Why Did Tupac and Biggie Have Beef? The Infamous Rap Feud, Explained

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Tupac and Biggie’s beef is the most infamous feud in the history of rap music. The pair were friends for over a year, before a bitter feud broke out between them.

Tragically, the two young rappers did not resolve their beef before their untimely deaths.

This article explains what happened between Tupac and Biggie, looking in-depth at the events that caused their disagreement and ongoing beef.

Were Tupac and Biggie friends?

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Tupac and Biggie were friends for around one year before their beef began. They met on the set for the1993 film, Poetic Justice

The pair were known to have deeply appreciated each other’s music, appeared on stage together, and stayed in each other’s houses.

The slightly older and more successful Tupac was a mentor figure to Biggie, and Biggie reportedly asked Tupac to become his manager. However, Tupac declined the suggestion, saying Biggie should stick with his current manager, Puff Daddy.

The first signs of beef started when Tupac began associating with the notorious gangster, Jaques ‘Haitian Jack’ Agnant.

Biggie allegedly warned Tupac against associating with the man, but Tupac continued hanging out with the gangster, who was well-known and feared in New York.

How did Tupac and Biggie’s beef start?

The key event in Tupac and Biggie’s beef was on 30 November 1994, when Tupac was robbed, beaten, and shot, outside Quad Recording Studios in Times Square. 

Tupac was on his way to record a track with Lil Shawn, at the invitation of record executive James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond. 

At the time, Tupac was on trial for sexual abuse and weapons possession, with mounting legal bills. Tupac may have agreed to do the recording in order to help pay his mounting legal costs.

It would not have been a surprise to Biggie that Tupac’s convictions were closely tied up with his relationship with Haitian Jack – Pac and Jack were being accused of gang rape as part of the same case.

The thing that ignited the feud was when Tupac discovered that Biggie was inside the building with Puff Daddy at the time of the shooting. This led Tupac to believe that Biggie and his crew knew the shooting was going to happen.

Several days later, Tupac was arrested on the charges he faced. He was convicted of sexual assault, and went on to serve around 18 months in Riker Island high security prison.

The beef between Tupac and Biggie got pretty nasty during the period that Tupac was incarcerated.

While Tupac was in jail, Biggie released a track called ‘Who Shot Ya.’ Many people, including Tupac, understood this as a diss track that was targeting Pac.

The release of the track was arguably not a wise move on Biggie’s part, but according to Biggie, it was written before Tupac’s shooting, and was not intended to disrespect him.

Either way, Tupac saw red, and Biggie’s track poured fuel on the fire. Pac was deeply offended by the song, and went on to relentlessly attack Biggie.

Tupac explained his feelings about the song in an interview with Vibe, saying, “N****s been talking shit all while I was in jail. ‘Who Shot Ya?’… Even if it ain’t about me, n****, you should be like, I’m not putting it out cause he might think it’s about him.”

Tupac eventually became convinced that Biggie not only knew about the shooting, but was behind it. He claimed that Biggie ripped off his music, and he even claimed that he slept with Biggie’s wife, Faith Evans.

Tupac’s 2016 diss track ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ is the best recorded example of Tupac’s beef with Biggie. The track also played a part in exacerbating the rivalry between East and West coast rappers.

How did Biggie react to Tupac’s death?

Reports make clear that Biggie was upset by Tupac’s death. This is not a surprise, because generally speaking, Biggie denied that he had beef with Tupac, and attempted to downplay the feud.

An article in Slate magazine claims that Biggie called Faith Evans the night of Tupac’s death. She said that Biggie was crying and his voice was “low and small.” He reportedly said to her, “S*** got f***** up somewhere along the way. But that was my n****.”

The comment implies that although Biggie was hurt by the feud, he still had respect for the great rapper who was once his mentor and friend.

Tupac died on 13 September 1996, aged 25. Two days later, Biggie was arrested. On 8 March 1997, Biggie was himself killed, aged 24.

Tupac and Biggie Song Collaborations

Before the rift, Tupac and Biggie collaborated a small number of times, and even put down a track together.

The pair famously rapped back-to-back at Madison Square Gardens in 1993, in a time when Biggie was still relatively underground.

In their lifetimes, Pac and Biggie only recorded one track, ‘Runnin’ from tha Police’ in 1994. The track featured a number of other rappers, and was intended to feature on Tupac’s 1995 Me Against the World album. However, because of the feud, the track didn’t make the cut.

The song was eventually released as ‘Runnin’ (Dying to Live),’ posthumously in 2003. The track was produced by Eminem, and released under Tupac’s name, featuring a verse from Biggie.

The song peaked at number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100, making it one of Pac’s highest-charting songs.

Tupac and Biggie Documentaries

The relationship between Tupac and Biggie is complicated, and this article provides only a brief outline.

Various documentaries have been made about the two iconic rappers. A couple of these documentaries look in depth at their relationship, including Nick Broomfield’s 2002 documentary Biggie & Tupac, and the 2021 Netflix documentary Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell.

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