Last Night In Vegas
"Frank I can’t breathe… I can’t breathe.”
The following weekend to the MTV Awards was Heavyweight champion Mike Tyson’s title defense against Bruce Seldon, an event Tupac and Suge Knight never missed. Since his release from prison from similar circumstance to Tupac’s, he has become a heroic figure for many gangbangers, black athletes and entertainers, and became a honourary member of the Death Row family. Tupac was always in the dressing room with Tyson before and after a fight as a close confidant. Suge Knight resided next door to him in Las Vegas, and the Death Row family was right there in Tyson’s corner. This weekend Tupac and Suge would enjoy the sun, casinos, women and the fight in Vegas like every other occasion in the gangsters’ desert. He entered Las Vegas with fiancé Kidada Jones, daughter of famous musician and owner of Vibe magazine, Quincy Jones. He would stay at the Luxor Hotel and later join up with Suge Knight and the Death Row entourage. The nearest accuracy to this night came from the account of his personal bodyguard, Frank Alexander who worked for Death Row under Suge Knight and Reggie Wright’s Wrightway Protection
Alexander was told by Death Row attorneys that he was not permitted in the state of Nevada to carry a firearm, as Death Row had failed to secure the appropriate clearances from the police. Alexander felt naked without a gun on his hip when on the job with Tupac. It was a must and he felt quite vulnerable. At this stage Tupac was losing big hands on the $25 blackjack table at the Luxor. Tupac was not sporting the gold chain with Death Row medallion seen as a strong sign of allegiance instead deferring to his $30,000 diamond studded replication of his own production company, Euphanasia which was a black angel fallen to it’s knees with head tilted down, backed by enormous wings and golden halo. This significant change caused a low rumble with fellow Death Row employees and Blood associates. Pac’s luck changed on the table and he stayed until later in the afternoon winning $1,400 to $2,000 a hand when he hopped over to the MGM Grand where the fight would later take place, via the footbridge. Tupac was not one to wait for anyone. His entourage kept up or lagged behind, including bodyguard Alexander who spent the afternoon chasing him down from casino floor to hotel rooms. The weather was typically steaming hot and Pac was refusing to wear his bulletproof vest.
At the start of Tyson’s scheduled fight, after the pre-fights Tupac was forced to wait at the entrance for Suge who held the front-row tickets. After some time, battling enclosing fans, Tupac grew impatient and threatened to buy his own tickets as it was getting close to the first bell. He stated he had no intention of coming to Vegas this weekend, in favour of spending the weekend in LA with Kidada. Suge finally arrived as Tupac quickly changed into a more amicable demeanor. They walked in, past celebrities like Rev. Jesse Jackson, NBA legends, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson, with hip-hop acts Run DMC who were booked to perform later at 662 and Too $hort. They took their seats for two minutes as the fight was over 55 seconds into the first round. Tyson burst out of his corner throwing devastating punches at a furious rate dropping Seldon to the canvas in 109 seconds. Tupac was thrilled by this show of tenacity and continually boasted about the hits like a child at a circus yelling “Fifty blows, fifty blows I counted them.” Tupac headed down toward Tyson’s dressing room with his Outlawz and Death Row entourage only to be told by Suge they had to leave. Pac contested that this would be the first time he hasn’t gone back to congratulate Tyson personally on his achievement. Suge grabbed his arm and led him towards the exit with Alexander shortly behind. As they approached the main lobby of the MGM, Suge embraced Pac like close brothers, buffered by Pirus and security, a Piru Travon ‘Tray’ Lane whispered into Tupac’s ear to point out a man in the lobby. This worried Alexander who was responsible for Pac’s safety, even when in the company of Suge Knight. The man standing alone looking like he was expecting someone was Orlando ‘Baby lane’ Anderson a Southside Crip and member of Bad Boys’ LA security. Orlando with 7-8 other Crips had encountered Tray outside a Foot locker store in Lakewood Mall and snatched the Death Row chain from around his neck as they beat on him. Volatile as always, especially in the company of his Death Row family, Tupac walked up to Orlando and cleanly dropped him with a blow to the head after asking him, “You from the south?” he struck him before he could answer. Orlando cowered down as the mob of Death Row surrounded him with kicks and punches. Alexander had pulled Pac out of trouble, as he did so the link off his medallion broke, as he went down to pick it up he was pulled back again by the very strong Alexander and ushered him out the nearest exit, with the Outlawz, Suge and his Pirus behind him. The whole scuffle was caught on CCTV.
The cavalcade from Death Row associates to awe-struck fans scuffled their way over to the Luxor hotel where Tupac would check in with Kidada in the room and change his outfit for the after-party at Suge’s club 662 later in the evening. As they resumed downstairs in the front drive, the Death Row vehicle procession was in full effect, a collection of dropped and chrome wheel Mercedes, BMWs, Cadillacs and Lexus’ nearly all black with tinted windows. This was a badass site on the road. Tupac rode in with Suge in his new one week old BMW 750IL yet to be fitted with registration plates as Alexander followed behind in Kidada’s Lexus (which he found out was running very low on fuel) with the Outlawz as were Pac’s instructions. Suge was in no rush as it was still too early for his usual grand entrance at the club. He instructed to meet half way at his house. (This was the residence used in the film Casino where DeNiro’s character Sam Rothstein lived, next door to Mike Tyson.) On the drive over Suge blasted Pac’s latest Don Kiluminati album, the bass was so loud from the sound system the ground was trembling. He loved to listen to his own tunes. Suge and Pac were both lead foots, hardly stopping at all for traffic lights, they reached Suge’s residence and stayed for a total of fifteen minutes before resuming their trip into town for 662.
As they entered the main strip a bicycle cop motioned for Suge to pull up as they were playing Makaveli’s music louder than the city limits allowed. The officer then asked Suge to exit the vehicle and open the trunk, very relaxed he followed orders and got back into his car and was free to continue on. Instead of driving right onto Tropicana to enter the club from the rear to avoid the crowds, he drove through traffic lights at an alarming rate taking Flamingo for a grand front entrance. Through The Strip the entrance was a spectacle. Women were sidling up to the line of luxury vehicles with their breasts out and hitched skirts with flirtatious intentions. The crowd of fans almost swarmed Suge and Pac’s car when they reached the front of the Maxim Hotel. They stopped at the next red light on Korval Lane. A Chrysler sedan with four young ladies immediately pulled up on the BMW’s left catching Pac’s attention. Moments later on the opposite lane heading toward Suge’s car, a white Cadillac screeched to a halt slightly in front and to the left passenger side where Tupac was. Four black men were seated inside the car as the left rear window opened stretching a black arm out extended by a .40 calibre Glock. Between ten to fifteen shots were fired into the vehicle. There were over a hundred or so witnesses watching as Pac climbed into the backseat and got hit four times in the process. Two bullets ripped open his torso splitting his “Thug Life” tattoo in half while the two other bullets wounded him in the hand and leg. The Cadillac sped away and turned right in the direction of Korval Lane away from The Strip.