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Old School Archives

When Tupac was shot five times during a robbery

Tupac Shakur’s life came to a tragic end when he was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas on September 7, 1996. His life and career had come to be overshadowed by the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry, involving a number of parties including Sean “Puffy” Combs, Marion “Suge” Knight”, The Notorious B.I.G. and himself being the major players. However, this wasn’t the first time that Shakur had been the victim of gun violence.

On November 30, 1994, Shakur was in New York when he received an offer: $7,000 to record a verse on a song by up and coming rapper Little Shawn. The offer came from an associate of music producer James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond, who had ties throughout the hip hop industry including to various individuals at Bad Boy Records.

Shakur was suspicious that there could possibly be a set up involved, but since he was in the middle of an expensive sexual assault case, he needed the money and accepted. Shakur arrives at Quad Studios in Manhattan, but never made it past the lobby. While there, Shakur was assaulted by three men in an armed robbery. It was while on the floor that Shakur allegedly reached for his gun, causing the perpetrators to shoot Shakur five times.

Although he suffered serious injuries, his proximity to the hospital meant that Shakur received almost immediate medical attention. Despite his doctors advising him otherwise, Shakur had enough mobility to check himself out of Belleview Hospital and appeared at his court appearance the next day to hear the jury’s verdict on his sexual assault case. Shakur was convicted of first degree sexual assault, but was acquitted of the majority of the charges against him.

After being released from prison in 1995, Shakur publicly accused Henchmen, Combs, and Biggie of being in on the shooting. The release of Biggie’s ‘Who Shot Ya?’ in February of 1995 only exacerbated the animosity between Tupac’s associates and Biggie’s associates. While Biggie claimed it was an unrelated story about rival drug dealers, Tupac proceeded to record a direct response, ‘Hit ‘Em Up’, that included explicit warnings to the Bad Boy and Junior M.A.F.I.A. members.

The truth about who was involved in Tupac’s initial shooting, and to what extent they knew about it, will never truly be understood. But what came from it was an escalation of the already fraught East Coast-West Coast rivalry, which would turn deadly soon after the release of ‘Hit ‘Em Up’.