Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace (The Notorious B.I.G.) became two of hip-hop's most notable icons amid an infamous rivalry that continues to hold the attention of fans nearly two decades after their deaths.
The East Coast-West Coast beef "still resonates today," "History of Rap and Hip Hop" author Soren Baker says, referencing the new Tupac film, "All Eyez On Me" and USA Network's true-crime drama "Unsolved." The 10-episode series focuses on the murders of both greats and is slated to premiere Feb. 27.
There were many factors behind the complex New York vs. Los Angeles turf rivalry that heightened between 1994 and 1997 and ultimatley lead to their deaths. The beef had everything to do with competition among record labels, media coverage, gang culture and two artists with a talent for rhythmic comebacks.
Tupac and Biggie may be synonymous with the rivalry, but it existed, in a sense, before they hit the scene.
“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.
With New York City being the birthplace of hip-hop, artists from L.A. felt they weren’t given the same media coverage and public attention as those on the East Coast, says Baker, a former hip-hop journalist.
NYC, in your inbox.
Sign up for NYC news plus the scoop on things to do, see and eat.
"The [West Coast] artists felt that when they came to New York, they didn't receive the same acceptance and admiration as when New York artists came to L.A., because the West Coast's [artists] were more popular, simply from a sales perspective, than anyone at the time on the East Coast," Baker adds.
Pac and Biggie were pitted against each other as their fame, and the genre's popularity, grew across the country.
The producers behind West Coast’s Death Row Records (Dr. Dre, Suge Knight) and East Coast’s Bad Boy Entertainment (Sean “Diddy” Combs) helped fuel the competition as years passed.
The L.A. scene got a boost when Dr. Dre joined forces with Suge to launch Death Row in 1991, the same time Power 106 (KPWR-FM) branded itself as a hip-hop-focused radio station with its "Where hip-hop lives” slogan. It wasn’t until two years later that Combs branched out into the business with Bad Boy Entertainment in NYC.
So, what exactly does this have to do with Tupac and Biggie? Not much, yet.
The drama took off when Tupac, who was on trial on allegations of sex abuse, was shot five times by a group of robbers in the lobby of Quad Recording Studios in Times Square on Nov. 30, 1994. Tupac believed it to be an inside job, and placed blame on his friends who were also invited to the studio — Biggie, Jimmy Henchman and Combs. It’s unclear why Pac was the target of the robbery, but other artists, including Funkmaster Flex most recently, have insisted the artist may have shot himself. The incident — whether a message from a rival group, the work of a former friend or a random attack — was enough to create a rift between Pac and Biggie that they were never able to repair.
It didn’t exactly help that Biggie released a track, “Who Shot Ya,” shortly afterward, in which he clearly expressed loyalty to the East Coast and the Bad Boy crew. But responding to accusations via lyrics was already a key part of hip-hop.
“It was how hip-hop grew, these call and response answers. No questions about it,” Charnas says. It’s mirrored today in rap battles and artist feuds, like that between Drake and Meek Mill.
Pac, feeling betrayed by his former friend, served nine months in Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York on a sexual assault charge when Knight paid him a visit in 1995 and fueled the fire.
The producer went onstage at the Source Awards at Madison Square Garden’s Paramount Theater on Aug. 3, 1995, and threw shade at record label rival Combs. “Any artist out there wanna be an artist, and wanna stay a star, and don’t have to worry about the executive producer trying to be all in the videos, all on the records, dancing — come to Death Row,” he said.
While the label never addressed what exactly sparked Suge to make the speech on Combs’ turf, timeliness was a factor: Tupac had just signed with Death Row. The move wasn’t just about music. It marked Pac’s acceptance into Suge’s powerful group, known to have gang affiliations.
Pac’s decision ultimately reflected his desire to be viewed as an authoritative figure, Charnas says, referring to the late artist as “royalty.” “He didn’t need credibility. He had credibility, but it wasn’t the kind of credibility he craved. What he wanted, for whatever reason, was to be seen with street credibility … that became his motto: Thug life.”
After short-lived yet successful careers surrounded by controversy, both Tupac and Biggie were shot and killed not long thereafter. Tupac was critically injured in a drive-by shooting on the Las Vegas strip and died on Sept. 13, 1996. Biggie was shot and killed on L.A.'s Miracle Mile six months later on March 9, 1997. While both cases remain unsolved, loyal fans and industry influencers still believe the East Coast-West Coast beef is to blame.
"It's one thing for a record label to promote an artist who promotes violence. It's another thing when that violence becomes real and affects people," Baker said. "It's not just entertainment anymore. ... It became real life and the line between reality and entertainment blurred."
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
- Length: 413 words (1.2 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
Throughout the past years, rap and all other types of music artist use their music to express their views, opinions and feelings in their songs. From their lyrics, you will have a little understanding towards what they see and feel about the society. The artists should be happy because this is a freedom of speech country and they can compose any types of music to express themselves. Although there are voices saying rap music should be censored and it has been influencing youth’s mind, but is rap music negatively influencing the youths’? There is a survey from the United States saying 48% Americans think popular music should be heavily regulated and 59% Americans wanted to restrict violence in music. However, there were no studies providing evidence towards a cause and effect relationship between violence, sex and behavioral effect. Even if there are studies, artist and composer will not be concerned about the regulations and/or rules. From this ignorance, this is how violence in rap music begins.
