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The 1996 Internet Reacts to Tupac's Death (Hip-Hop Corner Archives, Pt. 2)

We dug up internet comments from the day Tupac died - there were already conspiracy theories.

Editor's Note: This is the second part of a series. The first covered the internet's initial reaction to Biggie's death.


Biggie’s story more than stands on its own, but it will always be linked to Pac’s. They were the faces of the East vs. West feud, which dominated hip-hop at the time, and two of the biggest and best rappers ever. History has made them almost inseparable, just take another look at Biggie’s tributes on Davey D’s site; Pac is mentioned everywhere and the proximity between their murders only adds to the story.

But while the Biggie tribute came a year after his death, the news of Tupac's death was up just days after he died: 

As you all know 2Pac Shakur passed away due to respitory failure a little after 4'oclock on Friday, September 13 1996.. at University Medical Center in Las Vegas... For those of us who got to know him.. and many of us here in the Bay Area... this hits especially hard... As a result we've constructed a memorial of sorts for 2Pac...For many he symbolized the duality in us all...hence we've received all sorts of letters..both good and bad regarding 2Pac...and have posted them for all to see...

There are many who've asked..'Why have a tribute for 2Pac?' .. After all, with all the controversy surrounding him..why should he go out like a hero?.. For me personally, that's not for me to decide... Judging from the hundreds of reponses I've gotten..It's evident that 2Pac had a lot of fans.. and folks have a lot to say.. I feel its important for us to have a place where those who embrace a hip hop perspective can have their say.. I can't speak on other areas..but here in the Bay.. there's quite a few news outlets that went out like biscuits.. They were overtly biased in their coverage and in some cases.. absolutely wrong.. Here on this site.. I wanted to provide a forum for those who wanted to reflect on 2Pac and even theorize about his death.. [Who Shot 2Pac?].. They could do this here uninhibited...

Enjoy, reflect and take away from his untimely death a positive message and insight which will hopefully help turn the tide for those who've been traveling down a path of violence...

Peace to all

Davey D

Included in these responses were some pretty incredible tributes. Like the one below, written two hours after Pac’s death.

2pac died in the hospital about two hours ago. whoever shot him should be satisfied in the removal of another strong soldier from the struggle against the powers that be. whoever shot 2pac didn't kill him... it was the muthafukka that gave him the weapon. and who was that u ask...

same muthafukkaz that shot Fred Hampton.

same muthafukkaz that deaded the Black Panther Party For Self-Defense.

same muthafukkaz that watch us kill ourselves every day are responsible

for the MURDER of one of our greatest soldiers, though at times he was

overspoken, he was still a soldier...and soldiers die.

if the revolution kicked off tomorrow,

who would u rather have watchin' your back ?

Tupac, no question.

Michael Langford (Griffen)

WMAQ All News 670 (a westinghouse station)

Chicago, Il.

Or how about this one? Remember when news was spread via radio and not social media?

I was listening to the radio on my way home when the announcement came that 2Pac had passed. Driving to my destination teary eyed and listening to the comentation on this man. Here we have another black male gone. It really saddened me to hear the thoughts of others on someone just passed. Just because one has ways and views different (but not thought of by many others) it is no reason to bash ones antics. I really think one should take a look at the overall life he had, and take a look at the life he had to make for himself.

Davey isn’t the only future hip-hop personality to appear on the site. Ed Lover, of Yo! MTV Raps fame even shared a comment where he talks about being with Pac 15 minutes before his death. Similar to the tribute to Biggie, hearing about Pac's last few minutes gave me chills. 

First of all my condolences go out to you and the entire West Coast- Bay Area click on the lost of one of your own. My name is Ed Lover, formerly of Yo! MTV Raps, and currently morning maniac on Hot 97 radio here in NYC.

It hurts me alot that Pac has been murdered. I saw him not even 15 minutes before he was killed. First I saw him at the fight with Suge Knight and we exchanged pleasantries from across the room. Next I saw him in the casino on his way out the door. It was quite a shock to learn that he had been brutally shot. I've known Pac since about 1991 or 1992. I first remember meeting him when I went to the set of the movie Juice with my now deceased friend and confidant, Big Stretch from the group Live Squad. Because of the friendship that Stretch and 2Pac shared we all became good friends but they became inseprable.

I feel like I’m saying this with each discovery, but this next one is by far the most amazing. Here they were, just days after Pac’s death, and people already had crazy conspiracies and questions as to whether he actually died.



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There are so many conspiracies when it comes to Pac's death and I've always viewed them as products of a different era - something that comes up years after - but here, just days after his death, somebody already has a "Tupac is alive" conspiracy.

Is 2Pac's Death A Publicity Stunt?

….I have a few theories of my own. I think this is all a publicity stunt... honestly. If Tupac dies... he gets released of all pending lawsuits. If you try to go to your local record store to buy a Tupac... forget it. Anything by the Tupac is sold out. I was also informed that there was an insurance policy worth $72 million on Tupac. Plus Tupac has just finished recording another album under the name Makevelli. Add this all up... Tupac's death = MONEY.

