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HomeMusic storiesTupac Shakur And Biggie Smalls - From Friends To Musical Rivals

Tupac Shakur And Biggie Smalls – From Friends To Musical Rivals

Tupac Shakur And Biggie Smalls – They were legendary of the golden age of hip-hop in the 1990s. Both were the main agents in the notorious East Coast – West Coast beef. But before it started they were actually friends. From trusted friends to mortal enemies, here’s what went down between the two Hip-Hop icons…

Born in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, went to Baltimore and then to Marin City, California where Tupac’s love and talent for poetry was bred. Next, he dancer for the Digital Underground group and eventually he took the mic in 1991, with his debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, released that year.

Meanwhile, Christopher “Biggie” Wallace, was raised in Brooklyn, spent his teen years attending prestigious high schools, dealing drugs in the streets and rapping for fun. “It was fun just hearing myself on tape over beats,” he said in his biography for Arista Records. But he was soon represented by Sean “Diddy” Combs (also known as “Puffy Daddy”). His first single, “Party and Bulls**t” came out in 1993.

The first met in 1993

Some say the pair met on the set of ‘Poetic Justice’. Tupac was playing Biggie’s ‘Party & Bulls**t’ on repeat, which was a big deal for a then up-and-coming Biggie. It was his first single. By that year, Tupac was already a platinum-selling artist,the Brooklyn-bred rapper asked his drug dealer to introduce him to Tupac at a Los Angeles party.

The duo and their mutual friends spent the day at Tupac’s house. He pulled out a bag filled with unloaded guns, which Biggie and his entourage took to the backyard and played with as Tupac cooked up some steaks and french fries for the group. Tupac also gifted the up-and-coming rapper a bottle of Hennessy. One of the members of Biggie’s entourage, Dan Smalls, said this day was the start of the pair’s friendship.

Tupac wanted to help his new friend with his career, he let him into his circle  and they had a seemingly strong friendship.

Tupac’s friend, rapper EDI Mean recalled the pair spending time at each other’s homes anytime they traveled to their respective coasts. When Biggie would travel to Los Angeles, he would sleep on Tupac’s couch and when Tupac would travel to New York, he would spend time in Biggie’s neighborhood, shooting dice with the locals. On one trip, he picked up Biggie in a white limousine. Tupac would also be instrumental in the New York-based rapper’s career. Hip-hop producer, D-Dot described their relationship as similar to that between a teacher and a student.


Even though he got to make a cameo at the concert, Biggie was still relatively unknown outside of Brooklyn. Tupac, on the other hand, was extremely popular at the time. Yet, he would always give devoted attention to Biggie, grooming him and allowing him to perform at his concerts. Tupac said, “I trained that n****; he used to be under me like my lieutenant.”

Biggie often turned to Tupac for advice in the business — and even asked him to manage his career. But Tupac didn’t mix business with friendship: “Nah, stay with Puff. He will make you a star.” Things turned sour when Tupac failed to heed Biggie’s advice.Tupac’s advice paid off and after the release of Biggie’s first album in September 1994, “Ready to Die,” he became a superstar in the music world.

Things turned sour when Tupac failed to heed Biggie’s advice.

While in New York to shoot the 1994 film ‘Above the Rim’, Tupac began hanging around with Jaques ‘Haitian Jack’ Agnant and Jimmy Henchman. When Tupac noticed Haitian Jack surrounded by champagne and women at a Manhattan club, the rapper asked for an introduction. Biggie warned Pac not to befriend these notoriously tough guys, but to no avail. Tupac and Jack also hung out at Queens Bar with celebrities, including Madonna, Shabba Ranks, and Buju Banton- a Jamaican musician. He “loved the respect and recognition I got in New York, and I think he wanted the same respect.”

In November 1993, Tupac and Jack were hanging out at a club called Nell’s in Manhattan. There, Tupac met a 19-year-old girl named Ayanna Jackson. The girl alleged that the three men forced her to perform oral sex and gang-raped her. When she called the police, the three men were arrested. The police also found guns (Pac later said they belonged to Biggie). Pac was charged with sexual abuse, sodomy, and possession of illegal weapons.

Tupac believed Biggie had a hand in his 1994 gun down.

Although he was a big star, Tupac’s bank account withered. He was supporting his extended family and paying lawyers for his endless court cases. He needed money, and in 1994, the rapper was asked to record a verse for a rapper named Little Shawn, who was close friends with Biggie and Puffy. Although Tupac was no longer friends with Haitian Jack, he ultimately agreed. He was supposed to be paid $7,000, and he needed the money. Plus, they knew his pal, Biggie. Pac thought everything was fine, and he was ready to record. What he didn’t know was things were about to take a turn for the worst. Their infamous rivalry was about to begin.

