Hip-hop fans may often find themselves entangled in the age-old debate… who’s the greatest rapper of all time?
The discussion simply wouldn’t hold weight without mentioning the usual heroes – Biggie, Eminem, Nas, Jay-Z and, obviously, 2Pac.
Tupac Amaru Shakur had already earned an incredible reputation in rap circles by the time his debut studio album – 2Pacalypse Now – hit shelves in 1991. He would go on to have three more studio albums released in his lifetime.
Tragically, the rest of the LPs released were posthumous as the icon’s life was cut short on 13 September 1996. He was just 25 years old when he passed. The Sun reports he was shot a number of times during a drive-by attack in Las Vegas.
In 2018, Sky News reported rapper Keefe D – Duane Keith Davis – claimed in a documentary to have been a witness to the murder. Only revealing the information in the wake of a cancer diagnosis, he alleged he was a passenger in a car along with fellow Southside Crips gang members.
However, the murder of Tupac Shakur remains unsolved.
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Over the years, uncertainty surrounding the identity of the gunman has led fans and conspiracy theorists alike to present and argue a string of theories.
A popular one that has persisted for decades suggests Tupac isn’t dead at all. Rather, he faked his own death and escaped the media limelight after 1996.
Plenty of fans have taken snapshots of strangers over the decades, alleging they’ve captured proof the California Love rapper is alive and well. Of course, plenty of those stories have been debunked. Yet, they continue to this day.
High Snob Society reports conspiracy theorists tend to argue Tupac wasn’t shot and fled to Cuba as millions of fans mourned the passing of a young legend.
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Inevitably, the fact the murder case remains unsolved has resulted in conspiracy theories lingering past their shelf life. A similar theory suggests Tupac and his associates got wind of an assassination attempt. In response, they believe Tupac switched with a body double and remained safe from his assailants.
Even some documentary filmmakers who’ve tackled the subject believe the rapper is still alive. Rick Boss, during UMC documentary 2Pac: The Great Escape, claimed Tupac cheated death and is living in New Mexico.
Other theories claim he’s living in Malaysia, fuelled by some of the lyrical content featured on posthumous albums.
For example, 2003 LP Better Dayz features the lyrics: “Expect me… like you expect Jesus to come back / I’m coming”. These words are repeated over and over on the outro, and some cynical fans think their inclusion was intended to stir more theories and conversation to boost record sales.
Nevertheless, as we reach another one of Tupac’s birthdays, he would be 51 in June 2022, there are no signs of the conspiracies being put to bed.
When you sift through the rapper’s back catalogue and analyse the lyrics in hindsight, there’s enough fuel for the fire to keep burning.