Lauren Reid Headshot

Tupac Shakur took over the rap scene in 1991. While studying at the Baltimore School of Arts in Baltimore, Maryland, his good friend was shot when playing with a gun. The incident birthed Tupac’s rap journey. From joining a rap group to going solo, Tupac rose to the top quickly. He even dabbled in the film industry.

On Sept. 7, 1996, Tupac was shot multiple times in a drive by shooting. He died 6 days later, on Sept. 13, due to gunshot wound complications. His death happened in the prime of his career. His death, although, didn’t cut things short. Tupac’s fame seemed to grow more in the afterlife. At least five additional albums were released, organizations were funded, documentaries were filmed, tributes were given and seven of Tupac’s 11 albums went platinum. A hologram of the rapper was created and even made appearances in other rapper’s music videos. To this day, it’s as if America still can’t let the beloved legend go.

The idea that Tupac is still alive has been around since his announced death. The time gap between when Tupac was shot versus when he “died” is the backbone of this theory.

It’s well known that when celebrities or artists die, they gain more fame and fortune than when they were alive — exactly what happened to Tupac. The theory is that this was the plan all along. He didn’t die from gunshot wounds, but instead escaped to Cuba and has been in hiding ever since, all the while soaking in the fortune that is oozing from his greater fame.

There’s also a rumor that Tupac heard of his assassination plan, and switched with a body double. He flew out of the area in a helicopter and is residing in New Mexico. The Shakur family is aware of a documentary coming out from this conspiracy theory and seems okay with it. Their response has caused some to believe that it speaks for itself: His family is in on his hiding.

Some believers have dissected his lyrical creativity in his music, finding hidden messages and clues. For instance, in “I Ain’t Hard to Find,” Pac raps, "I heard rumors I died / murdered in cold blood, dramatized / pictures of me in my final state / you know momma cried / but that was fiction / some coward got the story twisted." To me, this sounds like he’s blatantly telling listeners that he really is still alive.

Some of Tupac’s friends have even caused people to believe he’s alive. Death Row CEO, Suge Knight, even said in an interview that with Pac, you “never know.” Knight’s son also claims Tupac is living in Malaysia, working on new music. I mean, do we really know that it was a hologram in Snoop Dog’s music video, or could it really be his good friend?

I’m not sure which theory I believe explains how Tupac is alive, but I definitely think he is. The evidence is all in front of us. His friends and family have indicated the possibility, his music has given us hints and there have been numerous reported sightings all over the internet. To those who can claim that they’re photoshopped sightings, I thought of this too, but our quality of media compared to the media that was around when Tupac had reportedly passed are extremely different. I think it would be difficult to try to get the two to match enough to look photoshopped.

I definitely think Tupac is off in a foreign country, living peacefully and enjoying life. I also think it’s possible he isn’t the only celebrity to have pulled this off, but that’s for another time.

Rumor has it ... Tupac’s laughing at us all.

Lauren Reid is a senior at UT this year majoring in journalism. She can be reached at lreid9@vols.utk.edu.

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