Did Suge Kill Tupac?
As most of us already know, Marion "Suge" Knight, the former CEO of Death Row Records, is not exactly known as a nice guy. In recent years, his fame and notoriety has been declining, as well as the public's fear of him. In 2008, a previously unknown barber, now known as Greg "The Barber", allegedly knocked him out cold outside of a club in Los Angeles. But there was a time, in the 90's, when Suge Knight was the most feared man in the Entertainment industry. Simply saying his name could cause many people to become nervous or take a look over their shoulder. This was because of his reputation for behaving like a mob boss (rumor has it that he once dangled Vanilla Ice from a hotel balcony by his ankles) and his connections with Compton's infamous blood gang, the Mob Pirus. So in 1996, when Tupac Shakur was killed while riding alongside Suge on the Las Vegas strip, the stage was set for suspicions and conspiracy theories. While some believe it was Orlando Anderson who murdered Tupac, and others believe the Notorious B.I.G. or the illuminati were involved, there still remains a large portion of 2pac fans who believe Suge was the one who set up Shakur and allowed him to be killed. This couldn't be further from the truth, and all the evidence that has been presented to push this theory has been debunked. Let's take a look at some of the reasons why Suge couldn't have been involved.
Leaving Death Row
Many people have stated that Knight stood to benefit from Tupac's death, because Pac had hundreds of unreleased songs that he recorded while signed to Death Row. The main point for their argument is that Tupac planned to leave Death Row to start up his own record label, and that this would have resulted in Suge losing lots of money. The problem with this theory, is that the people who try to use this as their main argument do not have a basic understanding on how the music industry works. When a song is created, it is automatically copyrighted and belongs to the person who created it. The only reason why people pay $35 to register their music with the U.S. Copyright Office, is because they want extra proof that it is indeed their work, in case they are ever sued or have to sue somebody in court over it. But this is not necessary for vocalists, only people who play instruments or who create musical compositions, such as producers. Proof is not necessary for vocalists like 2pac, because their voices are easily recognizable, so there is no dispute over who created the recording. When a person creates a recording, as stated before, it's automatically copyrighted and the person who created it automatically owns it. It only becomes somebody else's when the person who created it signs it over to somebody else with the use of contracts. So before Tupac died, all these unreleased songs belonged to him, not Death Row. The only songs that belonged to Death Row at the time were the ones he specifically signed over to them. So killing Tupac would not benefit Suge at all, becuase he wouldn't gain anything by doing it. Killing Shakur would not automatically create a contract out of thin air, that would sign those songs over to him, and he knew that, because he was a CEO of a major record label. When 2pac died, his mother, who was the next of kin, became the owner of the majority of his unreleased work. Most of the albums that have been released after 2pac's death were released by Amaru Entertainment, his mother's record label. She also inherited the rights to his first four albums as well. When Pac joined Death Row, he signed a contract that stated he would do 3 albums for Suge Knight. All Eyez On Me was a double album, so it counted as the first two. The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory was the third album that would have fulfilled Shakur's contract and effectively release him from death row.
So at that point, Tupac was free to leave, but he had stated in numerous interviews that he planned on helping Death Row establish a sub-label on the Eastcoast, known as Death Row East. He also stated that he had plans to create his own record label, Makaveli Records, which he said in interviews he had planned to distribute through Death Row Records. This is similar to how Death Row was distributed through Interscope. So at that point, Suge had nothing to lose, he only stood to gain as long as 2pac was alive. Now that he is dead, Death Row can only make money off of the things he did before he died. They are missing out on all the money he could have made them if he was still alive and continued with his plans to launch Makaveli Records and assist with Death Row East. Now, all those unreleased tracks that he made, belong to his mother, instead of Makaveli Records where they probably would have made Suge a lot of money.
Suge Wasn't Shot
Another common argument I often hear involves Knight and the shrapnel or bullet that allegedly hit him while he was sitting beside Shakur during the 1996 shooting. Some people have stated that Suge is a liar because some people say he was hit by shrapnel or grazed by a bullet, while he claims he was shot with one and it was lodged in his skull. While he may be lying about that, it's not relevant to anything. I've seen people say that he must have set up 2pac because he was sitting right next to him and wasn't shot, while multiple bullets went through the passenger door and hit Shakur. But this is ludicrous, because if Suge was close enough to get hit by shrapnel or even grazed by a bullet, then he was close enough for someone to make a mistake and accidentally hit him as well. If he wanted 2pac dead, I doubt he would have put himself within a foot of his intended victim. Especially being on the far side of the car, where a bullet could easily have gone through Pac's body and hit him. He was only lucky that a scenario like that didn't happen.
