One of the most famous feuds in hip-hop history is the Tupac and Biggie beef - a bitter rivalry between West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur and East Coast rapper Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace. But were Tupac and Biggie friends? At the start, Tupac took Biggie under his wing and helped the budding rapper’s career, but after only a year, their friendship fell apart. Ultimately, the Tupac Biggie feud ended in tragedy, their lives claimed less than a year apart.
There are many theories about the reasons behind their passings and the people responsible, but both cases remain unsolved to this day. Some argue that the feud was larger than Tupac and Biggie, and that the tension between the coasts exacerbated the events that led to their ends. “There was always tension - there was always resentment, rather - among some folks on the West Coast for the resistivity from New York DJs and artists to West Coast hip-hop,” says Dan Charnas, a music history associate professor at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute.
Even though Tupac and Biggie were friends, what ultimately tore them apart was a combination of media coverage, diss tracks, gang culture, and competition between their record labels.
1993: Biggie And Tupac Meet And Bond ImmediatelyPhoto: Poetic Justice / Columbia Pictures
October 24, 1993: They Freestyle Together Onstage At Madison Square GardenVideo: YouTube
1993-1994: The Well-Established Tupac Becomes A Mentor To Biggie
1993: Tupac Involves Himself With Gangster 'Haitian Jack' Despite Biggie’s WarningPhoto: Above the Rim / New Line Cinema
1994: Tupac Declines To Manage Biggie’s Career, Insisting He Remain With PuffyPhoto: Bad Boy Records
November 30, 1994: During A Recording Session At Biggie’s Studio, Tupac Is AttackedPhoto: Gang Related / Orion Pictures