Final Salvos

Date: 1996

Trajectory: To infinity and beyond

Choice or Circumstance: Choice

The Choice: Speaking his mind over holding his tongue

Complex says: Tupac Shakur’s accelerated productivity in the last year of his life meant that he left an enormous body of unreleased work in his wake. Combined with the prophetic nature of Tupac’s lyrics, his superhuman work-ethic seemed to some to be evidence of a supernatural immortality.

 
Combined with the prophetic nature of Tupac’s lyrics, his superhuman work-ethic seemed to be evidence of a supernatural immortality.
 

The last new track released before Tupac’s death, a b-side single called “Hit ‘Em Up,” was an unrelenting, curse-filled barrage against every perceived enemy — first and foremost The Notorious B.I.G. But it was the release rushed out just after Tupac’s death that made fans and foes alike prickle with mystery.

The Don Killuminati (The 7 Day Theory) was not technically a Tupac album, billed as it was to someone called Makaveli. But the artist was most definitely Tupac, and the lyrics so prescient and the presentation so eerie that many wondered whether Tupac had either predicted his own death, or faked it (as Makaveli’s namesake Prince Nicolo Machiavelli once councelled in his book, The Prince).

Old friends like Shock G of Digital Underground would later recount hearing Tupac play these tracks proudly, touting them as “my shit” in opposition to the recordings he was doing to fulfill his obligations to Suge Knight. The Makaveli album stands, perhaps, as Tupac’s greatest creative work, and its success paved the way for many posthumous releases and an perennial presence for the martyred rapper on the airwaves and in the ether.