Trouble really began for Tupac after he was shot November 30th, 1994 at 12:20 a.m. It set the grounds for his beef with Biggie/Puffy and Badboy Records. He was shot 5 times in a recording studio in Times Square. There were many theories on this shooting. The media largely portrayed the shooting as a standard robbery, in which Tupac went for his gun, and was shot. According to Tupac however, the story runs a lot deeper.
According to Tupac the trouble began on the set of Above the Rim, where he met a guy named Nigel. Nigel introduced him to Trevor. Both were alleged Black Mafia members and were rumored to fund BadBoy Records. They took Tupac out, and according to Tupac made him ‘mature’. They wanted Tupac to join the BadBoy records label, however Tupac refused. This is rumored to be the a reason he was shot. Also, Tupac apparently dissed one of their friends, Jacques Agnant in an interview. This according to Tupac, may have been a reason why he was setup. It’s possible, however, that the setup was planned before the point in which Tupac had even met Nigel.
The song ‘Against All Odds’, in which Tupac states “Hoping my true motherf*ckers know, this be the truest sh*t I ever wrote” he makes several references to this setup. In reference to King Tut Tupac states, “Gun shots to Tut, now you stuck.” Whether related or not, King Tut was murdered after the shooting occurred. Tupac’s friend Stretch was later found murdered exactly 1 year to the day of this shooting. Tupac blamed Stretch for being involved in the setup. In ambitionz az a ridah he says, “Had b*tch a** ni**as on my team, so indeed they wet me up”. In Against All Odds he says “and to that n*gga that was down for me, rest his head, switched sides guess his new friends wanted him dead.” Tupac believed not only the shooting, but also the rape case was part of a setup.
The setup in the shooting seemed to run hand in hand with the rape case Tupac was going through at the time of the shooting. Click here for info on that case. The same cops who arrested Tupac in connection with the alleged rape, were the same cops who arrived on the scene when he was shot. Jacques Agnant aka Haitian Jack, who Tupac claimed was part of the situation in the alleged rape, got off extremely light while Tupac was sentenced to nearly 4 years in a maximum security prison. Tupac retaliated in “Against all Odds” on the Makaveli CD claiming that Jacques Agnant was a government informant “Same Crime, different trials n*gga picture what I said”. Agnant is suing Tupacs estate for in excess of $200 million because he says there’s been numerous attempts on his life and he can’t find work now.
This is where the beef between Tupac and Badboy originally began. The media as they apparently distorted the facts in this shooting, also mistrued the facts in this beef as they played into an Eastcoast/Westcoast war. Tupac never directly blamed Biggie or Puffy in the shooting, but they were his friends, and they never warned him. After he went to prison they never visited him. As Tupac said they ‘abandoned’ him and ‘tried to take his position’. While Tupac was in prison he said he thought about giving up rap all together. He said the reason he didn’t was the fact that they were trying to ‘dirty up his name and take away everything he’d worked for’.
Here’s an interview Tupac did about the shooting:
Can you take us back to that night at Quad Recording Studios in Times Square?
The night of the shooting? Sure. Ron G. is a DJ out here in New York. He’s, like, “Pac, I want you to come to my house and lay this rap down for my tapes.” I said, “All right, I’ll come for free.” So I went to his house-me, Stretch, and a couple other homeboys. After I laid the song, I got a page from this guy Booker, telling me he wanted me to rap on Little Shawn’s record. Now, this guy I was going to charge, because I could see that they was just using me, so I said, “All right, you give me seven G’s and I’ll do the song.” He said, “I’ve got the money. Come.” I stopped off to get some weed, and he paged me again. “Where you at? Why you ain’t coming?” I’m, like, “I’m coming, man, hold on.”
Did you know this guy?
I met him through some rough characters I knew. He was trying to get legitimate and all that, so I thought I was doing him a favor. But when I called him back for directions, he was, like, “I don’t have the money.” I said, “If you don’t have the money, I’m not coming.” He hung up the phone, then called me back: “I’m going to call [Uptown Entertainment CEO] Andre Harrell and make sure you get the money, but I’m going to give you the money out of my pocket.” So I said, “All right, I’m on my way.” As we’re walking up to the building, somebody screamed from up the top of the studio. It was Little Caesar, Biggie’s [the Notorious B.I.G.] sideman. That’s my homeboy. As soon as I saw him, all my concerns about the situation were relaxed.
So you’re saying that going into it…
I felt nervous because this guy knew somebody I had major beef with. I didn’t want to tell the police, but I can tell the world. Nigel had introduced me to Booker. Everybody knew I was short on money. All my shows were getting canceled. All my money from my records was going to lawyers; all the movie money was going to my family. So I was doing this type of stuff, rapping for guys and getting paid.
