Tupac Shakur

“I am society’s child. This is how they made me and now I’m sayin’ what’s on my mind and they don’t want that. This is what you made me, America.”

Even through generational divides, music remains an entity that is able to bridge gaps between race, age and gender. For one generation, “The Day That Music Died” brings back painful memories of the 1959 plane crash that killed The Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, and Ritchie Valens, now most commonly remembered via the film “La Bamba.”

For those that emerged during the infancy of Hip Hop, then still a relatively new and less socially accepted genre; the music died on a fall evening along the infamous Las Vegas strip, as Tupac Shakur was gunned down during the second attempt on his young life.

Though as we all know, unlike the Quad Studio attempt in 1994, he would not walk away in a blaze of glory. No there would be no happy ending to this hood tale; instead Shakur would be declared dead in a Las Vegas hospital on September 13, 1996 just 6 days after the attack. Forever changing the cultural and political landscape of the genre, as the media clamored to pump up and hype the alleged “East Coast/West Coast” beef things silently began to change within Hip Hop. The final nail in the era occurring with the death of former friend turned musical rival Biggie Smalls less than a year later.

It was then that shiny suits and catchy RnB hooks began to take over; easing industry tensions and effectively ending the West Coast’s powerful reign, as the Gangster Rap chapter launched by NWA, once known as “The World’s Most Dangerous Group” began to close.

Things changed. They had to. As Hip Hop began navigating into new territory, both feared and envied, into mainstream waters. Rappers aged, drug dealers went into legit businesses, and everyone began to grow up in a sense. Yet there was something else that changed that fateful day as well: Hip Hop gained it’s first official martyr.

Adding to this legacy are the recent admissions of Chris Carroll, one of the responding Sergeants on that fateful September evening.

As Shakur lay fighting for his life against the hail of bullets that had been fired in the vehicle occupied by Suge Knight and himself, Carroll’s attempted to ascertain something that had not been made clear during the first shooting either, who shot Pac?

According to Carroll, Shakur only had two words to say: “Fuck you.”

The rose that once grew from concrete, would now be returned to the earth.

Perhaps fully resigning himself to his fate, or merely holding onto his famed declaration of “Thug Life,” if nothing else the legend, and controversy, surrounding Shakur lives on.

Read Carroll’s account below:

“So I’m looking at Tupac, and he’s trying to yell back at Suge, and I’m asking him, ‘Who shot you? What happened? Who did it?’ And he was just kind of ignoring me. He was making eye contact with me here and there, but he’s trying to yell at Suge. And I kept asking over and over, ‘Who did this? Who shot you?’ And he basically kept ignoring me. And then I saw in his face, in his movements, all of a sudden in the snap of a finger, he changed. And he went from struggling to speak, being noncooperative, to an ‘I’m at peace’ type of thing. Just like that.

“He went from fighting to ‘I can’t do it.’ And when he made that transition, he looked at me, and he’s looking right in my eyes. And that’s when I looked at him and said one more time, ‘Who shot you?’

“He looked at me and he took a breath to get the words out, and he opened his mouth, and I thought I was actually going to get some cooperation. And then the words came out: ‘Fuck you.’

“After that, he started gurgling and slipping out of consciousness. At that point, an ambulance showed up, and he went into unconsciousness.

“As the paramedics loaded him up, more and more cops are showing up. The threat was gone, but we’re trying to find out what’s going on. It’s a complete mess. They started putting Tupac in the ambulance, so I grabbed one of the guys who worked for me and said, ‘Hop in the ambulance and ride with him, and don’t let him out of your sight at the hospital just in case he talks, just in case he says something, and maybe we can still get a dying declaration.’

“As soon as he got to the hospital, he went into surgery and was heavily sedated, and I guess he went into a coma and really never came out of that, until they took him off of life support. So that moment I talked to him was his last real living moment where he was speaking. I talked to the cop who rode in the ambulance with him. He said Tupac never came out of it, and he never said anything at the hospital. There was nothing else.”

Why is this coming out now, years after the case was deemed an unsolved homicide? Per Carroll, no one sought him out. Not the Shakur family, the officers investigating the case, no one. Could he even speak on it considering it was still an open case without being reprimanded? Not at all but now that he’s retired, everything is free to be spoken on.

One more nugget from him, just to complete the circle of Pac martyrdom, I didn’t want Tupac to be a martyr or hero because he told the cops ‘Fuck you.’ I didn’t want to give him that. I didn’t want people to say, ‘Even when the chips were down, his life on the line, he still said “Fuck you,” he still wouldn’t talk to the police.’ I didn’t want him to be a hero for that. And now enough time has passed, well, he’s a martyr anyway; he’s viewed as a hero anyway. My story, at this point, isn’t going to change any of that.”

Read the entire article over at Vegas Seven.