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#66: how long will they mourn me?
the '96 streets are alive in 2023
happy fall y’all! summer came and went. now we are officially in my favorite season of the year. fall brings the best fashions and cozy foods + beverages.
this October is full of celebrations. while bracing for the 31 fast-paced days ahead of me, I look forward to connecting and reconnecting with some of my favorite people.
but today … today we are revisiting that dreadful night of September 7, 1996.
so unless you’ve been living under a rock [or locked into the new #loveisblind season - Lydia … y’all!!] for the last few days, you’ve heard there’s been an arrest in one of the most high-profile unsolved murders this country has seen … the murder of Tupac Shakur.
on Friday, September 29, 2023, 27 years and 22 days after the shooting, a man by the name of Duane ‘Keefe D’ Davis was arrested in the murder of one of the greatest rappers of all time.
but buddy been talking with his chest for a very long time, and it looks like it finally caught up with him.
I’ve always believed two things:
everyone knows who shot Pac
he is still alive … Tupac that is
the latter is definitely a conspiracy theory but at one point wasn’t farfetched. as years and decades have passed, Tupac sightings have rapidly declined. the idea that he still hiding out in Cuba [y’all remember that one] has vanished into thin air. similar to how we thought his shooter did.
and now here we are, in the present day. still trying to figure out what the hell happened to your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper’s favorite rapper.
several media outlets told us a story that a handful of law enforcement knew to be true decades ago, but no one seemed to believe.
“It’s so long overdue,” Greg Kading, retired LAPD, told The Associated Press during a recent interview. “People have been yearning for him to be arrested for a long time. It’s never been unsolved in our minds. It’s been unprosecuted.”
Rolling Stone shared an excerpt from Keefe D’s 2019 big dummy book, Compton Street Legend. I’m adding my commentary on the article and book excerpt for the rest of lunch today because that is just what we do.
note: my comments will be in bullet form, and big dummy’s words will be italicized.
“When conversations would come up about a million dollar bounty on the heads of Suge Knight and Tupac Shakur, that was business,” Davis wrote in his book. “But after Tupac, Suge and them Death Row niggas jumped on my nephew Baby Lane, the shit became ominously personal.” (Davis has also claimed an alleged $1 million bounty on Knight and Shakur put out by Sean Combs as motivation; Combs, years later, called the bounty rumors “pure fiction and completely ridiculous.”)
we all know Puffy cries wolf on everything between ‘96-’97. there is some absolute truth to these allegations, but the truth will never see the light. everyone else that can tell parts of the story is dead.
… he and his crew waited outside Club 662, but as time passed and Shakur and Death Row didn’t leave the nightclub, Davis’ crew instead made a “pit stop at the Liquor Barn” on their way to another club called the Carriage House. It was on the way there that they caught sight of Shakur waving at fans out of the window of his BMW.
“In unison all of our heads turned, ‘There them motherfuckers go right there.’ If Pac had not been hanging out of the window, we would have never seen them,” Davis wrote.
I used to say that if only he hadn’t beat buddy down in the casino, he might have lived longer. but reading “if he had not been hanging out the window” makes me think …
I don’t know if Pac would have made it out the 90s, honestly … hmm let me think on this a little longer.
Davis’ white Cadillac then pulled alongside the Death Row “caravan” and the vehicle with Knight and Shakur at a red light on Las Vegas Boulevard:
“The shit was on! Tupac made an erratic move and began to reach down beneath his seat. It was the first and only time in my life that I could relate to the police command. ‘Keep your hands where I can see them.’ Instead, Pac pulled out a strap, and that’s when the fireworks started. One of my guys from the back seat grabbed the Glock and started bustin’ back.
The first shot skinned Suge in his head. I thought the motherfucker was dead. I heard stories that Suge supposedly used Tupac as a shield when the bullets started flying.
I would not be surprised if Suge was using him as a shield. Suge is one of the most sheisty dudes ever. so to me, this is true.
But that’s some bullshit. Suge was already wounded; he was the first one that got touched. As the rounds continued flying, I ducked down so that I wouldn’t get hit.
When the shooting stopped, we boned out, and a white Chrysler Sebring full of young ladies was following us. Their window quickly got shot out, so they stopped.
you wonder about this group of girls. and if they will ever speak out, probably never. I wonder how living with this life-altering experience has impacted them. but they are the ones who were screaming Pac’s name, which caused him to hang out the car that got him spotted by the dudes who were going to hunt him down regardless.
The interesting thing to me was with all them rough ass niggas they were supposed to have with them, none of them did a damn thing and tried to come after us. There was a lot of shots let off in both directions. The car we were in was shot the fuck up.
who shot their car up? the story always shared paints a one-way shooting picture, not shots fired both ways.
actually now that I think about it … in Suge’s documentary, he did mention shooting back, I think.
