, a close friend of Knight was fatally shot outside the party. 1995 was also the year when 2pac signed a deal with Death Row Records.
Needless to say, Bad Boy Records’ Notorious B.I.G. who represented the East Coast would have been the prime suspects of 2pac’s murder. 2pac was after all, the most central and vocal figure of the feud, not to mention he was Death Row Records’ “ace”. Bad Boy Records’ “ace” Notorious B.I.G. however denied any involvement with 2pac’s murder. After his murder in 1997, B.I.G.’s family submitted documentation to MTV suggesting that Biggie, at the time of 2pac’s murder, was at a New York recording studio.
Another East-Coast artist, Nas, was speculated to have been involved with 2pac’s murder. There was a confrontation between the two artists a few months prior to 2pac’s murder. Although accounts from different witnesses varied, all accounts agreed on one thing: that 2pac and Nas agreed to remove insults on each other on their upcoming albums. Although Nas kept his end of the bargain, 2pac’s murder happened before he could do the same.
2pac’s murder still remains a cold case largely due to the lack of hard evidence. 2pac was a brilliant musician, an icon, and a legend. His death was, and still is, a paradox of our time.