Who’s this guy Nigel?
I was kicking it with him the whole time I was in New York doing Above the Rim. He came to me. He said, “I’m going to look after you. You don’t need to get in no more trouble.”
Doesn’t Nigel also go by the name of Trevor?
Right. There’s a real Trevor, but Nigel took on both aliases, you understand? So that’s who I was kicking with-I got close to them. I used to dress in baggies and sneakers. They took me shopping; that’s when I bought my Rolex and all my jewels. They made me mature. They introduced me to all these gangsters in Brooklyn. I met Nigel’s family, went to his kid’s birthday party-I trusted him, you know what I’m saying? I even tried to get Nigel in the movie, but he didn’t want to be on film. That bothered me. I don’t know any ni**a that didn’t want to be in the movies.
Can we come back to the shooting? Who was with you that night?
I was with my homeboy Stretch, his man Fred, and my sister’s boyfriend, Zayd. Not my bodyguard; I don’t have a bodyguard. We get to the studio, and there’s a dude outside in army fatigues with his hat low on his face. When we walked to the door, he didn’t look up. I’ve never seen a black man not acknowledge me one way or the other, either with jealousy or respect. But this guy just looked to see who I was and turned his face down. It didn’t click because I had just finished smoking chronic. I’m not thinking something will happen to me in the lobby. While we’re waiting to get buzzed in, I saw a dude sitting at a table reading a newspaper. He didn’t look up either.
These are both black men?
Black men in their thirties. So first I’m, like, These dudes must be security for Biggie, because I could tell they were from Brooklyn from their army fatigues. But then I said, Wait a minute. Even Biggie’s homeboys love me, why don’t they look up? I pressed the elevator button, turned around, and that’s when the dudes came out with the guns-two identical 9 mms. “Don’t nobody move. Everybody on the floor. You know what time it is. Run your sh*t.” I was, like, What should I do? I’m thinking Stretch is going to fight; he was towering over those ni**as. From what I know about the criminal element, if ni**as come to rob you, they always hit the big ni**a first. But they didn’t touch Stretch; they came straight to me. Everybody dropped to the floor like potatoes, but I just froze up. It wasn’t like I was being brave or nothing; I just could not get on the floor. They started grabbing at me to see if I was strapped. They said, “Take off your jewels,” and I wouldn’t take them off. The light-skinned dude, the one that was standing outside, was on me. Stretch was on the floor, and the dude with the newspaper was holding the gun on him. He was telling the light-skin dude, “Shoot that motherf*cker! f*ck it!” Then I got scared, because the dude had the gun to my stomach. All I could think about was piss bags and sh*t bags. I drew my arm around him to move the gun to my side. He shot and the gun twisted and that’s when I got hit the first time. I felt it in my leg; I didn’t know I got shot in my balls. I dropped to the floor. Everything in my mind said, Pac, pretend you’re dead. It didn’t matter. They started kicking me, hitting me. I never said, “Don’t shoot!” I was quiet as hell. They were snatching my sh*t off me while I was laying on the floor. I had my eyes closed, but I was shaking, because the situation had me shaking. And then I felt something on the back of my head, something real strong. I thought they stomped me or pistol-whipped me and they were stomping my head against the concrete. I saw white, just white. I didn’t hear nothing, I didn’t feel nothing, and I said, I’m unconscious. But I was conscious. And then I felt it again, and I could hear things now and I could see things and they were bringing me back to consciousness. Then they did it again, and I couldn’t hear nothing. And I couldn’t see nothing; it was just all white. And then they hit me again, and I could hear things and I could see things and I knew I was conscious again.
Did you ever hear them say their names?
No. No. But they knew me, or else they would never check for my gun. It was like they were mad at me. I felt them kicking me and stomping me; they didn’t hit nobody else. It was, like, “Ooh, motherf*cker, ooh, aah”-they were kicking hard. So I’m going unconscious, and I’m not feeling no blood on my head or nothing. The only thing I felt was my stomach hurting real bad. My sister’s boyfriend turned me over and said, “Yo, are you all right?” I was, like, “Yes, I’m hit, I’m hit.” And Fred is saying he’s hit, but that was the bullet that went through my leg. So I stood up and I went to the door and-the sh*t that f*cked me up-as soon as I got to the door, I saw a police car sitting there. I was, like, “Uh-oh, the police are coming, and I didn’t even go upstairs yet.” So we jumped in the elevator and went upstairs. I’m limping and everything, but I don’t feel nothing. It’s numb. When we got upstairs, I looked around, and it scared the sh*t out of me.
