James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond’s future is becoming darker by the day. On June 5th, he was found guilty of running a drug ring that stretched from New York to California. He is now facing life in prison. As if that wasn’t enough, he was indicted for conspiracy to commit murder while being tried for the drug trafficking charges. Perhaps the biggest bombshell came on June 12th, courtesy of reporter Chuck Phillips. Phillips claims that during a 2011 proffer session with the government, Rosemond admitted to his involvement in the 2004 shooting of Tupac Shakur at Quad Studios.
Rosemond’s attorney has since denied such claims, but the damage has already been done. Many see these recent developments as Rosemond’s comeuppance for crossing Tupac. While the Quad Studios Ambush may seem like very small potatoes in comparison to murder and large scale drug trafficking, the immense ripple effect of that single event is undeniable. It was the touching off point for the Death Row/Bad Boy beef and the fabled East Coast/West Coast war.
Many have long suspected Rosemond’s involvement. Some see his alleged confession merely as the confirmation of something that has always been widely known though never proven. Tupac fans see it as divine justice, and validation of Tupac’s prophetic powers. This is likely due to the now infamous line from “Against All Odds,”: “Promised a payback, Jimmy Henchman, in due time.”
With all due respect to Pac’s “psychic” abilities, Rosemond brought all of this on himself. His downfall has less to do with karma, and everything to do with running a continuing criminal enterprise. Had he not been trafficking in drugs, he likely wouldn’t be facing life in prison right now. Hence, there wouldn’t be a need to reveal his involvement in past crimes or negotiate with the federal government. Pac didn’t orchestrate the investigation that led to his arrest, or the resulting trial. Rosemond dug his own grave, pure and simple.
That Tupac fans continue to believe otherwise speaks to a much larger problem that has always plagued the rapper’s legacy. The Murders of Tupac and B.I.G have always been seen as some grand conspiracy that involves the government, the L.A.P.D, and no less than the entire New York rap industry circa 1994. That view has always prevented fans from seeing the forest for the trees.
In his 2011 book Murder Rap: The Untold Story of the Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations, former LAPD detective Greg Kading goes a long way in dispelling many of the conspiracy theories that fans hold dear. He names the shooters, and offers accounts of sting operations that led to taped conversations and admissions of guilt. Neither Russell Poole nor anyone else has been able to intelligently refute his theories and findings. Still, Tupac fans continue to ignore such things, because they don’t add up with the image of their hero.
Sadly, all of the conspiracy theorizing and hero worship obscures the real tragedy in all of this. Two incredibly gifted artists, both of whom embodied the hopes and dreams of a generation, lost their lives over trivial bullshit. The underworld has always played a prominent role in the entertainment industry. It’s par for the course.
Generations of entertainers, both Black and White, have consorted with gangsters and lived to ripe old ages. Neither their lives nor their careers were adversely affected. When a couple of them actually meet with a violent end due to these associations, people insist there had to be extraordinary circumstances. There just had to be something bigger at play. Such attitudes make it virtually impossible for anyone to actually learn something from the demises of Pac and B.I.G.
Hero worship can be blinding. Hip-Hop fans that came of age in the 1990’s remain in a state of stunted growth due to their fascination with Tupac and B.I.G. They’ve refused to truly embrace many of the iconic artists that have come along since then, believing all of them to be pretenders to the throne. Jimmy Henchman played with fire one too many times in his life, and finally got engulfed by the flames. That would have happened regardless of his involvement with the Quad Studios ambush. Accepting that small truth might just help all of us put the legacy of our idols in better perspective.
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