Kasinova Tha Don isn't a rapper who raps about Tupac; he's a rapper some believe really is Tupac. The official story is that Tupac died on Sept. 13, 1996, six days after he and Suge Knight were shot by unknown assailants at a Las Vegas intersection. But the Internet is littered with conspiracy theories saying the "Hit Em Up" rapper is actually alive… including theories that Kasinova is Tupac in disguise, as the Daily Express reports.
For the record, Kasinova denies the theories. "I was influenced by Pac," he said in a 2015 ClankTV interview. "He was the greatest that ever did it. I can't be him."
But this 30-year-old fueled the flames with his song "Mystery," in which he takes on Tupac's persona and provides an alternate version of that fateful night's events. "How the media said that I died but I'm still breathing?" he raps. "Who do you believe in? Everything that was said was a lie."
In that song's version of events, the guns fired at Tupac were loaded with blanks, and the rapper was dragged from his car and replaced with a body double: "Over my head, I couldn't believe what I happened to see / A n---a who looked just like me / Dressed like me, in the passengers seat / But it can't be me."
So assuming he's not actually Tupac reincarnated, who is Kasinova? According to his Last.fm autobiography, he was born Antwon Garner in Newark, NJ. He says he was raised in poverty, living with his single mother and his five siblings in a one-bedroom apartment. He served jail time when he was 18, and it was then that he really became interested in a hip-hop career. He writes, "Wanting to become a leader and learner, all the pain that was promised to me, caused me to write this great music. Hoping to give inspiration to those who believe in me. Also to help troubled souls get to the next day and to never give up."
Those are some earnest ambitions, and his similarities to Tupac — intentional or otherwise — surely can't hurt!