LOS ANGELES — An investigation into Tupac Shakur’s unsolved killing has been revived. It took nearly three decades, but a new twist came when authorities in Nevada served a search warrant this week in connection with the rap star’s shooting death, they confirmed Tuesday.
Here’s what to know about one of the most infamous fatal shootings in hip-hop history:
WHAT’S NEW IN THE INVESTIGATION?
Las Vegas police served a search warrant in connection to the killing of Shakur, who was gunned down Sept. 7, 1996.
The warrant was executed Monday in the nearby city of Henderson. It’s unclear what they were looking for or where they searched.
Citing the ongoing investigation, a police spokesperson said he couldn’t provide further details on the latest development in the case, including whether a suspect has been identified.
WHAT HAPPENED THE NIGHT SHAKUR DIED?
The 25-year-old rapper was traveling in a black BMW driven by Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight in a convoy of about 10 cars, apparently headed to a nightclub, after watching Mike Tyson knock out Bruce Seldon in a championship fight at the MGM Grand. Police said no one else was in the car with them.
A white Cadillac with four men inside pulled alongside the BMW while it was stopped at a red light at an intersection near the Las Vegas Strip, and one person opened fire, riddling the passenger side of Knight’s car with bullets, police said. Sitting in the passenger seat, Shakur was shot four times, at least twice in the chest. Knight was grazed by a bullet fragment or shrapnel from the car.
Shakur was rushed to a hospital, where he died six days later.
WHAT IS THE RAPPER’S LEGACY?
Shakur is one of the most prolific figures in hip-hop, also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli. His professional music career only lasted five years, but he sold more than 75 million records worldwide, including the diamond-certified album “All Eyez on Me,” which was packed with hits including “California Love (Remix),” “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” and “How Do U Want It.”
Shakur has had five No. 1 albums including “Me Against the World” in 1995 and “All Eyez on Me” in 1996, along with three posthumous releases: 1996’s “The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory,” 2001’s “Until the End of Time” and 2004’s “Loyal to the Game.”
The six-time Grammy-nominated artist was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Snoop Dogg in 2017.
As a rising actor, Shakur starred in several popular films such as John Singleton's “Poetic Justice" with Janet Jackson and Ernest Dickerson's “Juice.” He also played major roles in “Gang Related” and “Above the Rim.”
In April, a five-part FX docuseries called “ Dear Mama: The Saga of Afeni and Tupac Shakur” delved into the past of the rapper’s mother, Afeni Shakur, as a female leader in the Black Panther Party, while exploring Tupac’s journey as a political visionary and becoming one of the greatest rap artists of all time.
Last month, Shakur received a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“He defied the distinction between art and activism,” said radio personality Big Boy, who emceed the ceremony.
Shakur has been remembered with museum exhibits, including “Tupac Shakur. Wake Me When I’m Free” in 2021 and “All Eyez on Me” at the Grammy Museum in 2015. He’ll soon have a stretch of an Oakland street renamed after him.
WHAT ABOUT HIS BIGGEST RIVALRY?
Shakur’s death came amid his feud with rap rival the Notorious B.I.G., who was fatally shot six months later. At the time, both rappers were in the middle of the infamous East Coast-West Coast rivalry, which primarily defined the hip-hop scene during the mid-1990s.
The feud was ignited after Shakur was seriously wounded in another shooting during a robbery in the lobby of a midtown Manhattan hotel in 1994. He was shot several times and lost $40,000.
Shakur openly accused B.I.G. and Sean “Diddy” Combs of having prior knowledge of the shooting, which both vehemently denied. The shooting sparked enough of a feud that created a serious divide within the hip-hop community and fans.
The New York-born Shakur represented the West Coast after he signed with the Los Angeles-based Death Row Records. He often traded verbal jabs with New York-natives B.I.G. and Combs, who hailed from the East Coast while representing New York City-based Bad Boy Records.
Diss tracks were seemingly delivered to drive home their ferocious points across. Shakur released the aggressive single “Hit ’Em Up,” which took aim at B.I.G., who on the other hand returned with “Who Shot Ya?,” a record that was received as a taunt. However, B.I.G. claimed the song was not directed toward Shakur.
MORE ON SHAKUR'S LIFE AND CAREER
Shakur was born June 16, 1971, in New York City. He later moved to Baltimore and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he began writing raps. He eventually made his way to Marin City, California, near San Francisco, and continued to write and record.
As a member of the Grammy-nominated group Digital Underground, Shakur appeared on the 1991 track “Same Song″ from ”This Is an EP Release″ and on the album "Sons of the P.″
That same year, Shakur achieved individual recognition with the album "2Pacalypse Now,″ which spawned the successful singles "Trapped" and "Brenda’s Got a Baby."
The album, with references to police officers being killed, drew notoriety when a lawyer claimed a man accused of killing a Texas trooper had been riled up by the record. Then-Vice President Dan Quayle targeted ``2Pacalypse Now″ in his 1992 battle with Hollywood over traditional values.
In 1993, Shakur followed up with the sophomore album, which produced songs ”I Get Around," "Keep Ya Head Up″ and "Papa’z Song,″ and he was nominated for an American Music Award as best new rap hip-hop artist.
The next year he appeared with hip-hop group Thug Life on the "Above The Rim″ soundtrack and on the group’s album "Volume 1.″ In a photo on the album liner, he framed his face between his two extended middle fingers.
Over the years, Shakur had some brushes with the law. He served several months in a New York prison for sex abuse.
While in prison, Shakur indicated he was rethinking his lifestyle. He had support from Black leaders including the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who counseled him while he was locked up.
“Thug Life to me is dead. If it’s real, let somebody else represent it, because I’m tired of it,″ Shakur told Vibe magazine. ”I represented it too much. I was Thug Life.″
Shakur was up-front about his troubled life in the 1995 release “Me Against The World,″ a multimillion-selling album that contained the ominously titled tracks ”If I Die 2Nite″ and “Death Around The Corner.″
“It ain’t easy being me. ... Will I see the penitentiary, or will I stay free?″ Shakur rapped on the album, which produced the Grammy-nominated "Dear Mama″ and standout singles "So Many Tears″ and ”Temptations.″
The Las Vegas shooting occurred as Shakur’s fourth solo album, "All Eyez on Me,″ remained on the charts, with some 5 million copies sold.