Is Tupac Shakur Still Alive?

Tupac Amaru Shakur, aka 2Pac, was murdered in 1996 at the tender age of 25. Whereas his death was shocking and to many of us painful even, it wasn’t necessarily surprising since he was openly engaged in a lifestyle that courted gun violence.

Indeed, rap music in and of itself has become a pretty-dangerous endeavor, and there are a number of notable rappers, such as the Notorious B.I.G., Jam Master Jay and Takeoff, who have since also died by the gun. 

But Shakur’s untimely death remains arguably the most notable. For instance, he was not only in his musical prime but also an artist very much on the rise when he was taken away. Monetarily, Pac was worth about $200,000 (primarily due to debt and lack of investments) at the time of his death. But compare that to now, nearly 30 years later, with some estimates placing the value of his estate at over $100,000,000.

Also, his murder was probably the most pertinent in the history of the genre because his artistry exceeded the boundaries of gangsta rap. That is to say that Tupac also dropped songs of genuine cultural value, especially in regards to the inner-city African-American community. 

That is why, with his murder remaining unsolved to this day, some theorists even speculate that the US government itself, which has a history of negativity towards Black leaders, ordered the killing.

But what we’re rather here to talk about today are those persistent conspiracy theories that Shakur is still alive. These have actually been around since his passing. 

All things considered perhaps such is to be expected, as it seems the public sometimes has a difficult time accepting the deaths of celebrities and iconic musicians in particular. But beyond that, Tupac had viable reasons to want to disappear and furthermore, as illustrated above, the financial means to do so.


For example on 7 September 1996, the very night that he was shot, Tupac, Suge Knight and a number of their Death Row cronies jumped and beat up one Orlando Anderson (1974-1998). That assault, which Tupac initiated, was caught on camera for the entire world to see. 

Meanwhile, Pac had gotten out of prison less than a year earlier and was therefore on probation, besides dealing with a number of other legal cases and issues, including a probation violation

So it has been logically put forth that if Pac would have survived the shooting or had not had been shot at all, he was definitely on his way back to jail for initiating the beatdown of Anderson. So in light of that fact, that’s one of the reasons that some people believe Shakur may have been compelled to fake his own death, so that he would not be re-incarcerated. And to note, that selfsame Orlando Anderson more or less remains the main suspect in Shakur’s murder to this day.


Less than two months after Tupac was murdered, Death Row Records released The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (1996), also known as “Makaveli”, i.e. the first of Shakur’s posthumous albums. The cover art depicts the rapper imitating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, a historical figure who is reputed to have risen from the dead. 


Besides that, conspiracy theorists have pointed out that the letters of “Makaveli” – which is a homonym alluding to 15th century politician Niccolo Machiavelli, could be rearranged to spell out “Am Alive K”

And it has also been put forth that Niccolo Machiavelli himself was someone who advocated faking one’s own death (or more specifically, it would seem, that of an enemy), and that was why Tupac adopted such a stage name, to hint at his own intention to do so.


Tupac officially passed away on 13 September 1996. The following day, on September 14th, his employer and homey Suge Knight, who was CEO of the lucrative Death Row Records at the time, had Shakur’s body cremated. 

Reportedly, Suge paid a whopping $3,000,000 to have Pac’s body instantly turned to ash. And to further note, Knight was with Tupac when he was shot, even taking a couple of bullets himself in the process.

But going back to the cremation, in the aftermath Shakur’s musical sidekicks, the Outlaw Immortalz, took some of the ashes, rolled it with marijuana and smoked away as a tribute to the rapper. That’s a helluva cool story in and of itself, though one made more compelling by counter reports that have arisen since.

For instance Michael Nice, one of Tupac’s former security guards, publicly claimed that the person who was cremated in Shakur’s stead was actually a body double, with Nice going on to further imply that he was personally involved in faking the rapper’s death. 

And to prove that such was actually feasible, i.e. a person being able to fool the world into believing they had passed away, a couple of years after making those claims Nice faked his own demise just to prove the point.

Furthermore, there have been some issues with official carrying out of the cremation itself. For example, Shakur’s social security number was not registered in the process, as in protocol. Furthermore, there have been some discrepancies concerning the recording of his height and weight at the time. There’s also a picture of Tupac’s body, during its autopsy, which hit circulation, but some people have argued that it’s not actually him in the pic.

With that in mind, also perhaps worth noting is that Shakur never had a public funeral, as is usually standard for the likes of rappers. There were a couple of memorial services scheduled in his honor, one in Atlanta and the other in Pac’s base city of Los Angeles, but both were canceled. Rather, his family held a private funeral service.


