By Rio Yamat, Jonathan Landrum Jr. and Maria Sherman
Las Vegas police confirmed Tuesday that they served a search warrant this week in connection with the long-unsolved killing of Tupac Shakur, propelling the case back into the spotlight nearly 30 years after his death.
Shakur, one of the most prolific figures in hip-hop, was gunned down the night of Sept. 7, 1996, in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. He was 25.
No arrests have ever been made. Yet attention on the case, which has seen its share of conspiracy theories, has endured for decades.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement that the search was conducted Monday in the nearby city of Henderson, but the agency did not say whether a suspect has been identified. It's also unclear what they were looking for and where they were looking.
Citing the ongoing investigation, department spokesperson Aden OcampoGomez said in a brief phone call that he couldn't provide more details on the latest development in the case.
Nevada does not have a time limit for prosecuting homicide cases.
In this Aug. 15, 1996, file photo, rapper Tupac Shakur, left, and a founder of Death Row Records, Marion "Suge" Knight, attend a voter registration event in South Central Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Frank Wiese, File)
Shakur was shot while sitting inside a black BMW with Marion “Suge” Knight, head of Death Row Records. Police have said the two were waiting at a red light near the Las Vegas Strip when a white Cadillac pulled up next to them and gunfire erupted. Shot multiple times, Shakur was rushed to a hospital, where he died six days later.
Las Vegas police have said in the past that the investigation quickly stalled in part because witnesses refused to cooperate.
Shakur’s death came amid his feud with rap rival the Notorious B.I.G., who was fatally shot six months later. At the time, both rappers were in the middle of the infamous East Coast-West Coast rivalry, which primarily defined the hip-hop scene during the mid-1990s. The feud was ignited after Shakur was seriously wounded in another shooting during a robbery in the lobby of a midtown Manhattan hotel.
Shakur openly accused B.I.G. and Sean “Diddy” Combs of having prior knowledge of the shooting, which both vehemently denied. It sparked enough of a feud that created a serious divide within the hip-hop community and fans.
The New York-born Shakur represented the West Coast after he signed with Los Angeles-based Death Row Records. He often traded verbal jabs in the media and through songs. B.I.G. and Combs hailed from the East Coast while representing New York City-based Bad Boy Records.
Largely considered one of the most influential and versatile rappers of all time, the six-time Grammy Award -nominated Shakur has had five No. 1 albums: 1995’s “Me Against the World,” 1996’s “All Eyez on Me,” and three posthumous releases: 1996’s “The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory,” which was recorded under the name Makaveli, as well as 2001’s “Until the End of Time" and 2004’s “Loyal to the Game.”
Tupac Shakur at the 1996 MTV Music Video Awards (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
His professional music career only lasted five years, but Shakur secured 21 Billboard Hot 100s, including top 10 hits “Dear Mama" and "Old School” in 1995, and his best-known track, 1996’s “How Do U Want It/California Love” featuring K-Ci and JoJo. The latter spent two weeks at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 from his final studio album and Death Row Records debut, “All Eyez on Me.”
According to entertainment data company Luminate, Shakur has sold 33 million albums, 41 million when including track sale and streaming equivalents. The rapper’s on-demand video and audio streams total 10.1 billion.
In 2017, Shakur was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Snoop Dogg. In June of this year, the rapper received a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He’s also had some museum exhibits that paid homage to his life, including “Tupac Shakur. Wake Me When I’m Free,” which opened in 2021.
Landrum and Sherman reported from Los Angeles.
Updated with additional details.