It's been 20 years since rapper Tupac Shakur died from injuries sustained when he was shot in a drive-by shooting, and yet, conspiracy theories surrounding Tupac's death are still just as prominent as ever. Since his murder has never been solved, a killer has never been named, and there is a laundry list of seemingly inexplicable and contradicting events that took place on the night of the shooting, exactly what happened that night in September 1996 (and since his death) is still the source of conspiracy for many.
Of course, pop culture is filled with conspiracy theories — everything from Elvis Presley secretly living in Las Vegas to Jay Z and Beyoncé's involvement in the Illuminati — and the ones surrounding Tupac are just as strange and bizarre as the others, and scariest of all, they're maybe even believable. Popular conspiracies include the notion that he's still alive (and faked his own death), he predicted his demise (and included not-so-hidden messages in his lyrics), and that he's living in Cuba somewhere with his aunt. That all being said, the whole "abducted by aliens" theory is one that still exists, so there's that, too.
Read on to see some of the wildest conspiracy theories about Tupac's death.
1. He Faked His Own Death
Perhaps the most common Tupac conspiracy theory is that he faked his own death and is still alive, perhaps inspired by his interest with Machiavelli, a historical Italian thinker who advocated for that exactly (more on that further down below). In September 2015, a police officer came forward while on his deathbed and claimed to The Mirror in an elaborate story that he assisted the rapper in faking his own death.
2. He Is Living In Cuba
According to Gawker's deep dive into this theory, Tupac is believed by some to have fled to Cuba to live with his aunt Assata Shakur, who went to go live in the country after she was convicted of murder. (According to the New York Times article from the time of the trial, Assata said after the conviction, "“You have convicted a woman who had her hands in the air."
3. His Music Contained Hidden Messages
Just a few months after his death, Richie Rich released the track "N*ggaz Done Changed," which features Tupac rapping the lyrics: "I’ve been shot and murdered, can’t tell you how it happened word for word but best believe that n*ggas gonna get what they deserve."
And on "Ain't Hard To Find," he raps: "I heard rumors 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."
4. He Was Abducted By Aliens
This one is pretty Twilight Zone-y, so here goes: According to Vh1, one theory is that "aliens from the planet YILAMHAR used their powers to setup what only appeared to be Tupac’s murder. Instead Pac was abducted and offered the opportunity to live on their planet for 100 years, where he would continue to make music." In exchange for the years in outer space, "2Pac would be guaranteed eternal life on Earth." Yeah...
5. His Obsession With Machiavelli
Tupac's alternate stage name was Makaveli, an reference to Niccolo Machiavelli, who, as mentioned above, was an historian and philosopher from the Italian Renaissance who was all about faking your own death, according to SF Gate. The site also points out that the art for one of the rapper's album features the phrase, "Exit Tupac, Enter Makaveli." And to really stretch the whole theory, "Makaveli" is obviously an anagram for "AM ALIVE K." Duh.
6. There's Drama Surrounding His Cremation
Whatever happened to Tupac's body? Suge Knight claimed in 2012 that he paid a cremator $3 million to cremate the rapper's body, but the man was never heard from again.
"The person who supposedly cremated Tupac ... this guy got about 3 million dollars .. personally from me ... cash ... and next thing I know I never heard from the guy or seen him again," the rapper said (according to TMZ). "He retired and left." Mysterious.
7. The Government Helped Tupac Fake His Death
In keeping with the whole "faking his death thing," for years people believed that Tupac had entered the witness protection program with help from the CIA. The CIA has (hilariously) since denied this on Twitter.
8. Tupac Would Return In 7 Years
For Tupac conspiracy theorists, the number seven has an important meaning for a list of reasons you can read about here, which prompted people to believe that he'd return seven years after his death. This one is included because of it's popularity, but 20 years later, it did prove to be false.
Even though theories like the seven years conspiracy have already proven false, one thing's for sure, these Tupac conspiracies are going to continue on for years to come.