Tupac Was Actually Shot Five Times Just Two Years Before His Death

Tupac Shakur was nervous that night. He was in New York City in the middle of a rape trial. According to the Daily News, he needed money to help pay his mounting legal fees so he'd agreed to do a verse on a song for the rapper Little Shawn. On the night of November 30, 1994, the rapper approached the Quad Recording Studios near Times Square with his entourage. But in a Vibe magazine interview just months after the shooting, Shakur said when he approached the building, he felt something was off. Shakur entered, and three men with guns shot him and stole close to $40,000 worth of jewelry he was wearing. He survived being shot five times.

Two years later, on the night of September 7, 1996, gunmen shot Shakur while he sat in a car at a red light on the Las Vegas Strip. He later died from his wounds. His shocking end overshadowed the previous shooting in Manhattan. But it was this earlier incident that ended up pitting Shakur against his one-time friend Christopher Wallace, known as the Notorious B.I.G or Biggie Smalls, who was there that night. It also ratcheted up the larger beef between West Coast and East Coast rap.

He checked himself out of the hospital

"Don't nobody move," the gunmen shouted, Tupac Shakur recounted to Vibe. "Everybody on the floor. You know what time it is." The robbers ordered everyone to give them their jewelry. While the other men with him did as they were told, Shakur froze, refused to give up his things, and then made a grab at one of the gunmen's hands. The first shot went through the rapper's groin. He dropped to the ground and the men kept shooting, kicking, and punching him. "It was like they were mad at me," Shakur recalled. "I felt them kicking me and stomping me; they didn't hit nobody else." One of the men also shot Shakur's manager, Freddie Moore, once in the stomach, per the Daily News.

Tupac's friends dragged him to the safety of the elevator before an ambulance rushed him to Bellevue Hospital, where he had surgery for wounds to his groin, head, and left hand. But just 18 hours later, he checked himself out of the hospital. The next day he appeared in court in a wheelchair. He didn't stay to hear the jury find him guilty of first-degree sexual assault for abusing a young woman in his hotel room, according to the Associated Press. The jury acquitted him of sodomy and gun charges. Shakur would spend his recovery from the shooting in jail at Rikers Island waiting to be sentenced, per a separate AP story.

Escalated beef

After the shooting, Tupac Shakur feared for his life. He told Vibe magazine he left Bellevue for that reason. Following his court appearance, he checked into a different hospital under an alias, per the AP. In the Vibe interview, the rapper blamed Biggie Smalls, Sean Combs (who was the founder of Bad Boy Entertainment), and others who had been upstairs in the recording studio when the gunmen shot and robbed him and his entourage in the building's lobby. Shakur said after he was shot, Smalls and Combs acted strangely. "Nobody approached me," he said. "I noticed that nobody would look at me. ... I knew Puffy. He knew how much stuff I had done for Biggie before he came out."

In the following months, the beef between Shakur and Smalls heated up, as did the East Coast-West Coast rivalry with the rappers calling each other out in diss tracks and interviews. Then in September 1996, Smalls and Combs sat for an interview with Vibe magazine in which they strenuously denied any involvement in the shooting and tried to put the brakes on the coastal rivalry, according to Complex. But it was too late. Someone murdered Smalls in Los Angeles in March 1997 nine months after Shakur's killing. According to investigators, the reasons for Shakur's murder revolved around LA gangs, and not his beef with Smalls, per The New York Times.