The 5 Most Believed Tupac Death Theories

Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images.
June 16 would have been Tupac Shakur's 46th birthday. The prolific and sometimes problematic rapper, actor, poet, and activist was shot multiple times on September 7, 1996, and died of complications from his injuries a week later on September 13. His death shook the hip-hop community to its core and marked the loss of one of the most influential artists of our time.
All Eyez On Me, the biopic about the late rapper hits theaters tonight. On the weight of its content alone, it’s bound to be a powerful story. Tupac was, and still is, a complicated and multidimensional figure in Black and American culture
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And, ironically, his death has proven to be just as fascinating for his fans. Pac’s murder was never solved. After a weeklong hospital stay, he was hastily cremated the day after he died. The circumstances were ripe for conspiracies about who murdered him and if he’s dead at all. Check out some of the most common Tupac death theories below.
The Orlando Anderson theory
To call the belief that Anderson and his friends killed Tupac a "theory" is a bit of a stretch. It’s more like a reasonable conclusion. Tupac and some members of his Death Row crew beat up Anderson after a Mike Tyson fight a few hours before the rapper was killed. Many think that Anderson caught up with Tupac looking for revenge.
Biggie Smalls Was Responsible
The notorious East Coast-West Coast rivalry between Death Row and Bad Boy Records during the early ‘90s still raged on at the time of Pac’s death. The golden sons of each camp were caught in the center of it all, despite attempts from both to resolve the issue. That the Notorious B.I.G. was responsible for the murder of his public rival is an obvious conclusion that many came to.
The Suge Knight Theory
A lot of words come to my mind when I think about Suge Knight. Trustworthy and safe are not among them. The founder of the legendary Death Row Records is currently awaiting trial for murder and attempted murder, after a hit-and-run incident where he ran two people over with a car on the set of Straight Outta Compton. I can’t make this stuff up.
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Knight was no less of a bad boy during Pac’s heyday. Many think that his own selfish ambition — not wanting Pac to leave Death Row — led him to plot his friend's murder. The promotion of Tupac's fifth album just 2 months after his death didn't help clear Suge's name, either.
The FBI Theory
Tupac was woke AF and obviously had influence over millions of Americans. He believed in the radical notion of Black liberation and empowerment while rejecting the notions of respectability and subjugation imposed by white supremacy.
Fun fact: The FBI is not known for supporting those who believe in radical notions of Black liberation and empowerment. Some activist-minded conspiracy theorists think the government agency wanted to silence him and his message.
The Faked Death Theory
Before his death Tupac assumed the moniker Makaveli, drawing inspiration from the philosophies and militaristic strategies of Niccolò Machiavelli. His first posthumous album. The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, was released under this name and included darker themes of Pac mulling on his own emotional scars and pain. Recorded in the year before his death — a scenario which many think the rapper predicted in songs like “If I Die Tonight” — fans took this as sign that the rapper wasn’t satisfied with his lifestyle and that a drastic plan to change it may have been in order.
That plan, they say, was to fake his own death.
He’s Hiding In Cuba With Assata Shakur
This conspiracy theory is perhaps the most dreamy of them all. Tupac had a number of notable connections: He was best friends with Jada Pinkett, he was engaged to Kidada Jones, the daughter of music industry great Quincy Jones and sister of Rashida Jones, and he regularly hung out in the company of people like Janet Jackson and Snoop Dogg. But the fact that he was related to the revolutionary Black Panther, Assata Shakur, is the kinship that always floors me. I would give anything to be a fly on the wall during one of their conversations.
And according to some, those conversations are probably still happening. The conspiracy theorists believe that in order to successfully fake his own death, Tupac fled to Cuba where his aunt currently lives under political asylum (she escaped from prison after being convicted of the murder of a police officer).
Part of me really hopes this last one is true.
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