Today marks 23 years since the tragic and senseless loss of Tupac Amaru Shakur, known to the masses simply as 2Pac.
While it can sometimes feel like he’s still here with us, be it a biopic, a documentary, a miniseries or most importantly a music project, the sad reality is that we’ve been without his influential spirit for over two decades now. The hurt never really gets better, the loss only feeling greater and greater as the years pass on, but knowing how much he influenced the Hip-Hop community and world in general does add a silver lining to the proverbial dark cloud that has been hanging over the rap game since September 13, 1996.
Although nothing will ever truly bring him back, The Source decided to remember our fallen brother by looking at how 2Pac would’ve grown in his music, acting and politically-minded career had things gone differently 23 years ago.
This was 100% made in fun and celebration of Tupac, so take a look below to see if you agree with our alternate reality where 2Pac lives on:
1997: Properly introduced us to his alter ego “Makaveli” with The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
The Don Killuminati was reportedly never supposed to see the light of day before 2Pac’s death, originally intended to be something of a passion project that circulated underground. However, after the inevitable success of All Eyez On Me, we could definitely see Pac having a change of mind and making a concept album out the whole LP. We all could’ve done without the bars that dragged on the East Coast/West Coast beef, though.
1998: Reunited the Thug Life crew for Thug Life: Volume 2
Always one to work well in groups, 2Pac seemed to have some big plans for his rap collective known as Thug Life. While their actual story reads as one of the most unsung tales in rap history — literally half of the six original members (including Pac) have sadly passed away — we think the crew could’ve came together one more time to repeat the gold-selling success of Thug Life: Volume 1.
1999: Made his sci-fi film debut as Mace Windu in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
A fun fact: 2Pac was originally considered and preparing to read for a major role in the 1999 continuation of the globally-revered Star Wars film series. The role of Mace Windu, a Jedi Master fighting for the good guys, would of course go to Samuel L. Jackson in real life. However, how dope would it have been to see Pac in space!
2000: Introduced the Outlawz with back-to-back albums Still I Rise and Ride wit Us or Collide wit Us
Equally as sad of a story as Thug Life — 4 out of 10 of the original members, including Makaveli/2Pac, are deceased — the Outlawz unfortunately never got a proper chance to shine since their official formation happened not too long before Pac was murdered. Being that the group’s debut albums Still I Rise (1999) and Ride wit Us or Collide wit Us (2000) were released within a year’s time of each other, we easily could’ve seen Pac being a purveyor of the “two albums in one year” trend (see: DMX in ’98; Nas in ’99) with the rollout of these projects.
2001: Starred alongside Snoop Dogg and Taraji P. Henson in John Singleton’s hood classic Baby Boy
It’s common knowledge (or should be!) that 2Pac was originally meant to play the main character “Jody” in the 2001 film Baby Boy, which became a breakout role for Tyrese. They did their best to honor his legacy in the film, particularly with a mural of Pac’s face on Jody’s bedroom wall (seen below), but having the real thing would’ve been epic. In short, we were robbed of a possible award-worthy performance.
2002: Released his first solo album of the 2000s decade with Better Dayz
2Pac’s posthumously-released 2002 double album Better Dayz was a success in real life, selling 366,000 copies in its first week and eventually going triple platinum. However, imagine getting a real music video of his Nas-assisted hit single “Thugz Mansion,” or the follow-up cut “Still Ballin” with Trick Daddy at his peak? There was some solid material on this project, and the only thing missing to make this an even bigger hit was Pac himself.
2003: Released his collaboration “The Realist Killaz” with then-new artist 50 Cent
There’s no denying that, with Tupac’s icon status in the game and 50 Cent’s rise as the “it” new rapper of the early 2000s, these two would’ve definitely had a run-in at some point. We can’t officially say whether it would’ve been in alliance or against one another, but we’ll go out on a limb and assume the former. Now, in terms of Pac entering 50’s beef with Ja Rule, that’s a vision we’ll just let you guys make up for yourselves.
2004: Drops his new album Loyal to the Game, executive produced by Eminem
Following the “success” with 50 Cent a year prior, 2Pac now taps the head honcho Eminem to produce his highly-anticipated new album after two years have passed since the last LP. Much like the album’s real-life results, Loyal to the Game tops the Billboard 200 and is certified Platinum within months of its initial release, solidifying both Pac and Eminem as legends to the game as well.
2005: Reprised his role as senior Jedi Council Master Mace Windu in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
At this point, 2Pac is a quadruple threat as both a Hip-Hop icon and a Hollywood heavyweight. The success of his role in Star Wars films Episode I and Episode II, the latter which he shot simultaneously while recording Better Dayz, leads to one more stance as Mace Windu for the third and final chapter in the trilogy. Due to the fate of his character, 2pac is nominated and wins the award for “Best Hero” at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards.
