Music history is littered with hugely talented artists who, for one reason or another, die far too early. Names like Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and Amy Winehouse evoke a certain sense of nostalgia that unfortunately ends in tragedy. Despite this, few iconic musicians have died under such controversial and mysterious circumstances than that of Tupac Shakur.
His murder is surrounded by uncooperative witnesses, dodgy police and the cloud of gang rivalry. The most prominent theory relates to an incident on the night of September 7, 1996, following the over-hyped boxing match between Bruce Sledon and Mike Tyson. After Tyson knocked Seldon out in round one, Tupac got into a fight himself with rival gang member Orlando ‘Baby Lane’ Anderson in the lobby of the luxurious casino MGM Grand. A massive beat down ensued and Tupac’s crew left the MGM for the clubs of Las Vegas. Merely hours later a supposed revenge attack was launched against Tupac and his cronies.
At about 11:15pm that night, a white Cadillac with an unknown number of occupants pulled up beside Tupac’s vehicle on Las Vegas Boulevard and opened fire. He was hit four times, sustaining serious injuries to his right lung and pelvis with one bullet even hitting his left testicle. Seven days later Tupac Shakur was declared dead after doctors and nurses failed to stop internal haemorrhaging.
Despite witnessing the murder, Tupac’s huge entourage, including his bodyguard who was also shot, refused to cooperate with the police investigation. Even Tupac himself reportedly responded to one police officer’s questions with “fuck you” before being induced into a coma.
Tupac Shakur’s murder remains unsolved but now some light may be shed on this event by one those men closest to him at the time. Gobi Rahimi directed and produced Tupac’s music videos while he was signed to Death Row Records, including the classics ‘Made Niggaz’ and ‘2 Live & Die in LA’. Now Rahimi has started a Kickstarter campaign called 7Dayz, which aims to produce a film about Tupac’s last days alive.
The film will draw from Rahimi’s personal experience standing guard over Tupac’s bedside during the seven days he spent in hospital and will concentrate on “…death threats, undercover FBI informants and an uncooperative Police Department.” If successfully funded, 7Dayz could provide a previously unseen insight into the events leading up to and following Tupac’s shooting.
Rahimi himself was waiting for Tupac at the infamous Club 662 when news of the shooting came through, and witnessed first hand the highly controversial police investigation that followed. Moreover, with the finger of blame being pointed at rival gangsta rapper The Notorious B.I.G and even far right organisation ‘the Jewish Defence League’, 7Dayz is sure to be full of that ‘who dun it’ speculation we all know and love.
Rahimi says 7Dayz will feature previously unreleased video footage of Tupac Shakur that was recorded in the weeks leading to his murder. Citing the loyalty Tupac showed for his family, friends and co-workers, Rahimi decided against selling this footage to highest bidder in favour of “finding an honest way to bring his [Tupac’s] legacy to life.” Better still, 7Dayz is hyped up as having direct relevance to current racial issues facing the US today with Rahimi saying “Tupac’s final week reflects all of the racism and inequality that Baltimore and the likes of Trayvon Martin have been victims to.”
How Rahimi intends to incorporate the current divisions between African-Americans and police into a film set in 1996 remains unclear but nonetheless, support for this campaign is growing.
Gobi Rahimi’s funding goal is US$300 000 and he needs every penny he can get. If you’re keen to see a film about Tupac Shakur’s final days alive, as well as some serious murder mystery shenanigans, head to Rahimi’s Kickstarter page and get involved. Either way, 20 years may have passed but Tupac Shakur’s death still stands as a watershed moment in rap history.
Words by Dominic Cansdale.