February 1, 1994
Los Angeles County Municipal Court
Case #RO617, The People v. Shakur
The Hughes brothers arrive at court with four bow-tied hired security, presumably the Nation of Islam’s Fruit Of Islam. Tupac strolls in twenty minutes later with the completed tracks from last night blasting in his headphones. He sits several rows in front of his brother Mo and his manager Watani, so that he can stare Allen and Albert down while he waits for his case to be called. When the clerk calls the case, “The People v. Shakur,” we are informed that there has been a change of venue. We are required to make our way to Division 75, located in a separate building. Two of the Hughes brothers security post themselves outside the courtroom as the Hughes brother’s entourage prepare to make their exit. Tupac makes it outside before Allen and Albert and walks up to one the brothas in a bowtie.
“What I wanna know is, since when did y’all start protecting niggas from other niggas?” he demands.
The brother is taken off guard but he tries to answer Tupac with a blank military stare. Just then the Hughes brothers come out of the courtroom.
“Aww, you l’il bitch!” Allen Hughes throws up his fists at Tupac. “Put ’em up!”
Tupac’s heart ask his ears for a soundcheck. Still, he’s not at a loss for words. He begins stripping—he tosses me his walkman.
“L’il bitch? Nigga you wasn’t saying that shit when I was whoopin’ yo ass all up and down the set of your video!”
“You and about 12 of your niggas,” retorts Allen with new-found confidence.
By now the bodyguards are holding Allen and Albert back and creating a barricade between the two crews, making the mistake of pushing Pac. Le’chelle Wooderd, Tupac’s attorney, and I, try and calm Pac down but it’s way past that. Before we can say ‘chill’ Pac has both Hughes brothers, their boy and all four of their security backed up against the wall.
“You gon’ need mothafuckin’ Farrakhan to calm me down! You got that? Farrakhan! You bean pie slinging, bow-tie wearing bitches. You wear bow-ties, remember that! I’ll have niggas from Crenshaw with AK’s and rags up here! Nigga, you don’t even know who you fucking with—these roots run deep!”
Finally, the sheriff’s department come storming around the corner. They throw Tupac against the wall and instruct the Hughes brothers to make their way downstairs.
“Officers. I’m so glad you arrived. These men were trying to attack me! Can you believe that? They tried to attack me with the Nation of Islam. Those are Farrakhan’s boys you know.” Tupac isn’t so hyped that he doesn’t know how to feed fat white-boys lies. “I’m so glad you here. I have full confidence in the law’s ability to handle the situation.” Watani rolls his eyes at Pac and refuses the Sheriff’s offer of an escort. After five minutes have passed, the officers allow us in the elevator.
When we get to Division 75, we’re searched and seated on separate sides of the courtroom from the Hughes brothers, who arrived five minutes earlier. Two of the bodyguards pull Pac aside. They want to assure him that although they are fans, they were hired by the Hughes brothers. They tell Pac that Allen and Albert are cowards, something he already knows, and seeks Pac’s reconciliation.
“This is the only one I’m really guilty of.” There are more than four outstanding criminal charges against Tupac, including rape and a possible manslaughter charge. But the Hughes brothers case is the most annoying for him. There is an unspoken law in our community that two Black men should avoid fighting when possible and when they do it, it should be fair and not fatal. Someone loses, someone wins. There may be retaliation. In worst case scenarios it may escalate to into full blow violence and neighborhood wars, but never should it be taken to the police.
As part of evidence, Allen Hughes submits photos taken the day he was beat down by Tupac. Allen claims that Tupac jumped him with a crew of people. Outside of the courthouse Pac denies planning to outnumber the Hughes brothers. “Them niggas [the one who jumped in once the fight began] knew them [the Hughes brothers] just like they knew me—from around the way. That wasn’t my video. That was a Spice One video. I got them niggas started making videos anyway. Plus, I came ready to kick both they asses myself!” Then with a grin. “Those other niggas didn’t get down with Thug Life until after that shit happened.”