Los Angeles Times journalist Chuck Philips has more surprising allegations concerning musical icons Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher Wallace) and Sean "Diddy" Combs. In an article that the Times published Monday morning (March 17), Philips alleges that Combs and Wallace were aware, a week in advance, that Tupac would be ambushed in the 1994 shooting at New York's Quad Recording Studios, two years before he was shot and killed in Las Vegas.
"They were advised in advance of what was going to happen," Philips told MTV News on Saturday. "They did not know the assailants were going to be shooting. In fact, [the assailants] were told no shooting. But Tupac pulled a gun, and it went haywire. It was supposed to be a severe beating."
Diddy released a statement Monday, calling the story "beyond ridiculous" and "completely false."
Shakur was at DJ Ron G's home laying down raps for a mixtape on November 30, 1994. He was called to Quad Studios to rap on a song by Uptown artist Little Shawn, for which he was to be paid $7,000. When Pac got to the studio, he was robbed, beaten and shot a reported five times by the assailants (although some reports say he shot himself twice accidently).
Philips' article also alleges that the main mastermind behind the Shakur setup was Jimmy "Henchman" Rosemond who currently manages a slew of artists such as the Game and Gucci Mane.
In 1994, Rosemond was first making his transition from the streets to the music industry. In an interview with Ballerstatus.com in 2007, he explained how he used that transitional status to help Wallace. "Biggie had said in an interview that, after his lifestyle changed, it was hard for him to rap about hustling," Rosemond said. "I didn't guide him in his career as much, but when he wanted to hear the hustler stories and knew the cats that I was around ... we would give him these stories."
Philips said he arrived at this conclusion after years of delving into the incident. He has talked to men who he believes were directly involved in the shooting and has uncovered papers documenting an FBI investigation whose findings coincide with his research.
"The FBI talked to some criminals that said Jimmy Henchman was involved," Philips said.
As Tupac's fans know, Shakur himself accused Henchman of being a part in the scheme in "Against All Odds": "And did I mention/ Promised a payback, Jimmy Henchman/ In due time/ I knew you b---- n---as was listening/ The world is mine/ Set me up/ Wet me up/ N---as stuck me up/ Heard the guns bust/ But you tricks never shut me up."
In response to Philips' story, Rosemond released a statement on Monday calling the writer's motives into question. "In the past 14 years, I have not even been questioned by law enforcement with regard to the assault of Tupac Shakur, let alone brought up on charges," Rosemond said in a statement provided to MTV News. "Chuck Philips, the writer who in the past has falsely claimed that [Biggie] was in Las Vegas when Tupac was murdered and that Biggie supplied the gun that killed Tupac — only to be proven wrong, as Biggie was in New Jersey recuperating from a car accident. [The Times] has reached a new low by employing fourth-hand information from desperate jailhouse informants along with ancient FBI reports to create this fabrication.
"I simply ask for all rap fans and fans of Tupac to analyze this fiction for what it is, along with Philips' motives behind it," the statement continued. "I am baffled as to why the Times would print this on its Web site, when a simple and fair investigation would reveal that the allegations are false. I am currently consulting with my attorneys about my legal rights regarding this libelous piece of garbage."
After the Quad shooting, Shakur considered Combs and Wallace bitter enemies, and their feud continued all the way until Shakur's murder in 1996. But prior to the incident, Pac was supposedly friends with the Bad Boy camp. So why would they turn a blind eye to him being set up, or play any part in it at all? Combs was unable to be reached for comment about Philips' new article, but in the wake of the Quad shooting, both Combs and Wallace appeared on MTV to deny that they had any knowledge of who shot Tupac and said that they had nothing to do with it.
In another shocking allegation, Philips said that the 1994 incident might have been meant to strong-arm Shakur into officially coming to the Bad Boy camp.
"What I believe is that Bad Boy, who was very young then — they had Craig Mack and Biggie back in '93," Philips explained. "They were a brand-new company. Puffy was trying to start his company, and they wanted other artists on this label besides those two. One of them might have been Tupac. Tupac told them no. He told a number of other people no. ... You have to remember, Puffy got a lot of money to start up Bad Boy from Arista. A lot of people wanted to get their hands on some of that money. A lot of people he hung around would do things to try to impress him."
This is not the first bombshell Phillips has dropped concerning Shakur and Wallace. In 2002, he wrote an article alleging that Wallace had offered the Crips $1 million to murder Shakur. In fact, he said Biggie was negotiating the hit on September 7, 1996, the night Tupac was shot in Las Vegas.
That article was immediately refuted by Wallace's family and friends and shown to have some holes in his theories.
"We are outraged at the false and damaging statements," Wallace's family said in a statement in 2002. "For the record, Wallace was at his home in New Jersey on the night of Tupac Shakur's murder, with friends who will continue to testify for his whereabouts, since he is unable to defend himself. Both men will have no peace as long as stories such as these continue to be written."
In 2002, Voletta Wallace, Big's mother, told MTV News that she was outraged by Philips' article.
"For a second, I felt that my son was just murdered [again]. My initial reaction?" she said, with anger. "I'm hurt. Somebody's attacking my son, my son who died five and a half years ago. How do I feel? I'm downright angry. I'm a mother, I'm a human being, and [Chuck Philips] is gonna attack my son that's not here to come forward and defend himself. Damn, I'm mad! ... I will find peace when myself and my lawyers deal with Chuck Philips and the L.A. Times."
Philips still stands behinds his previous story.
"Yeah, I do," he maintained Saturday. "I think the story was misinterpreted. ... What I wrote in that story was that the Southside Crips were in Las Vegas, and so were the Bloods. Tupac punched a Southside Crip, and Suge's guy piled up on that guy. Those guys made a decision the minute this happened that they were going to kill him. ... You don't punch a gang member in a public place, where you're humiliating him. They were going to kill him. And they did kill him. ... Prior to this time, in the month ahead of this, the people I talked to said Biggie had asked the Southside Crips — as had other people in their crew — to kill Tupac. Southside Crips didn't take it seriously. They thought he was just talking. On this night when they decided they were going to kill Tupac, they said, 'Let's make some money out of this.' Then this transaction went down. It's almost like extortion."
Philips' theory contradicts Biggie's claims that he loved Pac.
"I was living in Manhattan," Wallace's widow Faith Evans recalled in 2002 about the night Tupac died. "I was about eight months pregnant with our son C.J. The night [Tupac was shot], I remember Big calling me and crying. I know for a fact he was in Jersey. He called me crying because he was in shock. I think it's fair to say he was probably afraid, given everything that was going on at that time and all the hype that was put on this so-called beef that he didn't really have in his heart against anyone.
"I think it would be some element of fear that would kind of run through his mind," she added, "given the fact that his name was involved in a lot of the situations involving Tupac before his murder. He was already getting threatening phone calls. I'm sure for all he thought, he could be next. Which ironically, months later, he lost his life as well."
[This story was originally published at 2:48 pm E.T. on 03.16.2008]