On this day, November 5, in hip-hop history…
1996: Released a little less than two months after the death of Tupac Shakur, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory could have easily been interpreted as a cynical cash grab by Death Row Records looking to capitalize on the public’s interest in the slain icon. Instead, The 7 Day Theory features a laser-like intensity that captured the vengeful rage that characterized the mentality of ‘Pac’s final days. It is one of Shakur’s best records ever.
Adopting the pseudonym “Makaveli” for the album, Tupac takes square aim at his perceived enemies on The 7 Day Theory with a wrath rarely seen in hip-hop. Songs like “Bomb First (My Second Reply)”, and “Against All Odds” serve as an all-out assault on New York rappers such as Nas, Jay Z, Mobb Deep and of course, The Notorious B.I.G. Meanwhile on other parts of the LP, songs such as the reflective “To Live & Die In L.A.” find the spiritual contemplation that Tupac is also known for his in career.
Perhaps due to the unexpected quality of the posthumous release, the album seemed to consciously encourage conspiracy-minded fans into believing ‘Pac had faked his death the night of his murder. For example, ‘Pac’s adopted alias Makaveli is derived from famed Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli who faked his death only to return seven days later to take revenge upon his enemies. Meanwhile, songs like the spooky “Hail Mary” make allusions to the supernatural, adding fuel to the fire. For the conspiracy theorist’s coup de grâce, ‘Pac is depicted as Jesus Christ on the cover, who according to Christian religion rose from the dead. It’s a testament to the record that 17 years after his death, “Tupac Is Alive” conspiracy remains firmly ingrained in the pop culture mythos.
Beyond conspiracy theory and ‘Pac’s vengeful wrath, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory is simply good music. As the first in a long-line of Tupac posthumous material, The 7 Day Theory is a focused piece of work that highlights ‘Pac’s prodigious talents. 17 years later, it is widely considered a hip-hop classic and one of Tupac Shakur’s crowning achievements.