2006: Performs 10 year anniversary concert for All Eyez on Me at Radio City Music Hall
Ok, so we pulled this idea straight from Jay-Z’s now-iconic Reasonable Doubt 10th anniversary concert at Radio City back in 2006. However, what’s better than one rap icon performing arguably his greatest album at one of the greatest venues in New York City? Two!
2007: Releases his follow-up record as Makaveli titled The Second Coming
Less “Hit Em Up” and more “Jesus Walks,” 2Pac’s second and final album as Makaveli is a way to show his growth in the 10 years since the The 7 Day Theory. Fittingly enough, the album drops on July, 7, 2007 and features only seven tracks. It becomes one of the fastest-selling rap records in history, going double platinum in a matter of seven days.
2008: Joins with Barack Obama for his 2008 Presidential Campaign
We all know Pac could get political, so much that we could’ve even see him run for office at some point! However, in this reality, we pictured Pac rolling with Barack Obama as one of the many entertainers that supported the Chicago-bred politician in his run for President of the United States. Although we love the homie Joe Biden, 2Pac as Obama’s running mate would’ve made the ’08 election super lit.
2009: Casted in a recurring role on Jada Pinkett Smith’s TNT series HawthoRNe
Their friendship was so strong that it’s still heartbreaking to watch Jada talk about him in retrospect. Had Pac lived, we’re almost certain that these two would’ve shared a screen again like they once did in the “Homey, Don’t Ya Know Me?” episode of A Different World back in 1993. Doc Pac, you’re on call!
2010: Develops his iconic single “Dear Mama” into a Broadway play
After “Dear Mama” is inducted into the Library of Congress’ Recording Registry, we imagine 2Pac taking the song to even greater heights by tapping into his theater school roots and reworking it into a limited-run Broadway show. It’s his first step at officially achieving EGOT status.
2011: Releases a tribute to Nate Dogg with an album of unreleased collaborations between the two
A fellow fallen Hip-Hop legend, Nate Dogg was the go-to guy for most of the R&B hooks on Death Row’s hard-hitting rap records. Since these two created such great magic together on wax in the past (see below), it’s only right that Pac pay tribute to his longtime friend that passed away on March 15, 2011 due to a series of strokes. The album features vocals from Nate Dogg’s gospel choir Innate Praise, and proceeds are donated to the National Stroke Association.
2012: Revolutionizes the worlds of rap & technology by arranging his own hologram performance at Coachella Festival
While this moment was insanely innovative when it actually happened seven years ago, we honestly think it would’ve happened regardless being that 2Pac was quite forward-thinking in his approach to artistry. The only thing different in our fictional reality is that he would’ve both headlined the festival and completely freaked the hologram technology in a way nobody could’ve imagined.
2013: Collaborates with director Kenny Leon for second Broadway play, Holler If Ya Hear Me
This is another instance that actually happened in real life, but would’ve inarguably been way more amazing if Pac had actually been involved to give his input. With Pac around to give firsthand decoding of the songs that inspired the play, Holler If Ya Hear Me has a successful run and leads to another Tony Award nomination for Pac, this time winning for Best Direction of a Musical.
2014: Finally co-stars with Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained
Many don’t know that Tupac and Leonardo DiCaprio almost starred together in the 1995 film Higher Learning in the roles that would eventually go to Omar Epps and Michael Rapaport, respectively. Given that we were robbed in real-life of this potential cinematic chemistry, we figured these two would unite onscreen at some point if Pac was still alive. While Jamie Foxx murdered this role, well, come on — who wouldn’t want to see Pac star in a Tarantino film?!
2015: Develops new streaming service called “2unes”
Getting in on the booming music streaming era, Pac once again proves to be an innovator amongst his rap peers and aims to, once again, “spark the brain that will change the world.”
2016: Releases new Outlawz album titled Immortalz in tribute to fallen members
Both in 2015 and 2016, The Outlawz lost two more members with the passing of Hussein Fatal and Mussolini, respectively. As a ballad for his dead souljas, 2Pac drops this album solely as a tribute to his once most loyal homies in the game.
2017: Makes directorial debut by casting, executive producing and directing his own biopic
Unfortunately the real biopic, All Eyez On Me, was met with more than its fair share of criticism by those who even knew 2Pac best, particularly Jada Pinkett Smith who found it “deeply hurtful.” If Pac was able to control the narrative of his own story in the vain of Tina Turner (What’s Love Got to Do with It) and New Edition (The New Edition Story), there’s no telling what could’ve been.
2018: Gives powerful speech while being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Whether here or not, Pac was without a doubt going to be inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at some point. While it actually happened in 2017, the when in our fictional story isn’t too important; it’s the why that counts. See the video below to understand exactly why he 100% deserved this honor.
2019: Announces retirement from music; moves to Cuba
You guessed it! Given the age-old theory that 2pac is actually still alive and living in Cuba somewhere, we went along and made all your wishes come true. We’ll see if he returns to music in 2020 next year.
R.I.P. always Tupac. Even though this list is for the most part fictional, your legacy is 100% real and will continue to live on in Hip-Hop and across the world.