“A barrel-chested black man with a front tooth missing, relaxed yet instinctively cautious, is seated across from four spellbound cops in a glass-walled conference room at 8200 Wilshire Blvd.”
So begins today's LA Weekly expose on new revelations in the double murder investigation of L.A. rapper Tupac Shakur and his New York competition, Biggie Smalls.
For West Coast hip-hop loyalists, the confession of interest is that of Duane Keith “Keffe D” Davis, who says Sean “Diddy” Combs offered him $1 million to kill Tupac and his manager, Suge Knight. But that's just the tip of the iceberg:
A three-hour recording of Keffe D's admissions, lifted from LAPD archives by ex-Detective Greg Kading and reviewed by the Weekly, paints a colorful backstory of the events leading up to Shakur's murder. Here are 10 insane highlights.
10. Cops have been following Keffe D for the last year, gathering enough evidence about the PCP ring he's been running to put him away for 25 years to life — motivation for him to become an informant on the Shakur case. In this clip, Detective Kading and Keffe D establish the terms of the agreement.
Detective Kading: “What about that whole shit about Tupac?” [Referring to a statement the gangster gave to the FBI in 1997, saying he had nothing to do with the murder and guessing that Suge Knight may have killed Shakur for threatening to leave Death Row Records.]Keffe D: “Oh, that was bullshit.”Detective Kading: “OK. … Keffe, today what we're going to do, we're just going to go over with a fine-toothed comb the Las Vegas incident. … But we do have to emphasize to you that everything in this report has to be right on, because if down the road it's determined that some of these details are incorrect, then everything's off the table. So everything in this report cannot be like that report.”Keffe D: “Like I said that day, don't bullshit me, and I won't bullshit you.”
9. Keffe D makes sure detectives know who they're dealing with.Keffe D: “I'm a dangerous motherfucker without smoking weed, dude. I get mad easy, you know what I'm saying?”LAPD Detective Daryn Dupree: “We know you, man. We know what you can and can't do.”Federal agent: “That's how [Detective Kading] is without coffee.”Keffe D: “Keep me calm. Keep me from hurting people, man.”
8. Keffe D describes the moment his nephew, Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, allegedly shot Shakur. (See official cast of characters for more.)Detective Kading: So Orlando shot across Dre?Keffe D: “He leaned over, and Orlando rolled down the window, and popped him. If they would have drove on my side, I would have popped them. But they was on the other side.”…Federal agent: “Where does [Baby Lane] get the gun from?”Keffe D: “A little secret compartment that popped up.”Federal agent: “In the armrest?”Keffe D: “Yeah.”Detective Kading: “Was it a Glock?”Keffe D: “Yeah.”Detective Kading: “.40?”Keffe D: “Yeah. And I ain't ever told nobody that story, man.”
6. Keffe D says he was introduced to Combs through another Crip named “Zip,” who was also in on the million-dollar deal. However, Keffe D adds that he personally got on Combs' good side by lending him his car to use in Usher's first music video.Keffe D: “We met the boy [Combs] at the — he gave a BET party, or the BET awards, its like '92 or '93, at the club on Santa Monica. And uh, Mary J was [there]. And the tall dude, used to have the dreads, he's with Aftermath now, what's his name?”Federal agent: “Busta Rhymes?”Keffe D: Busta Rhymes. … Me and him almost got in a fight. I was suited … He thought he was all big shit. I was all, 'We going to beat the fuck out of that boy.' He threw his drink on me, and I was like, 'Motherfucker!' Yeah, that's the first day I met Puff [Combs]. … And after that they used my car in the video.”Detective Dupree: “Which car was that?”Keffe D: “A '64 Chevy I had.”Detective Dupree: “What color was it?”Keffe D: “Brown. “Usher, he had Usher… It was Usher's video, and Puff [Combs] was driving the car.”Detective Dupree: “You remember the song?”Keffe D: “'Can I Get With It.' That was his first song ever — Usher's first song ever. He was in a Lakers uniform, and [Combs] had the little kid dancing on the car. When I got it back, it was fucked up, and he paid to get it repainted. He sent me $2500 for that.”