Because Andre Harrell was there, Puffy [Bad Boy Entertainment CEO Sean “Puffy” Combs] was there, Biggie… there was about 40 ni**as there. All of them had jewels on. More jewels than me. I saw Booker, and he had this look on his face like he was surprised to see me. Why? I had just beeped the buzzer and said I was coming upstairs. Little Shawn bust out crying. I went, Why is Little Shawn crying, and I got shot? He was crying uncontrollably, like, “Oh my God, Pac, you’ve got to sit down!” I was feeling weird, like, Why do they want to make me sit down?
Because five bullets had passed through your body.
I didn’t know I was shot in the head yet. I didn’t feel nothing. I opened my pants, and I could see the gunpowder and the hole in my Karl Kani drawers. I didn’t want to pull them down to see if my dick was still there. I just saw a hole and went, “Oh sh*t. Roll me some weed.” I called my girlfriend and I was, like, “Yo, I just got shot. Call my mother and tell her.” Nobody approached me. I noticed that nobody would look at me. Andre Harrell wouldn’t look at me. I had been going to dinner with him the last few days. He had invited me to the set of New York Undercover, telling me he was going to get me a job. Puffy was standing back too. I knew Puffy. He knew how much stuff I had done for Biggie before he came out.
People did see blood on you?
They started telling me, “Your head! Your head is bleeding.” But I thought it was just a pistol-whip. Then the ambulance came, and the police. First cop I looked up to see was the cop that took the stand against me in the rape charge. He had a half smile on his face, and he could see them looking at my balls. He said, “What’s up, Tupac? How’s it hanging?”
When I got to Bellevue Hospital, the doctor was going, “Oh my God!” I was, like, “What? What?” And I was hearing him tell other doctors, “Look at this. This is gunpowder right here.” He was talking about my head: “This is the entry wound. This is the exit wound.” And when he did that, I could actually feel the holes. I said, “Oh my God. I could feel that.” It was the spots that I was blacking out on. And that’s when I said, “Oh sh*t. They shot me in my head.” They said, “You don’t know how lucky you are. You got shot five times.” It was, like, weird. I did not want to believe it. I could only remember that first shot, then everything went blank.
At any point did you think you were going to die?
No. I swear to God. Not to sound creepy or nothing-I felt God cared for me from the first time the ni**as pulled the gun out. The only thing that hurt me was that Stretch and them all fell to the floor. The bullets didn’t hurt. Nothing hurt until I was recovering. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t get up, and my hand was f*cked up. I was looking on the news and it was lying about me.
Tell me about some of the coverage that bothered you.
The No. 1 thing that bothered me was that dude that wrote that sh*t that said I pretended to do it. That I had set it up, it was an act. When I read that, I just started crying like a baby, like a b*tch. I could not believe it. It just tore me apart. And then the news was trying to say I had a gun and I had weed on me. Instead of saying I was a victim, they were making it like I did it.
What about all the jokes saying you had lost one of your testicles?
That didn’t really bother me, because I was, like, sh*t, I’m going to get the last laugh. Because I’ve got bigger nuts than all these ni**as. My doctors are, like, “You can have babies.” They told me that the first night, after I got exploratory surgery: “Nothing’s wrong. It went through the skin and out the skin.” Same thing with my head. Through my skin and out the skin.
Have you had a lot of pain since then?
Yes, I have headaches. I wake up screaming. I’ve been having nightmares, thinking they’re still shooting me. All I see is ni**as pulling guns, and I hear the dude saying, “Shoot that motherf*cker!” Then I’ll wake up sweaty as hell and I’ll be, like, Damn, I have a headache. The psychiatrist at Bellevue said that’s post-traumatic stress.
Why did you leave Bellevue Hospital?
I left Bellevue the next night. They were helping me, but I felt like a science project. They kept coming in, looking at my dick and sh*t, and this was not a cool position to be in. I knew my life was in danger. The Fruit of Islam was there, but they didn’t have guns. I knew what type of ni**as I was dealing with.
So I left Bellevue and went to Metropolitan. They gave me a phone and said, “You’re safe here. Nobody knows you’re here.” But the phone would ring and someone would say, “You ain’t dead yet?” I was, like, Damn! Those motherf*ckers don’t have no mercy. So I checked myself out, and my family took me to a safe spot, somebody who really cared about me in New York City.
Interview was taken with Vibe Magazine.
Songs where Tupac made the most reference to this shooting are Ambitionz az a Ridah and Against All Odds. Listen to the songs carefully and try to figure out what each line means. Like Tupac said, “Study your Lessons”. “I have a feeling what’s down in the dark will come to light.” I’d be surprised if Tupac didn’t have more blatant unreleased songs that he wanted held until after his death.