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Controversies Behind the Death of Tupac

The history of Tupac’s Death

The claims made by Suge Knight

Intimidation is Suge Knight’s tool of trade. He is said to have forced a black music executive at a rival company to strip naked in the men’s room and then made him walk around the company’s offices naked. Knight is a mammoth, 315 pounds, with a serious criminal record, rife with violent crimes. Even at his best—say, when dealing with a white executive at a major entertainment company—the threat still hangs in the air. One man told me of a negotiation he apparently conducted from the safety of his own office. Knight was accompanied by a bodyguard who leaned forward sharply to reveal his gun hidden under his coat when they got stuck inside the store.

A third theory places the blame on Suge Knight. Fans pointed to a possible frosty relationship between the Death Row Records CEO and his rising star. Theorists believe that Shakur was willing to leave the brand to start his own business, so Knight orchestrated his murder that night in Las Vegas, a claim he vehemently denies.

The investigation into Tupac’s death

“Tupac Shakur became a very good actor. And Suge Knight realized that Tupac was leaving Death Row Records – and the evidence shows that you didn’t just leave Death Row Records and get away with it,” said LAPD Detective Russell Poole. Writer Randall Sullivan worked closely on LAbyrinth, A Curse looks at the involvement of the LAPD’s head of Records on Death Row, and the patterns of police brutality and cover-ups, all documented in coverage of the LAPD Barrier Scandal.

The death of Tupac Shakur

On September 7, 1996, Tupac Shakur was shot multiple times as he walked out of a boxing match in Las Vegas. He died six days later at the age of 25. He left behind a growing fan base, music catalog and one of the most enduring mysteries in the culture. His death is suspected to have been caused by the then tumultuous East Coast/West Coast rap war, a feud between Tupac and New York rapper Notorious B.I.G. as his avatar. While nearly every fan has his own theory about who was involved in the young genius’s death, his murder remains unsolved.

True or not, Tupac Shakur’s name has become synonymous with violent rap lyrics and “thug life” (a phrase Tupac tattooed on his waist). During his lifetime, he came under scrutiny from politicians and, like other rappers, was banned from performing at some concert venues because organizers couldn’t ensure events were safe from the threat of fan chaos. At the same time, however, many in his hard-core ghetto audience doubted he wasn’t cold-hearted enough to live up to his status as the quintessential gangster rapper.

What do you think?

Written by Richard Wayne

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