THE Los Angeles Times has linked two former associates of rap mogul Sean â€œDiddyâ€ Combs to a 1994 assault on singer Tupac Shakur and suggested Combs knew of the attack in advance. Combs called the story â€œa lieâ€.
The newspaperâ€™s report on Monday cited an unnamed source who said he was questioned during a federal probe of the shooting and beating of Shakur at the Quad Recording Studios in New York City.
Combsâ€™ associates helped plan the attack, the source told the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Times. The paper said it corroborated the sourceâ€™s comments in several ways. The Times suggested Combs and another rapper, the Notorious BIG (Christopher Wallace), knew Shakur was being set up. For years, Shakur claimed Combs was involved, it said.
â€œThis story is a lie,â€ Combs said in a statement on Monday. â€œIt is beyond ridiculous and is completely false. Neither Biggie (Wallace) nor I had any knowledge of any attack before, during or after it happened.â€
Shakurâ€™s assault ignited a widely reported feud between US East Coast and West Coast rappers that resulted in insults hurled back and forth in songs and, on occasion, violence against members of both camps.
Shakur, a rising star in the early 1990s with hit CDs such as 2pacalypse Now and a member of the West Coast group, was killed in 1996 in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.
Six months later, Notorious BIG, who was signed to Combsâ€™ New York-based Bad Boy Records, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles.
Neither of the murders has been solved and speculation persists about possible suspects. Similarly, the identity of Shakurâ€™s attackers at Quad Studios and the motive remain mysteries despite an FBI probe.
The Times said it recently obtained FBI records showing a confidential informant had implicated two New York rap figures at the time â€” talent manager James â€œJimmy Henchmanâ€ Rosemond and promoter James Sabatino â€” as having â€œset up the rapper Tupac Shakur to get shot at Quad Studios.â€
The paperâ€™s story linked Rosemond and Sabatino to Combs, who wanted to sign Shakur to a recording contract. It said Rosemond and Sabatino helped plan the attack â€œto punish Shakur for disrespecting them and rejecting their business overtures and, not incidentally, to curry favour with Combs.â€
Rosemond, jailed for three years after a 1996 conviction on drugs and weapons charges, has for years denied any involvement in the 1994 attack on Shakur and he declined comment for the Times story.Â In a statement on Monday, Rosemond said he has never been questioned by police or federal officials about the assault, let alone charged with the crime. â€” Reuters.