I don’t understand why people act like Tupac was an angel. Shit, the nigga had busted on some off-duty cops in Atlanta a few years earlier. So he wasn’t scared to bust.
why he gotta bring up old shit
On top of that, by the time we rolled up he had to know the person they jumped on in the casino was a South Side Crip. So they had to be on high alert. When the shots settled a couple of people in our car had fragments and glass in their hair. But none of us had been hit.”
Davis has long claimed that he was not one of the shooters: In his book, he said the shooter was “one of my guys” without specifying, but in subsequent interviews he admitted that his nephew Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson was the one who killed Shakur: “Orlando rolled down the window, and popped him. If they would have drove on my side, I would have popped them. But they was on the other side,” Davis said in a 2019 interview.
we love to tell on ourselves.
Anderson — who sued Shakur’s estate for injuries from the MGM Grand assault and was soon after named as the main suspect in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur — was killed less than two years later, in 1998, in a gang-related shooting in Compton.
Davis’ other two alleged associates in his car on the night of the shooting — Terrence “Bubble Up” Brown and DeAndre “Freaky” Smith — are also dead: Brown was shot and killed in Los Angeles in 2015, while the Guardian reported that Smith died of natural causes in 2004.
like I said, everyone is dead.
In their press conference Friday (9/29/2023), the LVMPD acknowledged that all four men have long been suspects in the Shakur shooting, and that Anderson, Smith, and Brown were all deceased. Davis was charged with murder with use of a deadly weapon, with prosecutors accusing Davis of providing the firearm used in the shooting to either Anderson or Smith.
Following the search warrant on Davis’ home – which yielded desktops and other electronic storage devices, several .40-caliber bullets, plus a copy of Compton Street Legend – retired Los Angeles police detective Greg Kading told the Associated Press that it was Keffe D’s own book that would likely, finally, result in charges in the 1996 murder.
Kading added, “He put himself squarely in the middle of the conspiracy. He had acquired the gun, he had given the gun to the shooter and he had been present in the vehicle when they hunted down and located both Tupac and Suge (Knight).
the tale goes that big dummy slid the gun to the back seat and gave specific directions to finish the job.
All the other direct conspirators or participants are all dead. Keffe D is the last man standing among the individuals that conspired to kill Tupac.”
Davis, who has spent around 15 years behind bars for his role running a “multi-million-dollar nationwide drug empire” as part of the Southside Compton Crips, brushed off concerns about whether he could face charges over the Shakur slaying in an interview with DJ Vlad. “They want to put me in jail for life? That’s just something I got to do,” Davis said.
to me, that last statement sounds like a man who’s conscious is eating at him OR someone who wants to get credit for taking this lyrical genius out of this world OR …
“I stand firm on the point that Tupac, Suge Knight and the rest of those niggas didn’t have any business putting their hands on my beloved nephew, Baby Lane. Period. Them jumping on my nephew gave us the ultimate green light to do something to their ass. Tupac chose the wrong game to play,” Davis wrote of the shooting.
“For us, Vegas was another day at the office. It may sound cold-hearted, but from a street perspective the killings of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls would be consiered nothing more than collateral damage. As a result, the hip-hop world has lost two of its most talented and revered musical artists and icons. At this point in my life, I can say I have a deep sense of remorse for what happened to Tupac.
He was a talented artist with tons of potential to impact the world. I hate that Tupac’s family, friends and fans, especially his mother, Afeni Shakur, had to go through the pain of losing her son. It’s terrible losing people like that; I know the pain too well.”
so after a slight deep dive, I found a 2011 LA Weekly article sharing clips from a 3-hr admission conversation between Keefe D and ex-LAPD detective Greg Kading.
here are some highlights.
Detective Kading: “OK. … Keffe, today what we're going to do, we're just going to go over with a fine-toothed comb the Las Vegas incident. … But we do have to emphasize to you that everything in this report has to be right on, because if down the road it's determined that some of these details are incorrect, then everything's off the table. So everything in this report cannot be like that report.”
Keffe D: “Like I said that day, don't bullshit me, and I won't bullshit you.”
Federal agent: “Where does [Baby Lane] get the gun from?”
Keffe D: “A little secret compartment that popped up.”
Federal agent: “In the armrest?”
Keffe D: “Yeah.”
Detective Kading: “Was it a Glock?”
Keffe D: “Yeah.”
Detective Kading: “.40?”
Keffe D: “Yeah. And I ain't ever told nobody that story, man.”
Keffe D: “We met the boy [Combs] at the — he gave a BET party, or the BET awards, its like '92 or '93, at the club on Santa Monica. And uh, Mary J was [there]. And the tall dude, used to have the dreads, he's with Aftermath now, what's his name?”
Federal agent: “Busta Rhymes?”
so buddy didn’t know Busta’s name in 2011?! the agent had to name him? wild.
