Is he or isn’t he?
Though he was pronounced dead more than 20 years ago, many fans still question Tupac Shakur’s mysterious murder. The late rapper — who would have turned 46 on June 16 — has been in the news lately since his life has been reimagined in the recently released biopic All Eyez on Me.
The hip-hop superstar was shot multiple times in Las Vegas on Sept. 7, 1996, and passed away at age 25 a week later on Sept. 13 due to complications from his injuries. With his murder still unsolved, several conspiracies about his tragic passing (and whether or not he is still alive) have surfaced over the years.
Here, In Touch rounds up the most popular theories surrounding Pac’s death.
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Biggie Smalls had something to do with it.
When Tupac, a native of California, died, the rivalry between the West Coast and East Coast’s most famous rappers was still intense. Many came to the conclusion that Biggie Smalls (aka “The King of New York”) was the mastermind behind his nemesis' murder. However, no evidence has shown that The Notorious B.I.G. — who died one year after Tupac in a drive-by shooting — was in fact responsible.
The FBI wanted to silence him.
As we all know, Tupac is one of the most influential, if not the most influential, voice in hip-hop history. He was all about Black liberation and empowering minorities. There is a group of conspiracists who believe the American government — particularly, the FBI — had him murdered to stop him from spreading his message of racial equality.
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Suge Knight was responsible.
It’s rumored that Tupac wanted to leave his label, Death Row Records, months before his death. Many have speculated that the label's founder, Suge, had Tupac — who had recently released his fifth studio album with the company — killed because he couldn’t bear the thought of the “Changes” rapper jumping ship. Oddly enough, Tupac was riding in the passenger's seat of Suge's car when 14 shots were fired — six of which hit the prolific entertainer.
Oh, and just FYI, Suge is currently awaiting trial for both murder and attempted murder, though unrelated to Pac's death.
His death was totally staged.
Despite his death, Tupac has gone on to release several posthumous albums. His first one, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, dropped in November 1996 and was marked by themes much darker than his previous musical pursuits. Notably, he recorded a song called “If I Die Tonight,” which included this seemingly telling lyric: “Goin' insane, never die, live eternal, who shall I fear? / Don't shed a tear for me n***a, I ain't happy here.”
Some fans believe this was Tupac’s way of saying he was tired of the hip-hop scene and wanted to reinvent himself. Consequently, theorists have suggested that he faked his own death in order to live a life outside of the spotlight.
In 1976, Assata (pictured above) was taken chained in handcuffs and leg irons from Riker's Island prison in NYC to the Middlesex County jail to await trail in the murder of state trooper Werner Foerster. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
He’s hiding in Cuba with his aunt.
Some think Tupac pulled off faking his own death by fleeing to Cuba. Incidentally, the musician was related to Assata Shakur, the legendary Black Panther who moved to the Caribbean country in 1984 after escaping from prison — five years after she was accused of murdering a police officer in NYC. There, the Black Liberation Army member gained political asylum and, according to conspiracists, welcomed Tupac with open arms to live with her in anonymity.