Friday September 18th


* 2PAC AND J.DOW FOUND DEAD AT L.A. NIGHTCLUB *


The music world was in shock today as the news spread - two of the industry's brightest stars found dead in downtown L.A.

In the early hours of Friday morning, police were called to the notorious Galliard nightclub to remove the bullet-ridden bodies of Tupac "2pac" Shakur, self-styled "thug" rapper, and John "J.Dow" Dowland, rising star of the Elizabethan lutecore movement. This is a tragic end to a partnership that helped reinvent music in the first decade of the 21st century, and fans worldwide have gathered on the internet to mourn and to reflect on the mercurial history of these two visionary artists.

After his untimely death in 1996, Shakur had fallen into a creative slump, releasing a string of lacklustre posthumous albums to a public apparently more interested in his larger-than-life gangsta persona than in his musical gifts. By 2000, he had all but severed his connection with the music scene, choosing instead to concentrate on his other passions in life: disrespecting women, social equality and collecting stamps.

This was all to change after Shakur happened upon the work of young John Dowland, who was then a relative unknown, labouring in the obscurity of the underground 16th-century English lute scene. Hearing Dowland reinvigorated Shakur's interest in music, as evidenced by the following entry on his blog:

"Yo, tasted some of this John Dowland sh-t on some b-tch's iPod. Y'all heard of this guy? Gangsta, man. Check this Dowland kid out, y'all. He's all up in that motherf-cking fretboard busting out all kinds of crazy sh-t. I'm telling you, man, that sh-t is harmonious to my motherf-cking eardrums."

2pac and J.Dow in happier days

Shakur arranged a meeting with the young lutenist, and the two mavericks developed an immediate rapport. Shakur soon announced that he would be funding and producing Dowland's debut album, and talk soon spread of a upcoming collaboration between the two.

In May 2004, the new Shakur/Dowland single Flow my motherf-cking tears was released online and in stores. Reception was mixed. Pitchfork.com described the collaboration as "incomprehensibly awful and thoroughly misguided", though Lute Lover's Monthly was more favourable, describing it as "interestingly flawed".

The poor performance of the single created a rift between Shakur and Dowland, each blaming the other for its failure. Shakur withdrew his support for Dowland's solo debut, prompting years of acrimonous litigation and public bitterness. In a 2006 interview, Shakur denounced the whole lutecore movement which had come to dominate American hip-hop and r'n'b, and looked for ways to reinvent his sound.

"That lute sh-t is old, man, you hear what I'm saying? I'm'a be all up in your grill with motherf-cking madrigals and sh-t. You hear me? I'm talking complex f-cking polyphony, b-tch n-----s. West coast for life!"

Relations between Dowland and Shakur steadily deteriorated, culminating in a drunken punchup at the 2008 MTV Music Awards. Restraining orders were put in place, and for months the feud lay seemingly dormant, until yesterday the following poignant exchange was broadcast on Twitter, the popular web tool:

2pac: @jdow saw u on letterman with ur fatass lute. yo, u feeding it burgers n sh-t? sad, man.
jdow: @2pac dont u b dissin my theorbo, biatch.
2pac: @jdow cant hear u man. too busy sucking ur moms c-ck.
jdow: @2pac wtf that doesnt even make sense.
2pac: @jdow ha ha oh yeah? u want a piece of me, lute boy? bring it!
jdow: @2pac oh its on! [angry emoticon]

Dowland, incensed by Shakur's tweets, loaded his Glock pistol and proceeded straight to the Galliard nightclub, where Shakur had announced on Facebook that he was going to be "getting cozy with some b-tches." Dowland was seen entering the Galliard at 10:57pm.

The enigmatic "DSCH"

There are conflicting reports as to what happened next. Some witnesses claim a bloody gunfight broke out, scattering the crowd and damaging a rather fine art-deco sofa. Others insist that Dowland and Shakur achieved a reconciliation, and spent the evening drinking gin and juice and discussing ideas for a new collaboration. Whatever the case, neither would survive to see the next dawn.

In the early hours of the morning, a short, serious-faced Russian in a trenchcoat was seen leaving the Galliard, an AK-47 under his arm. Police have today taken into custody one Dmitri Shostakovich, author of numerous symphonies and former frontman for Russian boy band Stradaniya (known in the West as The Happy Party Boys). As he was handcuffed and led away, Shostakovich was heard to say: "Sic semper tyrannis, m----rfuckers. DSCH out."

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