Tupac Shakur

Hip-hop star Tupac Shakur dies on September 13, 1996, after being shot in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.

Even though he died on this day in 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur’s face and voice are still some of the most recognizable in hip-hop. Posthumous album releases have kept his name near the top of the list of best-selling artists of all time, and works of art like the 2003 movie Tupac: Resurrection have kept his music and image fresh in the minds of fans who were too young to have seen him perform when he was alive. Shakur’s recording career ended when he died at age 25. Like another famous rapper whose story is linked to his, Shakur’s fame has only grown in the years since his murder, which has still not been solved.

Shakur died on September 13, 1996. Two years before, someone tried to kill him but failed. On November 30, 1994, two armed men robbed a recording studio in the lobby of an office building in midtown Manhattan where Tupac Shakur was working on his third album, Me Against the World. They shot him and hurt him badly (1995). Shakur blamed producer Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs and rival rapper Christopher Wallace, also known as “The Notorious B.I.G.,” for the attack. These reasons have been talked about at length in works like Nick Broomfield’s 2002 documentary Biggie and Tupac. Shakur’s charges and his subsequent move to the L.A.-based record label Death Row Records started the so-called “East Coast vs. West Coast” feud, which dominated the hip-hop scene until the mid-1990s.

On September 7, 1996, Shakur and other people with him were in Las Vegas for a boxing match between Mike Tyson and Bruce Seldon. They were caught on tape fighting with a member of the Los Angeles Crips street gang in the lobby of the MGM Grand hotel. Hours later, Shakur was a passenger in a car driven by the head of Death Row Records, Marian “Suge” Knight. At a stoplight on Flamingo Road, a white Cadillac pulled up next to them and started shooting. At least 12 shots were fired, and four of them hit Shakur and one just missed Suge Knight’s head. Shakur’s life was saved that night by emergency surgery at University Medical Center. In the days that followed, doctors said that he had a better chance of getting better. Tupac Shakur died of his injuries on September 13, 1996.

Six months later, Christopher Wallace, a rap rival of Shakur’s, was killed in Los Angeles in a similar way. So far, no one has been caught in connection with either killing.

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