On 30th November 1994, Tupac was shot outside Quad Recording Studios in Times Square. His assumptions were confirmed when Lil’ Cease, Biggie’s affiliated rapper, told him that Biggie was recording upstairs. Puffy was also there. However, before Tupac and his squad made it to the elevator, the three other men pulled out 9mm guns and ordered them to the floor.  Tupac was gunned down in the lobby and shot five times, according to the New York Times. He pretended to be dead, and as soon as they left, Pac raced to the elevator. When the doors opened, he saw Biggie, Puffy, and Henchman. Tupac claimed they looked guilty and surprised, but according to Puffy, they showed him “nothing but love and concern.” Tupac believed that this was not a random attack. He said, “It was like they were mad at me.”

Their friendship ended that night.

Days later, Pac was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for sexual abuse. Unable to pay the $3 million bail, Pac served most of his sentence in a maximum security prison. It was there that Tupac, along with head of Death Row Records Suge Knight, vowed to destroy Puff and Biggie’s rival label Bad Boy Records.


While Pac was in Jail, Biggie released ‘Who Shot Ya,’ an assumed dis track. But Biggie and Puff both claimed the song wasn’t about Tupac. Biggie even added that the song was written before Tupac’s shooting. “I’m still thinking this N****’s my man,” he said, referring to Tupac. He went on to say, “This sh*t’s just got to be talk, that’s all I kept saying to myself. I can’t believe he would think that I would sh*t on him like that.”

As Biggie downplayed the situation, Tupac did the opposite. He continued to trash his fellow-rapper. Not only did Tupac accuse Biggie of the shooting but, he claimed that Biggie also ripped-off his style. If things couldn’t get worse, Pac bragged about sleeping with Biggie’s wife, Faith Evans. Evans denied the claim, saying, “That ain’t how I do business.”

The punches continued to be thrown throughout their short lives, each side blaming the other. Tupac agreed to join Death Row records and expressed his anger at Biggie, telling Suge, “I need you to ride with me because I’m going to destroy Bad Boy Records. I believe they had something to do with me getting shot.” Suge pledged his loyalty, and from that moment, Tupac’s enemies would be his enemies. The Source Awards were the first shots fired and what would later be known as the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry. It should be noted that there is no proof that Biggie or Puffy had anything to do with the shooting, Tupac believed they did. However, when he Suge took his side, it spurred a war that ultimately ended with the deaths of Tupac and Biggie. 

Tupac Shakur Death

On 7th September 1996, Tupac was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting in Vegas. Sadly, the pair never settled their notorious beef before Tupac’s death. While there’s no evidence that Biggie or Puffy knew about Tupac’s shooting in advance, the murder has been shrouded in mystery, rumours and controversy since that fateful day.

After Tupac’s death, Biggie wanted to put an end to the coast-to-coast fighting. “We two individual people, we waged a coastal beef…one man against one man made a whole West Coast hate a whole East Coast. And vice versa. And that really bugged me out,” he said in an interview. “I’ve got to be the one to try to flip it… because Pac can’t be the one to try to squash it because he’s gone.”

According to Biggie’s wife – Faith Evans, her husband, was completely distraught by Pac’s death. She explained, “I remember Big calling me and crying. I know for a fact he was in Jersey. He called me crying because he was in shock. I think it’s fair to say that he was probably afraid, given everything that was going on at that time all the hype that was put in this so-called beef that he didn’t really have in his heart against anyone.” She stated.

And Biggie Smalls Death

On 9th March 1997, Biggie was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting in LA, less than a year after Tupac was killed. Like Pac’s murder, Biggie’s has been clouded with conspiracy theories, and ultimately lead many to believe that this was the end of Hip-Hop at the time. Tupac and Biggie were good friends before they started hanging around dangerous gangsters. Tupac was helping Biggie with his career, and the music really brought these two together. However, it also tore them apart and possibly led to their untimely deaths. Their East Coast vs. West Coast rivalry and their music lives on through their legacy.much as their music.

The story of the two New York-born rappers plays out like a classic Shakespearian tragedy straight out of Elizabethan England: the two young, talented men who wish to see each other succeed are torn apart by misunderstandings, egos, and toxic people until both are killed by the fire they started. 



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