It’s one of the enduring mysteries of the hip hop world -– who shot Tupac Shakur in the lobby of Quad Studios in New York in November 1994, thus catalyzing the ongoing East/West feud that’d eventually leave both Shakur and East Coast rival Biggie Smalls dead? Shakur was robbed and then shot five times, but somehow survived –- in the aftermath of the shooting, he accused Sean “Puffy” Combs (aka Puff Daddy, aka P Diddy, aka etc etc) and his protégé Smalls of ordering the attack, leading to a cycle of recrimination and revenge that led to both rappers’ deaths. Whether Tupac’s accusations were founded or not has never been clear, but now the mystery may be solved –- according to hip hop website allhiphop.com, a gentleman named Dexter Isaac has apparently confessed to the shooting, and claimed he carried it out on the orders of record executive James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond. Read on for the gory details.
In a letter published by the website, Isaac -– who’s currently doing a life sentence for an unrelated murder, along with robbery, fraud and witness intimidation, which perhaps doesn’t speak volumes for his character –- claims that Rosemond paid him $2,500 for the shooting. He suggests that he’s come forward now because he’s discovered a) that Rosemond was a police informer and b) that Rosemond was accusing him of being an informant (not the best accusation to deal with inside prison, presumably) and c) that Rosemond had been saying nasty things about him in public.
The letter is intriguing for a couple of reasons. The first is that Isaac claims to have proof to support his accusations -– he says he still has a gold chain that he stole from Tupac on the night of the shooting. The second, and most potentially explosive, reason is that he also brings up Combs’ name. Isaac stops short of directly accusing Combs of being involved, but there’s certainly an implication he had something to do with the whole sordid business -– near the end of his missive, Isaac writes “[Rosemond] and Puffy like to come off all innocent-like, but as the saying goes, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” He goes on to ask Rosemond, “Are you going to flip on Puffy when the Feds get to you?”
Tupac certainly thought both Combs and Rosemond were involved in the shooting -– in a track called “Against All Odds” (released posthumously), he rapped, “Promised a payback, Jimmy Henchman, in due time” and promised “All out warfare, eye for eye” –- a promise that certainly came true, with disastrous results for all involved. None of this, of course, sheds any light on who actually killed him -– there’s no suggestion that Isaac had anything to do with the latter shooting, and there’s about a gazillion theories as to who was responsible (including at least one, posited in Randall Sullivan’s book LAbryrinth, that it was Tupac’s own record label boss Suge Knight who ordered his death). Isaac’s letter does, however, imply he knows more than he’s letting on: “I’m not going to talk about my friend Biggie’s death or 2Pac’s death … I will do so at a different time.”
Somewhat incongruously, his letter ends with an appeal: “If anyone has any questions … or just wants to be a friend to a real soldier fighting for his life in prison, feel free to write me.” We’ve got a feeling that the police may be doing just that –- and that maybe the world hasn’t seen the end of the whole Tupac/Biggie saga just yet.