With opportunities drying up, Shakur was fast going into debt and needed an infusion of cash. He agreed to rap on a record being made by Little Shawn, an up-and-comer signed to Andre Harrell‘s Uptown Records and managed by James Rosemond (aka “Jimmy Henchman”), who knew Agnant.
In November 1994, Shakur suggested in an interview with the New York Daily News that Agnant—who Shakur reportedly called a “hanger-on”—had set him up in the rape case. He said he’d also seen Agnant hanging out with Biggie.
On Nov. 30, Shakur went to the NYC recording studio Quad to cut the track for Little Shawn. He was with his sister’s boyfriend Zayd; Live Squad rapper Randy “Stretch” Walker, a mutual friend of his and Biggie’s; and Stretch’s friend Fred.
According to Shakur’s account, when they got there, there was a guy in army fatigues outside and another in the lobby, neither of whom he knew, but he assumed they worked security for Biggie. On their way to the elevator, Shakur said, the two men pulled out guns and told everyone to get down and take off their jewelry. Shakur was shot five times.
Still, he made his way to the elevator and went upstairs, where a group was assembled, including Combs, Biggie and Harrell. According to some accounts, the police who arrived at the scene were the same three who had arrested Shakur for sexual assault, including one who had just testified at his trial. (Shakur told Vibe he recognized the cop after he got shot.) But former NYPD detective Bill Courtney, who had worked with a task force quietly set up to monitor the hip-hop community for potential criminality, told XXL magazine in 2011 that those weren’t the same cops.
Courtney did, however, believe that the shooting was payback for something. (In 2011, a prison inmate serving a life sentence for murder wrote to AllHipHop.com claiming that Jimmy Rosemond hired him to shoot Shakur at Quad; Rosemond’s attorney brushed that off as nothing but an inmate’s attempt to get his sentence shortened.)