Five songs that foreshadowed 2Pac's death

On this day fifteen years ago, Tupac Shakur was gunned down on the Las Vegas strip while riding in a car driven by Marion "Suge" Knight. The seeming culmination of a media hyped East Coast vs West Coast rivalry, the murder of 2Pac has been shrouded in mystery and conspiracy. No doubt one of the most prolific storytellers to ever do it, 'Pac was keenly self-aware and spoke of death with a disconcerting ease. Here are five songs that foreshadowed his passing.

5. "Changes" Although released posthumously, this track finds 'Pac resigned himself to the fact that he'll never get to lay back, because always has to worry about the payback of his past making its way back to him. And as the hook -- borrowed from a Bruce Hornsby melody -- reinforces, that's just the way it is.

4. "Open Fire" Like many songs written by 2Pac, "Open Fire" has directly challenging anyone out to get him, saying explicitly: "Word to God, I've been ready to die since I was born."

3. "If I Die Tonight" The verses on this track are all tinged with paranoia and an abrupt angry nostalgia over friends who also passed in a violent manner. Likely facing the same fate and no doubt taking more than a few with him, 'Pac goes out with guns blazing on this one with lines like: "I hope they bury me and send me to my rest/Headlines readin' 'Murdered to death'/My last breath." 2. "I Wonder if Heaven Got a Ghetto" Throughout his life, 2Pac had a haunting familiarity with death, and here he muses about what the after life might be like for someone who lived a life like his. In contemplating this notion, he asks rhetorically if heaven has a ghetto for a hustler like himself, and in doing so, he displays a certain vulnerability.

1. "I Ain't Mad at Cha" With Danny Boy on the hook of this track (where the hell is he?), 'Pac eloquently reflects on the separation that sometimes occurs between friends when their paths diverge, and how there's no hard feelings, punctuating each verse with the refrain "I Ain't Mad at Cha." But in the video, 'Pac, with eerie precision, meets his end with gunfire, and speaks to his friend from the perspective of the afterlife, clad in all white, interspersed with a heaven sequence filled with other departed icons. This joint pretty much speaks for itself.

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Ru Johnson
Contact: Ru Johnson