Suge Shot Him
On The Don Killuminati album, before the first track "Bomb First", there's a faint voice that can be heard in a recorded crowd of people talking. There's been many guesses as to what that voice is saying. Some have stated that it's Yafeu Fula (Yaki Kadafi), one of the members of The Outlawz and the only eye witness to Tupac's murder that agreed to talk to police, saying "Suge shot Tupac". But these rumors were squashed by The Outlawz themselves, when they said in an interview that the voice is actually saying "should've shot him". Let's pretend that it did say that, for sake of argument. Does that actually mean Suge had something to do with it? Just because a CD would say something like that, doesn't mean it's actually true. I could see someone putting something like that on there just to sell more albums and keep the conspiracy theories going.
Kadafi was Murdered
While Yaki Kadafi, Tupac's cousin, was the only person who offered to assist the police and identify the shooting, he was killed in a New Jersey apartment complex hallway and the murder was unsolved for quite some time. Lots of people suggested that Suge had him killed because he was going to identify him as being involved. But Napoleon of the Outlawz later came out and admitted that Kadafi was accidentally killed by his cousin when they were drunk and messing around with a gun. The story that he was going to implicate Suge in Tupac's murder is ridiculous, because why wouldn't he have just told the police that right away? Although he said he could identify the killers, he didn't know them by name, which is why he couldn't implicate them immediately. He would have had to have had a meeting with police and a sketch artist to describe Tupac's shooters. If he thought Suge was involved, he wouldn't have had to wait for all that and could have just dropped Suge's name to the police immediately.
Suge Didn't Help Police
After the murder, Suge refused to work with police and help them catch 2pac's killers. So this also caused many to be suspicious of his motives for not wanting to help the police. But what people don't understand, is that Suge is a gangster and snitching or helping the police in any way would have ruined his reputation because there's a certain code of the streets that gangsters like him have to follow. In Compton, a week after 2pac died, a bloody war was waged by the Bloods on the Crips. This was called "Crip-a-Day", because somebody supposedly put out an order to the Bloods to make sure to kill at least one Compton Crip a day in retaliation for Tupac's death. There were many rumors that Suge was the one who put this order out, because he was affiliated with the Mob Piru Bloods, and they were the ones who were doing much of the killing. After the smoke cleared that week, 13 crips and 2 bloods were dead.
Snoop Doggy Dogg was signed to Death Row at the time this all occured. According to Russell Poole, the LAPD Detective who researched the Tupac murder case and who implicated some of his own fellow officers in the death of the Notorious B.I.G., Snoop admitted to an unidentified police officer that Suge killed 2pac. Supposedly, a cop was casually talking to Snoop, and said "I think I know who killed 2pac". Snoop replied with "I do too, the guy seated next to him". The cop responded with "You mean Suge Knight", and Snoop returned back with "Yes". Now what people need to keep in mind, is that Snoop was not even part of the entourage in Las Vegas that night. So he was not even a witness to the murder. Furthermore, many people blame Suge for getting Shakur involved in his beefs, because it's been said that he approached the Crip in the MGM Grand and attacked him, after Knight pointed him out. So what Snoop probably meant by this, was that Suge got Pac involved in gang beefs and scuffles that ultimately led to his death. Not that Suge literally pulled the trigger or purposely set him up.
Give Tupac Some Credit
Tupac was very paranoid at the time he signed with Death Row. The main reason he probably signed with them, was not just to get out of prison, but because Death Row was having beef with Bad Boy at the time, and 2pac was told by many people that Bad Boy was involved in his 1994 robbery and shooting. There was lots of evidence at the time which suggested that 2pac was robbed and shot by members of a group called BMF (Black Mafia Family), who were affiliated with the Crips. This group had lots of ties with Bad Boy, and there's even a rumor that they tried to pressure Shakur into signing with Bad Boy, to which he refused. Because of this, Pac felt that this was the reason he was setup in Quad Studios and why he was attacked. So in only made sense that he would want to sign with Suge Knight, a person that could offer a certain level of protection, especially with his ties to the Bloods. Tupac also believed that his close friend, Randy "Stretch" Walker, played a role in his ambush. So he wasn't trusting many people by the time he got out of prison. 2pac was a very smart man and we have to keep that in mind when we look at the events that unfolded in Las Vegas. I'm pretty sure he would have realized if Suge was his enemy at that point and wouldn't have been within 50 feet of him. While he may have made few mistakes here and there, we should give him a little credit when it comes to things like this.
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