In American Dream/American Knightmare, a new documentary airing on Showtime Dec. 21, filmmaker Antoine Fuqua conducted several exclusive interviews with Marion “Suge” Knight from Dec. 2011 to Nov. 2012. And the intimate conversations between the Training Day director and the co-founder and ex-CEO of Death Row Records offers plenty of eye-opening revelations—the most notable being that, according to Suge, rapper Tupac Shakur spoke about faking his own death.
“Tupac is still alive” is a conspiracy theory that has, of course, circulated quite frequently in the years since the legendary rapper was gunned down in 1996 on the Las Vegas Strip. Every few months, there’s a “sighting” of Tupac somewhere in Malaysia, or Hawaii, or Mexico, you name it. Much of the speculation has been fueled by Suge who, when asked if Tupac is still alive in an interview last year, replied, “With Pac you never know.” And Suge’s son recently poured fuel on the fire, posting (and deleting) several Instagrams in October alleging that Tupac is still alive and kicking.
According to Suge, shortly after he posted Tupac’s $1.4 million bail, sprung the artist from jail and signed him to Death Row, the crew took a trip to Maui, Hawaii. And Tupac couldn’t have been happier. “We was in Maui, you know what I mean, and Pac had, like, never been to Maui,” Suge tells Fuqua. “And he get to talking about faking his own death. And Pac was more down for doing, like, the… the… the last little videos and shit of him dying all in the white, you know what I’m sayin’, with Redd Foxx and everybody like that.”
The music video Suge’s referring to is “I Ain’t Mad At Cha,” which was recorded just weeks before Tupac’s death, and sees the legendary MC shot whilst in a white suit, enter Heaven, and then return to Earth as a spirit-guide.
Suge says that, unlike other videos, Tupac acted differently with this one. “He was cussin’ everybody out. With this particular video, he was like, man, what’s up, right?” he explains. “And I felt like, he talkin’ about this shit, and our dreams and our future is built together because we plannin’ on doing, so if you talkin’ about not bein’ here, losing your life, and doin’ all these muthafuckin’ videos where you dead and shit, I’m like, shit… if somethin’ really happen to you, nigga, I ain’t gonna be that muthafucka there with tears in my muthafuckin’ eyes, I’m gonna be that muthafucka like, shit, still pushin’ for you.”
Of course, it should be noted that Suge has a history of making outrageous claims. During a 2003 interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, he said that rapper Eazy-E was assassinated and injected with AIDS; and on Howard Stern, he said that Tupac once confronted Dr. Dre about his sexuality, calling him a bunch of homophobic slurs.