The unsolved case of who killed Tupac Shakur has been opened again, nearly 30 years after the rapper’s murder.
On 7 September 1996, Tupac Shakur, known by his rap pseudonym 2Pac, was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. He was just 25 years old at the time, but already considered one of the most influential artists of his genre.
Since his death, Shakur’s discography has been hailed as a defining example of 90s West Coast rap, specifically his ability to meld conscious lyrics with inventive hooks. However, his murder has never been solved.
No arrests have ever been made in connection with his killing although many theories have spread through popular media.
This week, Las Vegas police issued a search warrant in connection to Shakur’s killing in 1996. The police searched a house in Henderson, a city 26 km south of Las Vegas.
The 27-year-old case has remained ongoing in Nevada as the state doesn’t have a statute of limitations on pursuing homicide cases.
It has now been revealed that the house belonged to Duane “Keffe D” Davis. The 60-year-old self-described “gangster” is the uncle of Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, one of Shakur’s known rivals, and one of the original suspects.
Anderson denied involvement in Shakur’s killing, and died two years later in a shooting in Compton, California.
Police reported collecting multiple computers, a mobile phone and hard drive, “documentary documents,” a Vibe magazine that featured Shakur, “purported marijuana,” several .40-caliber bullets, two “tubs containing photographs” and a copy of Davis’ 2019 tell-all memoir, ”Compton Street Legend.”
Residents of the neighbourhood said they saw officers detain two people outside the home Monday night while investigators searched the one-story property.
“There were cruisers and SWAT vehicles. They had lights shining on the house,” said Don Sansouci, who watched from the sidewalk as a man and a woman stepped out of a house to bullhorn commands, placed their hands behind their heads and slowly walked backwards toward officers amid a swirl of blue and red police lights.
The case will be reportedly presented to a grand jury in Las Vegas.
Why was it never solved?
After Shakur’s death, it was quickly established that he had been in a black BMW with Marion “Suge” Knight, head of Death Row Records, the West Coast hip-hop label that he had signed with in 1995.
A white Cadillac with four men inside pulled up beside their car and opened fire at a red light. Shakur was shot multiple times and died of his injuries in hospital six days later.
At the time, the case was unable to progress due to a lack of witnesses willing to cooperate with the police.
No arrests were ever made in relation to the shooting, but many people have long believed his murder was the result of his feud with rival rapper the Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie Smalls.
Biggie was one of the key names in the East Coast rap scene, whose rivalry with 2Pac and Death Row Records’ scene was an established part of 90s hip-hop culture.
Originally friends, the pair became rivals when Shakur accused Biggie and fellow East Coast rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs of their knowledge behind a shooting incident in New York in 1994.
Shakur was robbed and shot four times when he arrived at Quad Studios in Times Square. In 1995, Shakur publicly accused Biggie and Combs of their involvement in the shooting as they had been at the same studio at the time. Both denied any wrongdoing.
The incident led to both Biggie and Shakur releasing diss tracks in reference to the shooting, ‘Who Shot Ya?’ and ‘Hit ‘Em Up’, respectively.
Six months after Shakur’s death, Biggie was murdered in eerily similar circumstances. Biggie was leaving a party in Los Angeles on 8 March 1997 when a car pulled up alongside his and shot him four times. He was rushed to a hospital but was pronounced dead within an hour. He was just 24 years old.
Despite dying in his mid-20s, Shakur recorded some of the defining albums and tracks of a generation. In his lifetime, his albums ‘Me Against the World’ and ‘All Eyez on Me’ both topped the charts.
Known for his complex lyrics, he both encapsulated the gangsta rap scene and embraced a more philosophical approach than many of his peers. He’s one of the most regularly cited inspirations for contemporary rappers known for their politically conscious lyrics, such as Kendrick Lamar.
There are 10 2Pac studio albums, six of which have been released posthumously, a tribute to the staggering amount of work he created in his five-year-long career. Shakur was also an actor, appearing in multiple high-profile films such as 1993’s Poetic Justice.