Tupac Shakur was an American best-selling hip-hop artist and actor affiliated with the Mob Piru Bloods, a street gang from the west coast. The 90s was a period during which gangster rap and affiliation with gangs went hand in hand and Shakur was no different. The Bloods would often battle against the Southside Compton Crips, a rival gang belonging to the east coast, of which, Biggie Smalls, Shakur’s rival was a part. This rivalry gave birth to a feud between the record labels these artists were a part of, essentially splitting hip-hop between two coasts (Hess).
Tupac was murdered on 7th September 1996 on his way to the club owned by Marion “Suge” Knight, the CEO of Tupac’s record label. Earlier that night, Tupac had watched Mike Tyson vs Bruce Seldon at the MGM Grand Arena. After the fight, they came across Orlando Anderson, a member of the Crips, who they beat up as he had stolen a death row chain and pendant from a member of the Bloods. Security footage showed that Tupac initiated the scuffle (Sullivan). En route to the club owned by Suge, on a traffic stop signal, a car pulled up next to Tupac’s car and thirteen bullets were shot from a 0.40 caliber Glock. Tupac took four bullets and six days later, passed away (Scott).
To this day, it cannot be said for sure who killed Tupac that night. Tupac was shot two years before this shooting, and he survived. Tupac was certain that his rival, Biggie Smalls was behind that shooting (Raftery). Anderson was also a suspect in the murder as he was beaten up on the same night by Tupac and company. Anderson was the nephew of the crips’ leader, Duane “Keefe D” Davis. At that time the Crips were providing security for the rival label Bad Boys, which was the label of Biggie. Sean Combs was the CEO of this label, and allegedly he had put a one million dollar bounty on Tupac (Craig Shufelt). Upon hearing about the one-sided beat down of his nephew, Keefe D planned to retaliate as it was the “perfect timing”. Keefe D, who is immune from prosecution due to cancer recounted that Anderson shot Tupac. This case is still technically open as the killer has not been prosecuted. Suspicion around Anderson arose as he was the target of Tupac’s attacks earlier that night. However, he denied murdering Tupac and even said that he was a fan of Tupac. Many of the cops at that time were on the payroll of these gangsters and many people were silenced during the investigation. Many of them died “accidental deaths,” which leads to insufficient evidence. Anderson was also shot dead during a drug deal later on before Keefe D came clean and recounted the circumstances under which Tupac was murdered (The Infographics Show).
To this day, it has not been established who was behind the murder of Tupac Shakur. The prime suspects of the murder, from what I have gathered, are Anderson, Keefe D, and the CEO of the Bad Boys Records, Sean Combs. As Keefe D confessed that Combs wanted to get rid of Tupac and Suge, offering a bounty of a whopping one million dollars to whoever killed them. All the information that has come from the CEO, at that time of the Bad Boys label, can be used as an argument as to who was behind the murder of the hip hop artist (DjVlad). However, there is no sufficient evidence that can lead to the prosecution of Tupac’s murderer.
Craig Shufelt. “Notorious C.O.P.: The Inside Story of Tupac, Biggie and Jam Master Jay Investigations from NYPD’s ‘First Hip-Hop Cop.’” Library Journal, vol. 131, no. 11, 2006, pp. 72-.
DjVlad. Keefe D on 2Pac, Orlando Anderson, Suge Knight, Puffy (Full Interview). 2019. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43oKS6aXh3E.
Hess, Mickey. Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture. ABC-CLIO, 2007.
Raftery, Brian M. “A B.I.G. Mystery: The New Documentary Biggie & Tupac and an L.A. Times Report Offer Conflicting Accounts of the Rappers’ Murders.” Entertainment Weekly, no. 674, 2002, pp. 19–19.
Sullivan, Randall. Labyrinth: A Detective Investigates the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., the Implication of Death Row Records Suge Knight, and the Origins of the Los Angeles Police Scandal. Grove Press, 2002.
The Infographics Show. Who Actually Killed Tupac Shakur. 2021. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4y-KDVdCASY.