What Michael Nice has further argued, as has the likes of Too Short, a prominent West Coast rapper, is that 2Pac faked his own death, left the United States altogether and decided to settle down in nearby Cuba. This theory is both plausible and interesting for a couple of reasons.

For starters, his birth name was not Tupac Amaru Shakur. That name was given to him shortly afterward by his mother, Afeni Shakur (1947-2016) who later decided to name her son after Tupac Amaru II, a historical figure who is considered to be perhaps the most iconic freedom fighter in Latin America’s history.

Afeni possessed such an inclination because she herself was down with the Black Panther Party (BPP), an African-American political organization which embraces revolutionary ideologies, as was his dad, Billy Garland. 

Most members of the Black Panthers are well-versed in revolutionary jargon but for the most part live as law-abiding citizens. Such apparently was not the case with Afeni, who was so deeply involved in the movement during its peak era that she was part of the Panther 21, i.e. a famous trial that took place in the early 1970s where Shakur and 20 other Panthers were accused of plotting to attack a couple of New York City police stations.  She was ultimately acquitted but did spend a couple of years in detention, concurrently being pregnant with Tupac.

Meanwhile Tupac’s godmother, Assata Shakur, also briefly ran with the BPP but later joined the more radical Black Liberation Army (BLA). In 1977, Assata was convicted of murdering a State Trooper.  Shortly thereafter she was broken out of prison by other members of the BLA and moved to Cuba, where she was granted political asylum and remains to this day, as a fugitive from US justice

To note, neither Afeni nor Assata were born with the surname “Shakur”. But like Tupac, they embraced it as being symbolic of their counterculturalism and undying belief in Black liberation.

So with all of that being said, the reason many people believe that 2Pac fled to Cuba is because he knew that’s a place where he would be rightfully received, with his well-known and heavily-respected godmother already being there. 

Or viewed from a different angle, it would have been wiser for him to fake his death and bounce then it would have been for Shakur to be re-arrested after further violating his parole and then trying to escape.


During an interview which took place in 2017, Suge Knight, who was incarcerated at the time (and still is as of this writing), implied that Tupac may still be alive, i.e. that he wasn’t really sure if he’s dead or not.  Making such an implication contradicts some actions that Suge took in the past, such as claiming that he was aware of who took Shakur’s life. 

But that said, by insinuating that he, who was as close to the whole ordeal as anyone, could not personally verify the rapper’s passing, Knight threw fuel on the fire of the belief that Pac lived beyond his official date of death.

It has also been reported that one of Suge’s sons, apparently Suge Jacob Knight, has stated that Shakur is in fact alive and kicking, albeit in Malaysia. Besides Cuba, it is widely believed by many that Malaysia may be the country that 2Pac settled in, perhaps more recently in the 21st century after leaving the Western Hemisphere altogether. 


One of the problems with doing this type of research is that it requires wading through a lot of flimsy information, unsubstantiated evidence and quite a few reports which may ultimately be defined as clickbait or sensationalism. 

For example, there are videos out there which, according to their own headlines, prove that Tupac lived beyond 1996. Moreover, even the likes of TMZ posted an article as recently as 2009 which reportedly features a fresh picture of the supposedly-slain rapper.  But such reports are almost like the endless search for Bigfoot. 

That is to say that the imagery is always suspect or grainy, even in this day and age of superior photo technology and with every Tim, Dick and Harry carrying around a camera.

This reality is in part founded in the fact that many of the people who claim Tupac is alive actually want to believe that he is, sorta like Elvis, if you will. The passing of Shakur was a hard pill to swallow for many of his fans, even though we, as well as Tupac himself, all knew that he was living that life. Unlike other murdered rappers, Pac was considered a hero, akin to a champion of the people.  And even now up until now, no rapper has been able to take his place in that regard.


But at the end of the day, we cannot definitively say whether or not 2Pac is dead or if he actually died in 1996.  All things considered, the most viable piece of evidence we have that Shakur did indeed pass away in 1996 was when his own mother, the aforementioned Afeni Shakur, positively identified her son’s body on September 13th of that year. 

But now, with Suge Knight more recently suggesting that Pac may be alive, on top of all of the ‘evidence’ that has emerged throughout the years in that regard, rumors of him living in some remote part of the world will likely persist into the foreseeable future, perhaps until an elder Tupac himself one day emerges from Cuba or Malaysia.

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