Former Los Angeles Times reporter Chuck Philips was renowned for his in-depth investigative reports on the shooting deaths of Tupac Shakur and Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace, uncovering some of the most important research on the cases. But it was Philips’ investigation into the 1994 Quad Studios ambush of Tupac Shakur – which led to the dissolution of Shakur and Wallace’s friendship, and in turn the eventual Bad Boy vs. Death Row feud – that cost him his job at the Times . Yesterday, the Village Voice posted a fascinating first-hand account by Philips of how evidence he’d uncovered in his March 2008 story for The Times – which fingered Jimmy “Henchman” Rosemond as responsible for ordering the ambush on Shakur at Quad Studios — resulted in a campaign to discredit him as a reporter via fake FBI documents allegedly created by Henchman associates that Philips unwittingly included in his report. And despite Philips’ insistence that his research held up apart from the falsified documents, the Times did not have his back, and he was eventually forced out of his job.
Writes Philips: “The minute the FBI 302s were exposed as fakes, Henchman publicly accused me of fabricating documents to defame him. He claimed my piece was slanderous and had forever damaged his reputation. To me, it seemed comical that a convicted felon calling himself “Tha Gangsta Manager of Rap” could blame a story like mine for tarnishing his reputation.
After all, it wasn’t until Tupac accused Henchman of orchestrating the ambush in 1994 that anyone in the industry actually paid any attention to him. Indeed, Henchman built a name for himself on the strength of rumors of his involvement in the brutal assault, which bolstered his street credibility in the early 1990s. Before the Quad ambush, Henchman was just another scar-faced hustler with a rap sheet of arrests for murder, robbery and multiple gun violations. He had been indicted for cocaine trafficking – a case in which police said he had personally ambushed a man (foreshadowing the attack on Tupac), and shot him in the face.
He was, in fact, a fugitive from justice on the night he invited Tupac to the studio stemming from a gun violation tied to the previous ambush in a drug conspiracy case. Back then, Henchman billed himself as the high priest of gangsta rap’s anti-snitch crusade, and ran a talent agency that represented a small stable of rat-hating artists who rapped about drug dealing, shootouts, and killing. Before his arrest, his most high profile client was the popular Los Angeles rapper, Game. Authorities now believe that Henchman’s agency was, in fact, merely a front for a massive national drug enterprise.”
Read the rest of Chuck Philips’ piece in the Village Voice .