Tupac Performed at the Capitol Theatre in Flint, Michigan. The date was April 16, 1993.
On that April 16 date, Tupac was in and out of court as he appeared before Judge David L. Jordon for Case No. 93-561. Both an assistant prosecutor and Tupac’s attorneys agreed to waive the preliminary exam, according to court records. In September, Tupac would eventually plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge, per Associated Press accounts, and agreed to serve 10 days in the Ingham County Jail.
Once his legal troubles were handled, Tupac finally made his way to Flint that afternoon. He strolled around the Genesee Valley Center for gear then settled in his hotel room at Holiday Inn before the show.
A black stretch limousine waited for Tupac when he arrived at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on the morning of April 16, 1993. His Thug Life group members and road manager, Charles Fuller, accompanied him.
Tupac’s first order of business wasn’t getting settled or attending sound check. The rap star had a court appearance.
So instead of driving to Flint first, Tupac, Hopkins and his camp traveled another 88.6 miles for an hour and 23-minute trip to East Lansing District Court.
Tupac was facing criminal charges that stemmed from an April 5, 1993, Michigan State University concert where he was arrested for swinging a baseball bat at Chauncey Wynn, another Flint native and executive director for Rice’s Fly Records.
Marijuana smoke trailed Tupac Shakur as he entered the Capitol Theatre front door with a five of his Thug Life partners.
Instead of being introduced from behind the curtains, the 23-year-old rapper strolled through the middle of the crowd of maybe 100 or so ticket holders, including popular Flint artist MC Breed, to headline his first show in downtown Flint.
“And most of them there was our family and friends,” party promoter Marvin “M-Hop” Hopkins laughs while describing the scene.
Local acts Top Authority, Black Castophal and Jake the Flake had just completed their sets ahead of him.
Brilliant Minds Productions was charging $15 per person for general admission after spending at least $14,000 to fly in Tupac, plus fulfill his requests of plane tickets and hotel rooms for his entire crew.
Lack of radio promotion played a big factor in the lackluster turnout at Capitol Theatre, but the rookie promoters were also victims of a double crossing. Little did they know, Stick-N-Move Records was also planning a promotional party for MC Breed’s “The New Breed” album that same night.
Of course, MC Breed and Tupac’s hit song “Gotta Get Mine” was featured on the album, so Stick-N-Move organizers marketed him as a special guest at their show, too – which was happening at the Windmill Place, less than a mile away.
Popular local acts The Dayton Family, Top Authority and Jake the Flake were also performing at the Windmill Place, with west coast legend The D.O.C. in town.
“They couldn’t compete with that,” Jake the Flake said of Tupac’s promoters. “I wouldn’t have done that to those young dudes like that but [Stick-N-Move] didn’t have any remorse or compassion for that. But it was a big success and it blew up just like he knew it would. It was the hottest thing in town.”
The double-cross also came with rounds of gunfire when Loyd, Hopkins and their friend Louis Williams allege they were shot at in front of the Capitol Theatre after Tupac’s show.
“They were advertising Tupac, so we were supposed to be getting paid,” Loyd said. “So as we were on our way over to that gig, to keep us from going, some dudes drove by and started shooting at us right in downtown Flint. So, that pissed me off even more.”
That still didn’t stop them from barging into the spot.
Williams said he strolled in at the Windmill Place right next to Tupac.
“When we got out, I didn’t know Tupac had beef,” Williams said. “Pac was asking me questions about if Flint was cool? He said, ‘I could live here’ and blah, blah, blah. So, when we went in the Windmill people were looking at me funny.”
Footage of Tupac performing “Gotta Get Mine,” with Breed, rocking a baggy striped shirt and Thug Life beanie, has made its rounds across Facebook, although he wasn’t supposed to. His booking agency was upset when they found out what happened, according to Loyd.
At least 400 folks packed the tiny room at Windmill Place, with maybe 75 of them on stage, for an epic moment in the city’s music history. Not many photos are in existence, but those in attendance will never forget.
Tupac didn’t end up staying for the entire Breed show but did party that night in Flint at the hotel. He checked out of his room the next afternoon, with Loyd, Hopkins and Williams riding to drop him off at the Detroit airport.
During the ride, the Flint natives claim he felt bad about the promotional situation and left his personal number to someday collaborate on a song, but it never happened for various reasons.
Who was there?