A few days ago, the news of the arrest of a former gang leader implicated in the 1996 death of rapper Tupac generated a great deal of interest. Almost 30 years after his murder, the mystery surrounding him remains almost incomplete.
The police knew of the involvement of the suspect, who had published his memoirs and given several interviews explaining his role in the case, as reminded by Mike Dorsey, who directed a documentary on Tupac’s death.
“So when ‘Murder Rap’ came out in 2015, all that he had was his proffer statement, the recording of that which we already knew law enforcement could not use against him. So there needed to be something new that was going to come out after ‘Murder Rap’ in order for them to have a reason to reopen the case. And that new thing happened in 2018 when for some reason Keffe agreed to be interviewed for ‘Death Row Chronicles’ series on BET, and he talked about the case and his alleged involvement in the shooting. And from that point on, they reopened the case. They reopened the case that summer, you know, within a few weeks of meeting with me,” says Mike Dorsey.
Tupac’s murder, a West Coast native, was followed six months later by that of his East Coast rival, rapper Notorious BIG. He was about to celebrate his 25th birthday.
“I would think that it might get the public to be like, okay, we solved Tupac. Now why is Biggie still officially still unsolved? That doesn’t make any sense. I do think that Biggie’s case is just a harder case than the Tupac one. Just because it was – the Biggie murder was kept much closer to the chest. I think it involved way fewer people. And those people did not go all over Compton bragging that they had done it, which is what the Crips did after Tupac was killed,” adds Dorsey.
Many have linked the two men’s deaths to the rivalry between their music labels, one based in Los Angeles and the other in New York. But some music historians claim that this opposition was amplified for commercial reasons.
“I believe that Biggie was killed in revenge for Tupac’s murder. So it’s related in that way. And that does tell you who maybe the potential suspects are who would want to get revenge for Tupac’s murder. Kind of tells you who was probably behind Biggie’s, but I still don’t know if Tupac’s murder case being closed helps close Biggie’s case,” explains the director.
Now 60, Duane Davis was in the car from which the bullets that killed Tupac were fired. Although he was not the person who fired the shots, under American law, his indirect role does not prevent him from being charged with murder.