Picture this: Following the aftermath of September 7, 1996, Tupac Shakur checked out of the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. While doctors feared he wouldn't make it, after predicting a 50-50 chance of survival, the embattled rapper cheated death yet again, leaving the hospital after six days to really become immortal. With static thick in the air following the Saturday night shooting, Shakur returned back to Los Angeles, where he stopped by Can-Am Studios to record additional material for the originally planned All Eyez On Me follow-up, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory.
Still reeling off of the adrenaline rush, he records enough ferocious records to fit an added disc, which expands The 7 Day Theory into his second double LP. Soon after Suge Knight is sent to prison for his involvement in the beatdown of Orlando Anderson, the album arrives and fulfills Pac's three album contract with Death Row Records. He launches his own record label company, Euthanasia. Through this new fold, the new mogul releases a proper Outlawz album and ventures into everything from social activism to politics. His Hollywood bat phone continues to ring, securing roles in a little John Singleton film called "Baby Boy" and a placement in George Lucas' "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" as the character Mace Windu.
All of this here is wishful thinking.
Truth is, the narrative above is only an example of how far one can stretch out a series of "What Ifs" after the tragic reality of September 13, 1996. It's a testament to the gravity of the void left on that fateful date. If alive, would Tupac still be doing music? What would happen to the current shape of hip-hop? How would his presence impact the state of social affairs? Would The Notorious B.I.G. still be alive? These kind of questions are endless. While the questions aplenty, there are actually a couple things that Pac was working prior to his passing that could have happened.
For one, there would have been the launch of Euthanasia Records.
In a 1996 interview with Vibe, Shakur revealed plans for his own record label. "I fell in love with that word," he told Vibe's Kevin Powell about the name Euthanasia. "I feel like that's me. I’m gonna die, I just wanna die without pain. I don’t wanna die, but if I gotta go I wanna go without pain." He also commemorated the label with a special gold chain, which he wore on that fateful evening.
Among the projects that would have released under the label fold would be a planned Me Against the World-esque album, that he teased in the months prior to this death.
On April 19, 1996, Pac appeared on KMEL Radio's Westside Radio program and revealed a few interesting tidbits about his upcoming plans, which included a home video for All Eyez On Me's "Ambitionz Of A Ridah" and a remix to "What's Ya Phone Number" featuring a sample from MC Lyte.
As far as album goes, Shakur also revealed plans for a pseudo Me Against the World sequel. "It's clean, all positive, all in the vein of songs like "Keep Your Head Up" and "Brenda's Got A Baby." It's that type of stuff," he shared. "I just put out a hardcore double album (All Eyez On Me) and next I'm gonna put out an introspective album. It'll be like a Me Against The World part two. That's what I think my fans are looking for. I'm gonna show that I appreciate your support." The world got a glimpse of this on the Outlawz single, "Baby Don't Cry (Keep Your Head Up II)."
Where there were plans for a Me Against the World-esque release, Pac also planned the supergroup album, One Nation.**
Last year, a handwritten note from Shakur surfaced online revealing plans for a "group album" that was to be called One Nation. This release would have featured OutKast, Buckshot, Smif-n-Wessun, the Outlawz, Scarface, E-40, and more. In an interview with REVOLT, Buckshot even confirmed the news, revealing the album was pretty much complete.
Of course, as the answer that everyone points, Pac would have definitely gotten into politics.
Ever outspoken, especially on societal issues, Pac would have been involved in politics at some capacity. Talking to Kevin Powell of Vibe magazine in 1996, he supported the idea of Colin Powell running for president. "I would have supported him. I was talking to Al Sharpton about how he should run. And I would help him," he shared, before adding, "I wanna get into politics."
Going further on his aspiration, Shakur stated, "That's the way for us to overcome a lot of our obstacles, is to have political power. Nothing can stop power or recognize power but power. Everything you telling me to do, Let’s sit down and talk. If Bosnia disrespects America, or Saddam Hussein disrespects America, they gonna go to war. Cause America wants its respect. And they gonna sit down after Saddam Hussein recognizes that they should respect America. We have to have respect before we can have communication. Before we can communicate, there has to be a mutual respect. And we don’t have that."
All of the aforementioned are just some of many plans that would have been a reality had September 13, 1996 transpired differently. Speaking to Shakur's friends and collaborators, REVOLT filled in more of the "What Ifs" to paint a picture of how different things would be if Tupac were alive.
E.D.I. Mean: "Sky’s the limit, unfortunately we’ll never really get to see that. But the sky’s the limit. How far you could have dreamed it is how far he could have gone."
Lelia Steinberg: "He [would be] running for office and I was going to help manage the campaign
Ray Luv: He was definitely about action. He would have most of the social things that we talk about, he would have been aggressively pursuing them, whether that means being a running for office or otherwise.
Leila Sternberg: He would have impacted the prisons, we wouldn’t have waited so long to address the Three Strikes law. There are a lot of issues that were on the forefront that he wanted to see change and he was pushing the conversation around on race and economics and we’re still scared to have that conversation, but we're working on it.
Ray Luv: Racism, economics, sexism, he was very aware that it all at the end of the day comes down to dollars and cents — and that believe it or not, freedom is very much tied to that. That’s why you gotta hustle so hard so that you can be free. So that you can make changes where you want changes in the system, so to speak. I think he would have definitely dealt with a lot of the social aspects of life in America.
Money B: If Pac was alive today, I’m sure he would be an activist of some sort because one of my last conversations with him personally was him telling me that, because I spoke to him right after _All Eyez On Me _came out and he was like, "I already did seven albums that are already done." I told him that I thought he got away from where he was at on 2Pacalypse Now. He seemed really vengeful on All Eyez On Me and he kind of gotten away from the original 2Pac that I remember, who was talking about things that were going on in the communities and fighting for justice.