Tupac Shakur died 23 years ago today after bullets from a drive-by shooting struck him four times on Sept. 7, 1996, as he and Suge Knight drove from a boxing match in Las Vegas. By Sept. 13, the rapper who spawned hits like “I Get Around, ” “Keep Ya Head Up” and “Dear Mama” was dead. While Pac isn’t here in the present, there are noteworthy things about the star that arose before and after his death.
Below are five facts you might not know about the rapper, actor and legend.
He’s Why Jada Pinkett Smith Launched Her Movie Career
It’s well known that Jada Pinkett Smith had a close relationship with Tupac, but he was actually behind the actress kick-starting her film career with 1993’s “Menace II Society.” Tupac originally had been cast in the movie and encouraged her to go out for a role in it.
“Pac was like, ‘You have to do the movie. This is gonna be great for your career.’ So I did and he was right. Because from then on, I had a movie career,” the actress told Vanity Fair.
An Oscar-nominated Documentary Told In His Own Words
“Tupac: Resurrection” is a documentary released in theaters on Nov. 14, 2003, after it bowed at the Sundance Film Festival earlier that year. Narrated in his own voice, the doc was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary for 2005.
A Top Earner Nearly a Decade After He Passed Away
In 2002, Forbes included Pac in its list of the top-earning deceased stars. The late rapper’s estate made about $7 million that year. Additionally, after 2Pac was murdered, he went on to release more albums as a legend than he did in his lifetime. It was reported that the icon sold $2.7 million albums in 2001 alone.
His Life Could Have Ended Two Years Earlier
In a 2011 confessional letter, Brooklyn, New York, inmate Dexter Isaac claimed he was hired by a hip-hop mogul to rob Pac in 1994. The armed robbery, in which Pac was shot five times including twice in the head, could have resulted in the rapper dying two years earlier than he ultimately did. Isaac wrote James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond put him up to rob Tupac outside Quad Studio in New York.
“He gave me $2,500, plus all the jewelry I took, except for one ring, which he wanted for himself. It was the biggest of the two diamond rings that we took. … I still have as proof the chain that we took that night in the robbery,” read the statement from the man serving a life sentence that was issued to AllHipHop.com.
Quincy Jones’ Daughter Was Reportedly the Last to See Him Alive
Pac had a relationship with one of hitmaker Quincy Jones’ daughters and it got so serious that they wound up engaged. Kidada Jones was even reportedly the last person to speak with the famed rapper before he died in the hospital.
“Tupac, do you hear me?” Jones said, according to a 1997 article in Vanity Fair, which said Pac seemed to nod. He reportedly responded by rustling his feet and later offering a faint nod when his fiancée asked, “If you can hear me, move your feet. … Do you know I love you? Do you know we all love you?”
He later slipped into a coma and died.