Tupac Hit Up Many More People Than Biggie In His Original Makaveli Liner Notes
Tupac was not alive for the release of his fifth solo album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. However, he was promoting and working on the LP at the time of his September 13, 1996 death. Fresh off the success of double-album, All Eyez On Me, Tupac wrote and rapped in a stream of consciousness during one of the busiest, and most controversial periods of his life and music. Notably, the period signaled a name change for Pac, who had begun referring to himself as Makaveli and planned to launch a record label of the same name. Like other members of Tha Outlawz, the move aligned with a historical/political figure. In Tupac’s case, he assumed the moniker of Italian Renaissance author and politician, Niccolò Machiavelli.
The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory is remembered for hits like “Hail Mary” and “To Live & Die In L.A.,” as well as themes of betrayal, anger, and isolation. After the video single “Hit ‘Em Up” released in early June, Pac’s temper flared with the summer. He continuously called out Biggie Smalls, Puff Daddy, Junior M.A.F.I.A., Mobb Deep, Nas, JAY-Z, De La Soul, and a man he had made hits with just months prior, Dr. Dre.
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Memorabilia auction company Gotta Have Rock And Roll is auctioning a draft of Tupac’s handwritten liner notes for the album that was released seven weeks after his death. Unlike many Shakur writings, these notes on lined composition paper do not contain a date. However, elements of the writings were later included in the Death Row Records CD, cassette, and LP.
The notes, presented as a “thank you” to a list of enemies, foes, and rivals, point fingers to who Shakur believed shot him in the November 1994 Quad Studios robbery, and who ordered the hit. The text opens with both charges. “I dedicate this to Jack ‘The Snitch’ Agnant, to Tut for shootin’ me,” he begins, referring to the music promoter also known as “Haitian Jack” who to this day, denies involvement in the robbery-shooting.
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Jacques Agnant was deported to Haiti in 2007. In 2015, he reacted to Tupac’s claims in an interview with Hip-Hop Wired. “Whenever it comes to [Tupac] it feels like I’m blamed. I know who’s behind it and we’ll get into that one-day. But the person that’s behind it is serving life right now,” he said, believed to be implying James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond, who Pac also shouts out by name in his notes. Rosemond was sentenced to life in prison in 2013. “Let me tell you man, whenever you go out of your way to get someone killed, put in jail and slander their character, all those things end up coming back to you; especially a person who has nothing against you or has done nothing to you.” In 1998, Agnant would attempt to sue Tupac’s estate over libel in Don Killuminati‘s lyrics.
Walter “King Tut” Johnson is serving life for an unrelated “three strikes” robbery conviction (although reportedly viewed as a suspect in the 1994 Shakur robbery-shooting, no one was charged). In 2005, ahead of Agnant’s deportation, both inmates were housed at Lower Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. As of 2016, when Johnson spoke to Vice about JAY-Z’s Reasonable Doubt, he is in New York’s FCI Otisville facility.
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Tupac’s charges against Johnson, Agnant, and Rosemond were echoed in Don Killuminati‘s “Against All Odds” song lyrics. In his notes, he calls out rapper Lil Shawn (nka Shawn Pen) who he was recording with the night of the incident. Additionally, Pac lists Thug Life member Stretch, who was murdered in 1995. Biggie Smalls, Puffy, King Sun, JAY-Z are mentioned. The notes call Dr. Dre “a closet homo,” something Tupac echoed in the album’s “Toss It Up” vocals. Pac’s notes accuse De La Soul of being “mad” and call the Long Island, New York trio of “livin’ like fat washed up bums.” He lambasts radio personalities/DJS Donnie Simpson and Wendy Williams, for laughing at his bleeding. Pac makes light of Mobb Deep’s album sales, Kim’s relationship with B.I.G., and echoes his “Hit ‘Em Up” declaration that he had sex with Biggie’s wife, Faith Evans.
The last lines in the written notes is what Death Row included in the November album insert, in addition to the song credits:
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The auction for the letter begins April 11, with a minimum bid of $30,000.