More than a decade after his death on this day in 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur remained one of the most recognisable faces and voices in hip-hop.
A steady stream of posthumous album releases kept his name near the top of lifetime sales rankings, and artistic efforts like the 2003 film Tupac: Resurrection had kept his image and music current among fans who were far too young to have seen and heard him perform while he was still alive.
His recording career came to an end with his death at the age of 25, but like another famous rapper with whom his story was intertwined, Shakur had only grown in stature with each passing year since his still-unsolved murder.
The story of Shakur’s death on September 13, 1996, began with a failed attempt on his life two years earlier.
On November 30, 1994, Shakur was shot and seriously wounded during a robbery committed by two armed men in the lobby of a midtown Manhattan office building that housed a recording studio where he had been working on his third album, Me Against the World (1995).
For reasons that have been detailed obsessively in works such as Nick Broomfield’s 2002 documentary Biggie and Tupac, Shakur blamed the attack on producer
Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs and rival rapper Christopher Wallace, aka The Notorious B.I.G. Shakur’s charges, and his subsequent move to the LA-based record label Death Row Records, sparked the so-called “East Coast vs. West Coast” feud that defined the hip-hop scene through the mid-1990s.
In Las Vegas on September 7, 1996, for the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon boxing match, Shakur and others in his entourage were captured on tape in the lobby of the MGM Grand hotel engaging in a violent scuffle with a man later identified as a member of the Los Angeles-based Bloods street gang.
Hours later, Shakur was riding as a passenger in a car driven by Death Row Records head Marian “Suge” Knight when a white Cadillac pulled up alongside them at a stop-light on Flamingo Road and opened fire.