5. Investigators ask Keffe D when the animosity between Bad Boy Entertainment and Death Row Records first began to fester.Detective Dupree: “Did Puffy have a place out here [in Los Angeles]?”Keffe D: “He used to stay if Shug was outta here. … He was scared shitless.”Detective Dupree: “So that beef had started by then?”Keffe D: “No, it started when they went out to that award show…”
4. By Keffe D's account, Zip, Combs and himself discussed the hit on Shakur once at a concert in Anaheim and “a couple of times” at Greenblatts Deli on the Sunset Strip.Detective Kading: “Tell us what happened that made it something other than just him frustrated and boasting — 'Man, I'll give you guys anything.' What made it specific, like, 'Hey, I'm serious, I want you guys to kill these guys'?”Keffe D: “When he told me at Greenblatts.”Detective Kading: “How'd that go, like what was the conversation?”Federal agent: “And who's 'he'?”Keffe D: “Puff.”Detective Kading: “How's the conversation go? … We need really specific details regarding that.”Keffe D: “We wanted a million.”Detective Kading: “All right, so you meet him at Greenblatts. For lunch or dinner or what?”Keffe D: “This was dinner, in the evening.”Detective Kading: “Who else was there?”Keffe D: “All of us — Corey, everybody. All our crew.”Detective Kading: “Everybody's hearing this conversation between you and Puff?”Keffe D: “He was talking to me. … When we got there we was laughing at him, cause he was with this broad that sucked dick, and sucked every dick in there, and he's all held up kissing with her. We was laughing like a motherfucker. He's like, 'Man, what you laughing at dog?' Man, don't just come out here and get any broad, dog. … He took me downstairs and he's like, 'Man, I wanna get rid of them dudes, man.' … I was like, 'We'll wipe their ass out quick, man. It's nothing.'”
3. The motivation behind Combs' alleged order to kill Knight and Shakur, says Keffe D, was fear that the other side would strike first.Detective Dupree: “When [Combs] asked about [Shakur and Knight], would he always say both of them?”Keffe D: “He added the boy [Shakur] on after he made a record.”Detective Dupree: “Before that it was just Suge? And then after 'Hit 'Em Up' came out?”Keffe D: “Yeah, yeah, that pissed [Combs] off.”
2. Keffe D says he's known Suge Knight since childhood, growing up on the streets of Compton. So when Keffe D first started hanging out with Combs, he says the Death Row boss kept badgering him, like, how you meet them guys? “Same way I met you, motherfucker,” he remembers answering. (Aka, the drug trade.) Making the moment they lock eyes during the 1996 shooting even more dramatic:Keffe D: “We came up Harmon, got to Las Vegas Boulevard, and shit, here he come in that BMW. … Broads like, 'Tupac! Tupac!' and we like, 'There they go!' Made a U-turn, we wasn't supposed to make a U-turn. … And they was in the middle lane, and we just pulled up on the side and checked every car to see where they was.”…Detective Kading: “So Lane starts blasting and Suge looks over and sees you?”Keffe D: “Yeah.”Detective Kading: “He looks right at you?”Keffe D: “Yeah, he looked at me. … We've known each other since we was seven or eight years old.”Detective Kading: “He looks over at you, and then, Tupac's busy getting shot — story is tupac's either trying to get out of the way…”Keffe D: “He's in the backseat or something.”Detective Kading: “What do you see happening?”Keffe D: “I see the bullet go in Shug's head. I thought he was dead. I thought he was dead. It must have scraped him or something, in the head or something. … I thought he was dead.”
1. Most ironically, Keffe D says he never got the money Combs had allegedly offered him. Word on the street, according to Keffe D, is that Combs gave half the reward to Zip (seeing as Suge Knight was still alive), and Zip never relayed it back to its rightful owner. This might have been the fateful mistake that led to Keffe D's confession:Detective Kading: “Since you've been out of prison, have you talked to Zip?”Keffe D: “Not one time.”Detective Kading: “What about Puffy?”Keffe D: “Not one time. I tried to call them several times though … If he would have just given us half the money, I would have stayed strong.”