Rap City: Complications In The 2Pac Murder Case Plus Lil Yachty and J. Cole’s 'The Recipe'

After 30 years, Duane “Keffe D” Davis' admissions led to an arrest in 2Pac's murder, highlighting challenges in rapper murder investigations and we take a broader dive into rap culture's milestones and transformations.

Nearly 30 years after 2Pac was murdered in September 1996, police have finally arrested someone who probably should’ve been a prime suspect this whole time. South Side Crip Duane “Keffe D” Davis has publicly spoken for years about how involved he was in the shooting. His admission starts as early as BET’s 2018 documentary Death Row Chronicles, and continued with his 2019 memoir Compton Street Legend, and again in an interview with VladTV, the go-to media source for admitting your crimes. In each of those accounts, Davis said he drove the car that had the gunman inside — widely believed to be Davis’ nephew Orlando Anderson, who was attacked by Pac and others that same day. Before capitalizing on his story through book sales and internet clicks, Davis had reportedly confessed to a role in the shooting to police as part of immunity in a proffer agreement. It’s unclear how the terms of that agreement changed between then and now, or if the proffer will complicate the case.

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I’ve never been into the true crime genre, but it was always confusing that there were so many TV shows and films about Shakur’s murder — it felt like the filmmakers and showrunners somehow knew details about the shooting that police didn’t. In his standup special Never Scared, Chris Rock joked that the U.S. government’s hate for rap was clear with police’s refusal to make arrests regarding rappers’ murders. “If you want to get away with murder, all you’ve gotta do is shoot somebody in the head and put a demo tape in their pocket!” Rock said. It’s tough to see this as any evidence to the contrary.  According to New York Times, police blame a lack of cooperation from witnesses as the reason for why early investigations in the case stalled.

Sadly, rappers being murdered is so entrenched in the story of the culture that even if Davis was locked up, it likely wouldn’t make for much of a blip on the radar. We simply mourn artists when they die, commemorate them as the years pass, and move on afterward.

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Do The Knowledge: While some fans enjoyed the macabre energy of Doja Cat’s “Demons,” many also felt the music video was trying too hard with its devilish images. Writer Taylor Crumpton revisited hip-hop’s history with demonic imagery, citing everyone from Lil Nas X to DMX.

The Listening: Lil Yachty and J. Cole’s “The Recipe” is one of the most satisfying songs of 2023 for multiple reasons. With J. Cole’s stunning four-to-five-year run of blistering features, how much more do we need to put him in the conversation as a top 10 guest verses rapper of all time? Yachty deserves just as much love here: some may have seen him as a parody act early on, but this year alone he's released an intriguing psychedelic rock album and was brave enough to go toe-to-toe with one of rap’s best without trying too hard to catch up.

They Reminisce Over You: On Oct. 7 2003, J Dilla and Madlib formed the duo Jaylib to create their joint album, Champion Sound. It’s been 20 years, but the album still sounds just as great as it always has. Both of them are known for their inventive, off-kilter production, but their in-the-pocket flows complimented their beats perfectly. “McNasty Filth,” featuring Dilla’s homies Frank-N-Dank, is one of my favs.

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