Happy Birthday, Tupac: Rapper Would Have Been 40 Today (And Maybe He Is)

Rapper is healthy and celebrating, if you believe that New Zealand story

Tupac Shakur would have been 40 today.

Most rappers can't remain a cultural force for more than a decade, but the rapper, shot to death 15 years ago, is forever frozen at the age of 25.

Also read: Nate Dogg: Warren G, G-Funk, and the Robbery That Wasn’t 

And he remains as relevant as he ever was.

It's not just because of his music or movies, though they remind us of what a vibrant, evolving talent he was. We also remember him with a lingering, frustrating sense of injustice at his death and the failure to solve it.

Also read: Notorious B.I.G. FBI Documents Link LAPD to His Murder — But Still No Charges

Prison inmate Dexter Isaac chose the eve of the 40th birthday to claim on AllHipHop.com that he shot and robbed him at a recording studio in 1994, an attack Tupac survived. (An attorney for the man Dexter said hired him to commit the crime told The Daily News that Dexter's account was a "flat-out lie.")

The attention given to the claim illustrates how much fascination remains about the rapper's life and death. Hackers who planted a fake story last month claiming he was alive and in New Zealand had a keen sense of the public's imagination.

Every hop-hop fan wishes Tupac was still alive, or at least that they could understand why he died. Stories addressing the mysteries help fuel their desire for resolution.

But the mysteries help keep his memory alive.