Tupac Shakur Was Deeply Paranoid and Had a Flair for Being Dramatic
Exploring what caused 2PAC to accuse his former friend and rap star Biggie of trying to have him killed
This isn’t being written by a nineteen year old who just discovered 2PAC’s music for the first time. It’s being written by a 31 year old who grew up practically idolizing the man. There’s not an album he released I didn’t buy.
Yes, we used to actually pay for music. Bananas, right?
There’s not a song of his I haven’t heard. I even bought and read the poetry collection of his published after he died — The Rose That Grew From Concrete.
When I say I grew up listening to 2PAC, I mean it to the extent, because I listened to 2PAC, I didn’t like The Notorious B.I.G. through most of my teens. Not because l didn’t think he was talented, but because it felt disloyal.
After all, it’s hard to listen to as much Pac as I did and still come out on the other end liking his rival. If you took 2pac’s word for it — which I very much did back then — Biggie tried to have him murdered. While I eventually got past it and more or less no longer believed it, and became a fan of Biggie’s music as well, I was always a Pac fan first.
While I can’t say I listen to much 2pac nowadays, mainly because I’ve heard every song of his more than anyone should in their natural born lives — I recently got hooked binge watching The USA Network’s original mini series Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac & Biggie. I guess it was at some point during the six episodes I’ve made it through thus far, being an adult and all now, that I developed this new perspective. That being, Biggie never tried to have Tupac killed — and PAC handled the whole thing extremely immaturely.
In his defense, I can only imagine the paranoia that being shot five times causes. That and with all we know about Suge Knight now, I can’t help but think Suge helped perpetuate Tupac’s paranoid theories, in the name of profits. As ugly and violent as it ended, few things before or after have inflated record sales like the East Coast-West Coast rap beef. While I’m not suggesting Suge had Tupac set up, I wouldn’t put it past him either. But if Tupac was randomly robbed and shot during, which is completely possible and yet a theory Tupac himself never seemed to consider — it would have greatly benefited Suge and Death Row Records to let PAC believe it was Biggie and Bad Boy Records who set him up.
For one, as I mentioned, it was great for business. It was 2PAC’s paranoia and rage over the situation that gave us one of, if not the single greatest diss track in rap’s history, in Hit ’Em Up.
On top of that, it would’ve also ensured Suge that PAC wouldn’t end up signing with Bad Boy Records. A move that could have happened, given his ever growing friendship with Biggie before the shooting.
As I said, I grew up with a 2PAC fascination. I read every book and watched every documentary. Tupac Shakur studied theater and drama in school. He wanted to be an actor, before he ever got into music. He read The Prince by Machiavelli while he was in prison. Despite his street thug persona, he was a very intelligent and well read young man. In addition, he seemed to be naturally dramatic. There was theatrics in almost every move he made and word he spoke. It’s who he was — or at least who he made himself out to be.
You splash five bullets and some paranoia on top of that dramatic personality, mix in a calculative mind and what you get is 2PAC telling the world Biggie tried to have him killed. Whether he believed it or not, is a whole other story.
While it’s possible Biggie tried to have 2PAC killed on that fateful day, downstairs in the lobby of the studio he himself was recording, it’s just not probable. At the end of the day, we’ll never know. Over two decades have passed and neither one of their murders has been solved. A re-opening of the case has brought us no new major developments, just a USA Network mini-series and this post.