After Decades Of Rumors That Tupac Is Still Alive, An Alleged New Sighting Adds Fuel To The Fire

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Iconic rapper Tupac Shakur was killed in a drive-by shooting in 1996. However, in the two decades since the artist died, a number of bizarre rumors have circulated regarding his death and potential whereabouts. And in November 2019 a video emerged which would further fuel the conspiracy theories.

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Shakur came into the world as Lesane Parish Crooks in June 1971, in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood. His mother, Afeni Shakur (née Alice Williams), was actively involved with the Black Panther Party. She would later rename her son Tupac Amaru Shakur, after Túpac Amaru II, a Peruvian revolutionary.

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Túpac Amaru II lived in 18th-century Peru. And, after spearheading an uprising of the people against their Spanish rulers, was executed. Shakur’s mother, revealing why she named her son after the historical figure, would later say, “I wanted him to have the name of revolutionary, indigenous people in the world. I wanted him to know he was part of a world culture and not just from a neighborhood.”

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In 1984 Shakur and his family relocated to Maryland, where they settled in Baltimore. It seems it was here that the teenager first developed his talents as a performer, and he soon transferred from regular high school to the prestigious Baltimore School for the Arts. At the esteemed establishment, the future star excelled in his studies, which included poetry, jazz, acting and ballet.

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However, in 1988, before Shakur could graduate, his family moved once more. This time they settled in Marin City, a small community in the San Fransisco Bay area of California. Shakur continued his studies at the nearby Tamalpais High School where he continued to show an interest in English and drama.

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But it was during Shakur’s time in Marin City that he became caught up in gang culture and drug dealing. These activities would provide him with inspiration for his music, which he first recorded in 1989, under the alias “M.C. New York.” A year later – in 1990 – the rising star joined rap group Digital Underground.

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During Shakur’s time with Digital Underground, he performed on two albums in 1991. However, later that year, he launched his first solo record, 2Pacalypse Now. While the album didn’t produce any hit singles, it was critically acclaimed and rappers including Eminem, Nas and Game have since cited it as an inspiration.

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2Pacalypse Now’s subject matter – which included critiques of unfair social policies – proved somewhat controversial. The song “Soulja’s Story” in particular was criticized by U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle during the presidential campaign of 1992. However, such opinions only appeared to increase the popularity of the album among fans.

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The year 1992 was, in some ways, a breakthrough year for Shakur. It was then that he made his movie debut, appearing in gritty crime drama Juice. The next year he starred in Poetic Justice alongside Janet Jackson. And 1993 also saw the release of Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z, the rapper’s second album.

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The follow-up record’s subject matter didn’t stray too far from that of Shakur’s first album. It did, though, contain more commercial tunes, such as “Keep Ya Head Up” and “Holler If Ya Hear Me.” As a result, the rapper’s fame increased and he found himself under fire for his perceived “gangsta lifestyle.”

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Furthermore, 1994 saw Shakur arrested multiple times, and he was ultimately found guilty of sexual assault. It was for this reason that the rapper was incarcerated at the time his third studio album, Me Against the World, launched in 1995. The rapper was subsequently released on parole after an eight-month stint in jail.

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Following Shakur’s release from prison, he teamed up with Death Row Records. Shortly after that, he released his All Eyez on Me album in 1996. The two-disc record celebrated the “thug life” attitude that the rapper had come to embody. What’s more, it proved incredibly popular, storming to the top of the Billboard charts and selling over five million units within 12 months.

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The huge success of All Eyez on Me catapulted Shakur into the spotlight once more. And as a way of cashing in on his fame, he appeared in two more movies – Bullet in 1996 and Gridlock’d the following year. However, the good times were sadly not to last for the rapper.

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On September 7, 1996, Shakur spent the evening watching the Mike Tyson vs. Bruce Seldon boxing match at Nevada’s MGM Grand in Las Vegas. After leaving the fight, he and his entourage had a run-in with Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, an alleged member of the Compton-based gang the Crips. The rapper subsequently attacked Anderson and a fight ensued.

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Following the brawl, Shakur and his crew headed to Club 662, an establishment owned by his record label, Death Row. At 11:25 p.m., the black BMW the rapper was riding in stopped at a light. But as it did so, a white Cadillac pulled up on the passenger side and fired a succession of gunshots into the vehicle.

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Shakur took four bullets; once each in the thigh and arm and twice in the torso, with one round entering the rapper’s right lung. After paramedics and police arrived on the scene, he was taken to Southern Nevada’s University Medical Center. There, the rapper was eventually placed in a medically-induced coma. He died six days later from internal bleeding, aged just 25.

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To this day, Shakur’s assailant has still not been identified. It is believed, however, that the shooting resulted from the intense rivalry between the rap communities on the East and West Coasts. At one point, the rapper’s former friend Notorious B.I.G. was considered a suspect, but he, too, lost his life in a drive-by shooting months later.

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Following Shakur’s death, he continued to be a leading name within the rap industry. A string of recordings by the artist was released posthumously and his popularity with music fans endured. However, as the late star’s legacy grew, so, too, did the conspiracy theories surrounding his untimely passing.

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One of the most popular rumors regarding Shakur is that he faked his own death. Which means that he could, therefore, still be alive. This conspiracy has been fueled by a number of apparent discrepancies surrounding his passing that haven’t gone unnoticed by his many fans. Furthermore, in 2015, a former policeman reportedly claimed that he’d helped the rapper fabricate his own death.

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The cop – David Myers – claimed that received $1.5 million for assisting Shakur in faking his murder. Myers said that he’d decided to go public with his part in the rapper’s alleged disappearance after being racked with guilt for over a decade. As a result, he apparently chose to share his story with the world.

