Twenty years on: the conspiracy theories surrounding Tupac's death

By wires, News Corp Australia Network, Shoba Rao

Tupac Shakur's murder officially remains unsolved and his fate has fascinated his conspiracy-minded followers. Photo / Getty Images
Tupac Shakur's murder officially remains unsolved and his fate has fascinated his conspiracy-minded followers. Photo / Getty Images

Twenty years after his death, the ghost of Tupac still reigns.

Other rappers have succeeded him in stardom, but the rapper - who died at the age of 25 on September 13, 1996 - maintains a hold on music fans that is among the most enduring in recent times.

Tupac was shot on September 7, 1996 shortly after a Mike Tyson fight in Las Vegas. He died of his injuries six days later.

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Born in New York and raised in Baltimore, he became one of the most identifiable figures in the West Coast scene centred around Suge Knight's Death Row Records

His murder officially remains unsolved and his fate has fascinated his conspiracy-minded followers.

Many fans continue to debate whether Tupac really is dead - or alive.

These are some of the most popular conspiracy theories surrounding the rapper and his life.

1. A 'TUPAC SELFIE' - IS IT HIM?

Recently, a photo sent the internet into meltdown of a man in South Africa, who internet users insisted was the long-lost rap messiah.

The startling picture was posted on a video clip on YouTube and has left millions of shocked music fans asking is the Harlem-born rap star really alive and living in hiding.

The video titled Tupac is alive new proof 2016 claimed it had the most convincing evidence the fallen rapper is still with us.

It is claimed the man is "Tupac guys 100% same eyebrows and lips".

The jacket the man is wearing is only said to have been released onto the market in 2012.

The subtitles in the video state the photo is a "selfie" taken in 2015 on a phone "made in 2011" - 11 years after his death.

2. TUPAC'S STAGE NAME, 'MAKAVELI'

Tupac's album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory was released under the stage name he performed under, Makaveli.

The name came from Italian war strategist Niccolò Machiavelli who pretended to fake his death.

If you swap around the letters, Makaveli turns into 'AM ALIVE K.'

The album, which was released under the name, has the words "Exit 2Pac, Enter Makaveli" on the cover and it featured him as Jesus Christ, who did come back to life after a resurrection. Many fans still debate the chance of the rapper being alive, based on these subtle details.

3. TUPAC'S SUDDEN CREMATION

His body was cremated on September 14, 1996, the day after he died. Suge Knight, the owner of Tupac's one-time label, Death Row Records, claimed he personally paid a man $3 million to cremate him.

While a book titled The Killing of Tupac Shakur claimed to have a picture of Tupac receiving an autopsy, some fans dispute the authenticity of the picture.

The book's author, Cathy Scott from the Las Vegas Sun, said an autopsy was done the evening of September 13, 1996, almost immediately following his death. According to her, the body was positively identified by his mother, Afeni Shakur, who died this year. Public funeral services were also cancelled in both Los Angeles and Atlanta, and there was no viewing of his body.

4. HE'S IN EXILE AND IN CUBA

Fans who can't accept his death say he faked his own death in Las Vegas and then fled to Cuba to join his aunt Assata Shakur. Formerly called Joanne Chesimard, she is a Queens-born activist who belonged to the Black Liberation Army. She was on the FBI's most wanted terrorist list after she escaped prison two years after being convicted of the alleged murder of state trooper Werner Foerster in 1977 during a gunfight.

She has always maintained her innocence. In 1984, then Cuban President Fidel Castro granted her political asylum on the island. But questions still remain around why he'd want to leave the US for Cuba. Even Suge Knight has previously claimed Tupac was on an island smoking Cuban cigars.

5. HE'S WORKING FOR THE COPS

Some fans claimed they believe Tupac's death was faked by the FBI, and the rapper is now living in witness protection, assisting police with other investigations.

But the CIA tweeted back in 2014 they had no idea of his whereabouts.


6. HIDDEN MESSAGES IN HIS MUSIC

He was featured on Richie Rich's track N***** Done Changed, which was released after his death in 1996. On the song Tupac raps, "I've been shot and murdered, can't tell you how it happened word for word but best believe that n*****' gonna get what they deserve."

On the song Ain't Hard 2 Find he opens up the track with - "I heard rumours that I died murdered in cold blood, traumatised pictures of me in my final states - you know mama cried. But that was fiction, some coward got the story twisted."

In Tupac's song Life of an Outlaw, he says: "All for the street fame on how to be managed, six months in advance to what we plotted, approved to go on swole and now I got it". This implies that Tupac planned his "death" in advance and now he is enjoying the success.

It is lyrics like these that have left many fans wondering if he really is dead, or if his death was faked.

7. THE SNEAKER THEORY

In the video for To Live & Die In L.A. (Death Row, 1996), he is wearing the newest edition of the Nike Air Jordans. However, the shoes were not released by Nike until November - two months after his death in September.

In the video for Toss It Up (Death Row, 1996), he is seen wearing a pair of Penny Hardaway sneakers which were also not available until after the time of his "death."

Both pairs of sneakers led to more rumours about the rapper being alive.

Regardless of what conspiracy theories fans believe though, Tupac was finally "resurrected" in hologram form.

In 2012 at Coachella, one of the world's pre-eminent music festivals, he performed in one of the first concert holograms alongside former associates Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre.

Yet despite his global persona, few formal tributes exist for Tupac, whose mother said she spread his ashes on her North Carolina farm.

- news.com.au

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