Diddy's Rumored Involvement In Tupac's Death Explained

For decades, the details surrounding Tupac Shakur's murder had largely been a mystery. Although it was widely known that the legendary rapper succumbed to his injuries just short of a week after he was shot four times in a drive-by incident in Las Vegas in 1996, no one could point to who did the actual shooting. Although many theories circulated over who was responsible, concrete evidence was elusive. Among the accusations was one pointed directly at Sean "Diddy" Combs, based on claims from Duane "Keffe D" Davis, the only individual ever arrested in connection with the murder and who retired police officer Greg Kading says was the "last man standing among the individuals that conspired to kill Tupac," as noted by AP News. Per Keffe D, it was Diddy who ordered the hit on Tupac.

It took nearly three decades for authorities to arrest someone for Tupac's murder. In September 2023, the police took Keffe D into custody, linking him directly to the crime. "Duane Davis was the shot caller for this group of individuals that committed this crime, and he orchestrated the plan that was carried out," Las Vegas police homicide Lt. Jason Johansson said in a statement. He was later charged with murder with the use of a deadly weapon, to which he pleaded not guilty.

As reported by CNN, police also posited that Keffe D "began to devise a plan to obtain a firearm and retaliate against Suge Knight and Mr. Shakur" after learning that the two had attacked his nephew, Orlando Anderson that same night. However, Keffe D maintained that the directive to kill Tupac came from Diddy.

Keffe D said Diddy offered to pay him to kill Tupac

In the late 2000s, under a proffer agreement with the authorities, Keffe D made a shocking revelation to Greg Kading, a former LAPD detective who had worked on Tupac's case for years and subsequently self-published a book about it. Keffe D claimed that Sean "Diddy" Comb offered him $1 million to assassinate Tupac and Marion Hugh "Suge" Knight Jr., the head of Death Row Records, a rival to Diddy's Bad Boy Records.

In the interviews reviewed by LA Weekly, Keffe D claimed that the initial target was Suge, sparked by a public insult at an award show. "He took me downstairs and [Diddy's] like, 'Man, I wanna get rid of them dudes, man.'... I was like, 'We'll wipe their a** out quick, man. It's nothing,'" However, Tupac came into the picture following the release of the track "Hit 'Em Up," which directly dissed Diddy. "That pissed [Combs] off,'" Keffe D said. While Keffe D mostly followed through with the deal (Suge managed to survive), he never received the payment he was promised, which factored in his decision to break his silence. "If he would have just given us half the money, I would have stayed strong."

Only Keffe D has made these assertions so far, so there's no way of telling if any of it is true. According to Kading, more people would have to move forward with similar claims. "They're going to need very credible substantiating witnesses," he told Rolling Stone. "Whether those people exist or not, I don't know. I've always given a caveat to the whole 'Puffy' Combs connection."

Diddy has always maintained his innocence

Ever since Keffe D's claims were made public, Diddy has actively sought to refute them. He emailed LA Weekly telling the outlet that the "story is pure fiction and completely ridiculous." The producer also reiterated his denial in 2016 when Greg Kading's book was released as a documentary. "We don't talk about things that are nonsense. We don't even entertain nonsense, my brother. We'll not even go there, with all due respect," he said in an interview on "The Breakfast Club."

Diddy even took steps to personally assure Tupac's family of his innocence. Mopreme Shakur, Tupac's stepbrother, revealed on "The Art of Dialogue" podcast that Diddy contacted him in 2008 to address the rumors directly. "Puff called me back in the day. He was like, 'I just want you to know I ain't have nothing to do with your brother's [murder]. I know who you are, but we never met and I just want to call you man to man and let you know that I ain't have nothing to do with your brother's death,'" he said. "I told him I appreciate the call, but the truth has yet to come out, so we gon' see."

Diddy's call apparently coincided with a 2008 article in The Los Angeles Times suggesting his involvement in a 1994 attack on Tupac, which the newspaper later retracted. The Times later acknowledged that the piece "created the impression that Combs was involved in arranging the attack" and that it "wishes to correct that misimpression, which was neither stated in the article nor intended."