The 21st anniversary of Tupac Shakur’s death was September 13th, 1996. That’s a whole lot of time. And so many years after Pac’s killing, questions and theories surrounding the rap icon’s untimely passing at the hands of still-unidentified assailants persist.
Many fans suspect his murder was related to the East Coast-West Coast beef that was dominating music headlines at the time.
Central to the beef: Pac’s fateful decision to drop a diss track, “Hit Em Up”. The scathing song is suspected of being a critical factor in elevating what was already a tense beef.
In the song, ‘Pac called out rapper Notorious B.I.G. and his associates such as Lil Kim and Lil Cease by name and went further by claiming he’d bedded Big’s wife, singer Faith Evans.
“Hit Em Up” was a shocking rebuke of seemingly not just Bad Boy Records, but in some fans’ minds, the entire East Coast rap scene.
Fans chose sides. The media hyped it up. After all, beef sells records. And adrenaline is a mutha. And, magazines had to be sold.
No one who was eating off what was spiraling into a deadly standoff seemed completely committed to putting the brakes on the drama.
Meanwhile, “Hit Em Up” became a ‘Pac classic, not surprisingly.
It all came at a very steep cost: the lives of two of Hip Hop and pop culture’s biggest names over, many believe, a beef that probably never should have been.
Three months after the song dropped, Tupac Shakur was dead.
And 6 months after his death, Biggie was also dead.
Neither homicide has ever been solved.