Keffe D: Busta Rhymes. … Me and him almost got in a fight. I was suited … He thought he was all big shit. I was all, 'We going to beat the fuck out of that boy.' He threw his drink on me, and I was like, 'Motherfucker!' Yeah, that's the first day I met Puff [Combs]. … And after that they used my car in the video.”
Detective Dupree: “Which car was that?”
Keffe D: “A '64 Chevy I had.”
Detective Dupree: “What color was it?”
Keffe D: “Brown. “Usher, he had Usher… It was Usher's video, and Puff [Combs] was driving the car.”
Detective Dupree: “You remember the song?”
Keffe D: “'Can I Get With It.' That was his first song ever — Usher's first song ever. He was in a Lakers uniform, and [Combs] had the little kid dancing on the car. When I got it back, it was fucked up, and he paid to get it repainted. He sent me $2500 for that.”
this song was terrible and didn’t launch Usher’s career, but it’s interesting to see how folks are connected. like I said before Puffy will never tell the actual truth, only his truth. video linked here for you watch.
*conversation shifts to the bad boy / death row fued*
Detective Dupree: “Did Puffy have a place out here [in Los Angeles]?”
Keffe D: “He used to stay if Shug was outta here. … He was scared shitless.”
Puffy always put on this front like he was never scared, but we all knew the deal. he is not a gangster, never was and never will be. and while that is okay for him now, back then it was not.
Detective Dupree: “So that beef had started by then?”
Keffe D: “No, it started when they went out to that award show…”
Detective Kading: “Tell us what happened that made it something other than just him frustrated and boasting — 'Man, I'll give you guys anything.' What made it specific, like, 'Hey, I'm serious, I want you guys to kill these guys'?”
Keffe D: “When he told me at Greenblatts.”
Detective Kading: “How'd that go, like what was the conversation?”
Federal agent: “And who's 'he'?”
Keffe D: “Puff.”
Detective Kading: “How's the conversation go? … We need really specific details regarding that.”
Keffe D: “We wanted a million.”
Detective Kading: “All right, so you meet him at Greenblatts. For lunch or dinner or what?”
Keffe D: “This was dinner, in the evening.”
Detective Kading: “Who else was there?”
Keffe D: “All of us — Corey, everybody. All our crew.”
Detective Kading: “Everybody's hearing this conversation between you and Puff?”
Keffe D: “He was talking to me. … When we got there we was laughing at him, cause he was with this broad that sucked dick, and sucked every dick in there, and he's all held up kissing with her.
now i wonder who this mystery woman is, because it’s too early in the game for superhead to enter the scene.
We was laughing like a motherfucker. He's like, 'Man, what you laughing at dog?' Man, don't just come out here and get any broad, dog. … He took me downstairs and he's like, 'Man, I wanna get rid of them dudes, man.' … I was like, 'We'll wipe their ass out quick, man. It's nothing.'”
Detective Dupree: “When [Combs] asked about [Shakur and Knight], would he always say both of them?”
Keffe D: “He added the boy [Shakur] on after he made a record.”
this isn’t looking good Puffy.
Detective Dupree: “Before that it was just Suge? And then after 'Hit 'Em Up' came out?”
Keffe D: “Yeah, yeah, that pissed [Combs] off.”
Detective Kading: “Since you've been out of prison, have you talked to Zip?”
remember he was in prison for 15 years
Keffe D: “Not one time.”
Detective Kading: “What about Puffy?”
Keffe D: “Not one time. I tried to call them several times though … If he would have just given us half the money, I would have stayed strong.”
“if he would have just given us half the money” — I wonder what this will do to Puffy. I know his ass is lawyered up real good right now because now that Keefe D been charged, I know he will be singing in the days to come.
but there is more…
Duane Davis’ [Keefe D] wikipedia page was last updated October 1, 2023 at 6:41a. all of the latest charges have been added, and a mashup of all the most recent articles have been clipped, snipped and cited.
but I had yet to see this in the handful of articles I read before meeting up with you for lunch.
On July 2, 2018, Davis confessed to having a role in the killing of Tupac Shakur after revealing he was dying of cancer.
my mouth dropped open when I read that. and it began to make more sense.
he is feeling remorseful, or at least I hope he is. because if death is in fact is knocking on his door, buddy believes he needs to go ahead and tell the truth so he can rest well, whenever his time comes.
I don’t know what is to come in the days, months, and years ahead in this case. but you better believe I will have my ears to the internet streets. because once this gets “solved” Biggie is not too far behind.
here are some books and documentaries to check out if you want to dive into this solvable but unsolvable tragedy:
📚 Compton Street Legend by Keefe D
📚 Murder Rap: The Untold Story of the Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations by the Detective Who Solved Both Cases
I hope you enjoyed lunch today with me. I’ll see you next month friends!
p.s. did y’all know Kim Porter was writing a book and she died during the process??