It has been confirmed that Suge is in Florida as we speak. What's he doing in Florida? Could he be sending Pac on a boat to an island or something? Tupac always talked about death and being shot... you could say he was foreshadowing what was to come. He said that he wanted to get out the game... and maybe this is a way to get out of it and still have some serious loot. Or... maybe it is the death of Tupac... only to return as Makavelli (sort of like the man formely known as Prince thang). Imagine if someone to pull something off like this... this would be the publicity stunt of the century! Suge and Tupac would make they're mark in history. One other thing... do some research on Makavelli (Machiavelli)... an Italian military strategists of the 1600s. Machiavelli did some wild sh*t similar to this. Do your research... then you come up with your own theory.



Shit, even active members in the hip-hop community had their theories. Posted on the tribute section was "CHUCK D'S 18 COMPELLING REASONS WHY 2PAC IS NOT DEAD". Here are just a few of the 18. 

2Pac died on Friday the 13th... 

Las Vegas is a payoff City..meaning all sorts of folks have been known to be on the take..that means doctors, press, lawyers etc 

The white cadillac containing the assailants..was never found... How could this be when Vegas is in the middle of a desert? 

There's a small Black community on the North side of town.. This strip is only about 8 blocks long.. The attackers were Black.. Where did they go? Where did they hide? 

The white cadillac containing the gunmen passes a entourage of 2Pac's boys..many of them body guards... No one gives chase..and there are no witness...There were no witnesses on the street... How come? Why not? 

The name of 2Pac's next album is Machiavelli.. He was an Italian war strategist who faked his death to fool his enemies... Perhaps 2Pac is doing the same thing..

As we all know, Pac is one of the most divisive emcees ever, depending on how you feel he is either a thug/gangsta or an outspoken activist for political and social change; for many he's both. Well, that attitude, that divisive personality, was on display in the tributes. Though most were positive, some were much more critical of Pac and his behavior.

Why are we glorifying him in his death? Why are we making him to be a martyr?? Am I the only one who acknowledges that 2Pac sealed his own fate?? Do we as a community not realize that he WAS NOT a nice person, nor a good role model, nor a model citizen, nor a high school/college graduate????? Why has our community lost its mind????? How quickly we have forgotten that he was incarcerated for sexually abusing a woman on a dance floor at a club! What about his drug abuse and selling? What about his foul language and the way he carried himself???? Wasn't he just shot 5 times a year ago??? Obviously, he didn't learn his lesson.

I acknowledge that he has had a rough life, but haven't we all?....

As I was clicking through the tributes and reading Pac’s poems, I stumbled across something else. Now, as you may recall, Davey is from the Bay Area and the site seemed to have a West Coast slant. Naturally, Pac is one of the premier West Coast emcees at the time, their paths crossed and up on the site were two interviews with Pac. One was a “lost interview” from 91, which I managed to find the audio for and can be read here. Thanks to Kendrick, unearthed Tupac interviews are all the rage right now, so this stuff is pretty mindblowing.

As great as that one is, what really floored me was this one from April 1996, just six months before Pac’s death. Honestly, the most chilling, heartbreaking but also funny, moment came with the last question.

Davey D: Five years from now what do you see yourself doing?

2Pac: I see myself having a job on Death Row...being the A&R person and an artist that drop an album like Paul McCartney every five years. Not that I'm like Paul McCartney but there's no rapper who ever did it so that's why I use him as an example... But I wanna do it at leisure. My music will mean something and I'll drop deeper shit. I'll have my own production company which I'm close to right now...I'm doing my own movies. I have my own restaurant...which I got right now with Allanis or Suge or Snoop. I just wanna expand. I'm starting to put out some calendars for charity. I'm gonna start a little youth league in California so we can start playing some east coast teams..some southern teams ...I wanna have like a Pop Warner League except the rappers fund it and they're the head coaches. Have a league where you can get a big trophy with diamonds in it for a nigguh to stay drug free and stay in school. That's the only way you can be on the team. We'll have fun and eat pizza and have the finest girls there and throw concerts at the end of the year. That's what I mean by giving back.

This interview is pretty incredible. When he talks about the beef with Mobb Deep it really puts it into perspective what “beef” is today. Reading the interview is great, but hearing it takes things to another level. There is one part where he talks about the future and says “god willing I’m alive.” In my opinion, this is the most incredible artifact I have come across. Now there are some gaps in time and differences between the transcripts and the interviews, but I want to share everything I found, as imperfect as it may be. Decades later, I heard this audio and I felt Tupac’s passion, and I knew I had to share it. [The audio of the interview can't be embedded, so you'll have to listen to it via YouTube.]

That shit right there?! It's incredible that decades later Tupac's voice still has so much power. The passion in his voice, the fire in his gut, it all feels so new, so alive. Still, I can't shake this feeling of being haunted. It really is creepy to hear him speak on the future. 

There's nothing that I said in the Biggie piece that can't be said for this Pac investigation, so I'll keep it short - Tupac really was amazing, and reading the real-time reaction to his death has only further made me appreciate his impact. Stick around for some more random yet incredible findings, as well as an interview with Davey himself. 



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