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In a 2015 deathbed confession, the Daily Mirror reported Myers as saying, “The world needs to know what I did. I’m ashamed that I let a price be put on my word and I cannot die without letting the world know.” However, the story was subsequently thrown into disrepute when one of the websites that first posted the former cops’ account misrepresented him with a fraudulent image.

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Furthermore, there was also some confusion regarding Shakur’s supposed September 14, 1996, cremation, held just one day after his passing. Death Row Records’ CEO Suge Knight later claimed that he paid a cremator $3 million. However, he said that the guy mysteriously disappeared and no one ever saw the rapper’s body.

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During a radio interview in 2012 Knight explained, “Maybe the question is… Pac’s not really dead. Pac’s somewhere else. Nobody seen Tupac dead… The person who supposedly cremated Tupac… This guy got about $3 million personally from me, cash, and next thing I know I never heard from the guy or seen him again. He retired and left.”

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Shakur also helped to fan the flames himself when he was alive. He sometimes used the alias Makaveli. The name was a tribute to the prominent Italian thinker Niccolò Machiavelli, who is believed to have faked his own death. The rapper’s posthumous record, The Don Killuminati was released under that moniker. In addition, the album’s cover also featured him as Jesus, who rose from the dead.

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Other factors that have contributed to the prevalence of the Shakur rumors include the last photograph believed to have been taken of the rapper. The snap showed him sitting in a car beside Knight, just minutes before he would be gunned down. However, the photo in question came with the date September 8, 1996 – the day after the lethal shooting occurred.

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Furthermore, some of Shakur’s lyrics appeared to reference his own death. One line from his 1996 tune “Ain’t Hard 2 Find” reads, “I heard a rumor that I died, murdered in cold blood, traumatized. Pictures of me in my final states — you know Mama cried. But that was fiction, some coward got the story twisted.”

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With all this considered, it has been rumored that Shakur is, in fact, alive and well. Not only that, but the rapper also quite possibly resides in Cuba. And the reason for this theory is that his step-aunt Assata Shakur lives on the island. Moreover, before relations between the U.S. and Cuba improved under the Obama presidency, some people believed that it would be relatively easy for the rapper to disappear there.

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Adding fuel to the fire that Shakur never really died are the many reported sightings of the rapper that have occurred over the years. One such spotting took place at 2011’s Occupy Wall Street demo in New York. It was then that a man resembling the rapper was pictured in the crowd wearing a yellow raincoat.

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Another “sighting” went viral in 2014. A lookalike was spotted at a Boston Celtics game wearing the rapper’s trademark “rabbit ears” bandana. Any excitement that the rapper had returned, however, dissipated when the man in question clearly enjoyed the attention he was getting a little too much. This led one witness to quip, “He had the look but none of Shakur’s style,” according to an article in the Irish Mirror in 2019.

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One of the most recent Shakur sightings apparently occurred in November 2019. It was then that a video emerged that appeared to show the late rapper talking on a cellphone and holding a drink in his hand. The footage appears to have been taking covertly, with the person filming seemingly hidden by some plants.

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The video claimed to show Shakur “alive in 2020,” which is strange, since it was posted to YouTube in November 2019. So unless the video was indeed captured in the future, the date doesn’t seem to be correct. Nevertheless, the clip claimed to feature the rapper, then aged 48.

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Another thing that’s unclear about the clip that supposedly shows Shakur alive and well is where it was taken. Judging by the verdant greenery and choice of attire by the man in question, it appears that the location is somewhere warm and sunny. But anything more specific than that is hard to determine.

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Looking closely at the footage, it’s fair to say that the man captured does indeed bear a passing resemblance to Shakur. It is also possible that the individual is around the same age that the rapper would be now. However, the camera fails to get a closer look at the guy. Therefore impossible to tell whether or not it really was him.

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However, while the video of the “sighting” is inconclusive proof that Shakur is still alive, that hasn’t prevented many people from believing it does just that. The YouTube clip has since been viewed over 200,000 times. Furthermore, it has also clocked up a series of comments from enthusiastic fans.

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For one viewer, the likeness between the man in the video to Shakur was undeniable. Adding their thoughts beneath the clip, they concluded that the unknown person was “probably the best lookalike out there.” The commenter added that the subject had the “same head shape, teeth [and] even scar on top right from holes in the quad studio.”

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Elsewhere, another commenter urged any doubters to “pause at 0:04.” At that point in the video, they pointed out, the man “does look like Pac with the smile.” Agreeing, another person said, “Closest video to Tupac I’ve seen! It would be great if he is alive because he was taken way too soon!”

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However, not everyone who watched the video thought that the man it captured was Shakur. But that wasn’t to say, however, that they believed the rapper had died following the drive-by shooting back in 1996. With this in mind, one viewer simply wrote, “That definitely ain’t Tupac! Stop it.”

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Echoing these thoughts, another person said, “Tupac’s alive but that’s definitely not him. Come on now. Why [is it] every time someone takes a picture and then makes a video of that person saying it’s Tupac, the pictures or videos are always blurry and taken far away? This person just wants some YouTube views.”

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But elsewhere in the video’s comment section, it appeared that some people were simply fed up with people claiming that Shakur was alive. One peeved YouTube user wrote, “Just let the man rest in peace… He was taken too young, life isn’t fair, but at least he left a legacy behind.”

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When it comes to Shakur, it seems that – like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley before him – some people will never accept that such an icon was taken so soon. With that in mind, rumors regarding his death will likely continue long into the future. And in turn they’ll boost the rapper’s legendary status for years to come.

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