Nearly 15 years after Tupac Shakur was pistol-whipped, shot five times and left for dead outside a New York recording studio, new evidence has surfaced implicating two associates of entertainment mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs for orchestrating the rap icon's ambush, AllHipHop.com has learned.
In an upcoming article written by Chuck Phillips on the latest developments, the Los Angeles Times claims that Combs was notified in advance that the trap for Shakur had been laid, according to sources familiar with the incident.
"Tupac was mostly right about what he wrote about [in his songs]," author Chuck Phillips told AllHipHop.com, although he admitted Shakur "had a couple of things wrong" in regard to Bad Boys possible role in the shooting.
The article claims that Combs was present in the Quad Recording Studio with at least two dozen Bad Boy Records associates when the assault took place 10 floors below, in the lobby.
"Tupacs shooting at the Quad was really catalyst for everything that happened afterwards including his own death and including the death of Biggie," Phillips said. "It started the whole thing off and if you lay it out in a timeline which I do, you can just see; its obvious and kind of sad for two guys to be this talented. I ended up with a much larger story than I imagined."
Sources familiar with the incident state that James "Jimmy" Sabatino and Czar Entertainment CEO Jimmy "Henchmen" Rosemond were among those that Combs met on the night in question.
Sabatino, the son of a reputed captain in the Colombo crime family, reportedly told Combs personally that Shakur would be attacked at Quad Recording Studio.
Rosemond, who people speculate paid Shakur back for being slighted over prior agreements, is also said to have formed a close relationship with Combs following the attack.
"One of the people involved in what happened to Tupac has family associated with the mob. It wasnt by them; it didnt have anything to do with the mob," Phillips continued. "This person was at Quad studios that night, and this person knew Puffy and Biggie and Jimmy Henchmen and Haitian Jack. A white Italian guy; hes now in jail. Hes involved in this and frankly I never knew anything about this situation."
Soon after Shakurs 1994 assault, sources claim that Sabatino allegedly introduced Combs to mobsters and escorted the music executive to mobbed-up nightclubs in New York and Miami after he was welcomed into Combs' inner circle.
Combs reportedly invited Sabatino on his 1997 No Way Out tour, where the alleged mob associate used fake credit cards to charge up hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills for posh hotel suites, limousines and parties allegedly on behalf of the Bad Boy entourage.
Sabatinos relationship with Combs allegedly continued as he worked with the moguls Bad Boy Records until his 1998 arrest in London.
Sabatino was later extradited to the United States, where he was convicted and jailed.
He is currently serving 12 years in a federal penitentiary in Pennsylvania for racketeering and wire fraud.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Sabatino maintained a presence at Bad Boy by financing a recording made by Shakurs musical rival, Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace, that was released after the East Coast rappers murder in 1997.
The implications are the latest in a series of events surrounding the murder Shakur, who was shot to death in 1996 in Las Vegas, and Wallace, who was slain the following year after leaving a party in Los Angeles.
Phillips admits he came across the new details surrounding the Quad Recording Studios shooting while investigating the still-unsolved murder of Wallace in New York.
Upon following up on leads, the writer claims he uncovered FBI records to support what he found, as well as interviewing key people with ties to the incident.
Conspiracy theories surrounding the Quad Recording Studio shooting have run rampant.
While some believe Wallace and Combs set up Shakur at the venue, others maintain the pair had nothing to do with the shooting, but had prior knowledge that Shakur was going to be robbed.
"I dont believe that Biggie and Puffy set Tupac up [to be shot]," Phillips said. "According to these people I have interviewed and according to these documents, they knew about it," he said. "But they didnt know they were going to get shot. They knew he was going to get beat up. Then it kind of went haywire when it all happened."
In addition to the new information, Phillips' story uncovers an ongoing New York federal grand jury that is currently investigating a series of unsolved Hip-Hop and rap-related crimes, including the 1994 Quad assault.
As recently as a month ago, interviews have been conducted surrounding a number of open cases.
Those interested in obtaining new information on the Quad Recording Studio shooting will be able to examine photo galleries, copies of confidential documents related to the shootings.
An interactive timeline as well as audio of lyrics and videos from Shakur and Wallace will also be featured when Phillips story on the incident becomes available Monday (March 17) on the L.A. Times website or by visiting http://www.latimes.com/tupac
Interestingly, the case has ties to the murder of Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell as well.
One of the men present when Shakur was shot, Randy "Stretch" Walker, was later gunned down in Queens, New York on November 30, 1995, exactly one day to date of the Quad shooting.
Sources have long stated that Walker's alleged murderer, Ronald "Tinard" Washington, was also one of the men suspected of acting as a lookout when Jam Master Jay was gunned down on October 30, 2002.