By Chris Whitworth
Today is the 40th birthday of enigmatic rapper Tupac Shakur, or rather would have been had the rap star not been brutally gunned down in Las Vegas in 1996.
Tupac’s murder was never solved and would go on to become the stuff of music legend for years to come.
The internet has literally thousands of web pages and message boards dedicated to mysteries and conspiracy theories surrounding the rapper’s death.
Even in 2011 it seems the world is still talking about Tupac Shakur’s death.
Details surrounding the rapper’s murder made headlines this week – almost 15 years after his death – with a supposed fresh lead on the Tupac homicide inquiry.
But conspiracy or not, the rapper’s life was definitely immortalised on that fateful night in 1996, rocketing him to front page headlines, and cementing his name in pop culture forever.
3news.co.nz takes a look at the top five conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Tupac Shakur.
TOP 5 TUPAC SHAKUR DEATH CONSPIRACY THEORIES
1) Posthumous albums pointing to death
Tupac Shakur released more albums after his death then he did during his short-lived career. But of all his posthumous work, his first release would prove the most controversial.
Makaveli: Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory was released just two months after the rapper’s death, and the seemingly bizarre title soon became a wet dream for conspiracy theorists. It referenced Italian philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli who wrote about faking one’s own death in the book Art Of War.
Tupac is said to have read the works of Niccolò Machiavelli, including Art Of War, extensively while in jail in 1995 and many took the reference as a sign that Tupac had faked his death and would once again return. The title also references the number seven, a numeral that would later become synonymous with the late-rapper (but more on that later).
2) Lyrics pointing to his death
Since the late-rapper’s death in 1996, fanatic fans have scoured through his back catalogue and posthumous albums searching for lyrics predicting his death or hinting at his resurrection.
Similar to crazed Beatles fans sifting through the band’s extensive catalogue of work for subliminal messages and secret truths, many Tupac believers found what they believed to be signs of Tupac's ressurection.
Among the popular lyrics believed to point to his resurrection are:
‘Ain't Hard 2 Find’ from the 1996 album All Eyes on Me.
“I heard a rumour I died, murdered in cold blood dramatised
Pictures of me in my final stage you know Mama cried
But that was fiction, some coward got the story twisted
Like I no longer existed, mysteriously missing”.
‘Blasphemy’ from the album Makaveli: Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory.
“I'm contemplating plots wondering which door to go
Brothers getting shot, coming back resurrected”.
3) Obsession with the number seven
The number seven is considered a highly spiritual number in many religious texts including the Torah. Whether 'Pac fans read that religious text or not, many have taken on the number’s spiritual association in the rapper’s life as pointing to his resurrection and given him a Christ-like quality.
Among the supposed references in Tupac's life to the number seven are:
- Tupac supposedly died at 4:03pm in Las Vegas in September 13, 1996. A simple addition of the three numbers that make up the time give the equation: 4+0+3= 7. Mathematically correct? Yes. Relevant to his death and supposed ressurection? Perhaps not.
- Although Tupac died on September 13 in 1996, he was actually gunned down six days earlier on September 7 and later died in hospital from the critical injuries. Again theorists see the number seven in the date as a holy sign he will rise again like the biblical Christ.
- Tupac was killed seven months after his final album All Eyez on Me. The album was seen as his best work to date - and no doubt a fitting album to go out on. The release date suggests, according to theorists, that Tupac knew he would die in September 1996 and thus released his definitive album seven months before his death as a sign.
- And lastly, Tupac’s career lasted seven years (although it is debated whether he first entered the music scene in 1989 or 1990). The number seven is again seen as a divine representation of his time in the music scene, although it does depend on how you define the start of his career.
4) Tupac is alive in New Zealand
If Tupac’s life did in fact revolve around spiritual numbers and Christ-like references, it is perhaps only fitting that he was spotted this year in little ol’ ‘Godzone’, aka New Zealand, last month.
A story by American broadcaster PBS claimed the rapper was alive and well in a “small resort” in New Zealand, but in the short time it took for the story to circulate the web and renew hope for Tupac believers worldwide, it had already been revealed as a fake.
The hoax carried out by hacking group LulzSec, who hijacked the public broadcaster's website.
5) Witness protection
And lastly, despite Tupac’s many derogatory lyrics aimed at the boys in blue - the “po-leece” - the final popular theory in our list is that Tupac is in fact under witness protection by the FBI.
Theorists claim he helped the FBI in 1996 to investigate his former record company Death Row Records, founded by Marion “Suge” Knight.
While the theory is feasible given Tupac's history with the label and the chequered past of Mr Knight - who has alleged links to criminal groups and indeed done time in the clink - the idea of a rap star being the chief witness in a major FBI case sounds far too much like the sort of gangster-themed Hollywood film which Tupac had starred in during his career.
Tupac would prove even more popular in death than he did in life, going on to sell millions of records after his murder. Recent revelations about the Tupac homicide inquiry may shed some factual light on his death but until then we may have to resort to creating our own stories about the beloved star.