Rap is defined as a form of popular music developed especially in African-American urban communities and characterized by spoken or chanted rhyming lyrics with a syncopated, repetitive rhythmic accompaniment. In the early '90's, rap music was beginning to be popular, and there were two different rapper groups: the East and West Coast. The wars between these two groups were not quite obvious until East Coast rappers began to get more publicity. West Coast rappers were upset and jealous so that they started to make fun of East Coast rappers through their music. East Coast rappers made revenge at West Coast rappers and the war has continue until one day, there was voices saying the other coast had gone too far. Nonetheless, West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur had a personal feud with the East Coast rapper The Notorious B.I.G.. In one of Tupac’s song, he proclaimed he had slept with the Biggie’s wife and Notorious B.I.G. revenged by saying “stupid niggaz mess with Big Poppa, motherf**kers get roasted if you f**k wit B.
How to Cite this Page
| Essay about Portrayal of Women in Rap and Music Videos - Misogyny and degradation of women is present in almost every genre of music, yet the one genre that completely revolves around demeaning women is rap. Over the years rap and rap music videos have continually become more sexual and degrading towards women. Rap has been criticized numerous times for this reason, and that is because rap is one of the most popular genres of music for the younger generations. It is more than a genre of music, it is a complete industry filled with clothing and other merchandise.... [tags: Feminism Rap Women]|
:: 4 Works Cited
| Gangster Rap - The Negative Impact on Identity Essay - Jean Kilbourne, a media specialist, raises an interesting point in one of her lectures when she states, “The average American is exposed to 3000 advertisements per day. Yet, everyone in America still feels personally exempt from the media. They say, “I don’t pay attention to ads. I just tune them out. They have no effect on me.”” She later states most of the people who have said this to her were wearing Gap™ tee-shirts. Whether people realize it or not, there is a direct correlation between the media and an individual’s identity.... [tags: media, rap, hip hop,]|
:: 5 Works Cited
| Hip-Hop's Musical Evolution of Rap Essay example - The hip-hop culture began in the streets of New York City during the 1970’s and has gone through tremendous changes up until now. Hip-Hop consists of four elements: rap, graffiti, break-dancing, and the disc jockey. In this paper, I intend to fully explain the evolution of rap music, from its infancy to the giant industry it is today. Hip-Hop emerged in the 1970’s upon the arrival of a one Kool DJ Herc. Kool DJ Herc migrated to the United States from Kingston, Jamaica and settled in the West Bronx of New York.... [tags: The History Of Rap]|
:: 7 Works Cited
|The History of Rap Music Essay examples - The History of Rap Music Rap music originated as a cross-cultural product. Most of its important early practitioners-including Kool Herc, D.J. Hollywood, and Afrika Bambaataa-were either first- or second-generation Americans of Caribbean ancestry. Herc and Hollywood are both credited with introducing the Jamaican style of cutting and mixing into the musical culture of the South Bronx. By most accounts Herc was the first DJ to buy two copies of the same record for just a 15-second break (rhythmic instrumental segment) in the middle.... [tags: Rap Music Jamaican Culture Essays]||1455 words|
| Hip Hop and Rap Music Essay - Hip Hop and Rap Music Introduction Every so often a new style of music emerges that takes America by storm and comes to represent the generation that grows up with it. In the 50's it was rock'n'roll, followed by the Motown sound of the 60's. The 1970's brought folk music and disco, and in the 80's it was rap. Perhaps no other form of music has crossed as many boundaries and become a bridge between America's many cultures as rap has. Let's face it, if you listen to any current or some old rap/hip hop CDs in America there is always an intro which paves the way for the rest of the songs and gives you a taste of what the CD is going to be like.... [tags: Music Research Paper Rap Hip Hop Essays]|
:: 10 Works Cited
|The Problems of Gangsta Rap Essay - The Problems of Gangsta Rap The cultural majority in America is up in arms over the rising levels of violence and horrific images that have seeped into popular entertainment. Movies, television, and music have always been controversial, but even they can cross the line between poor taste and immorality. Entertainment corporations and record labels don't even blink, when told of the excessive torture or satanic lyrics found in material. Producers and directors continue to push the envelop on what is “done in good taste.” Gangsta rap is one of the current problems of society.... [tags: Music Culture Cultural Gangsta Rap Essays]||629 words|
| Political Rap and Boogie Down Productions Essay - Political Rap and Boogie Down Productions In the fall of 1987, Scott la Rock, the DJ of the rap group Boogie Down Productions (B-D-P) was shot in a car after trying to break up a fight (Small 77). In light of B-D-P's role in reforming rap in the succeeding years, his biography is significant; he was college educated and was employed--in addition to his musical activity--as a social worker. He had released a groundbreaking record that year, and had already worked on a follow-up, which would defy older categories of rap music.... [tags: Rap Music B-D-P Essays]|
:: 10 Works Cited
|rap Essays - Rap Music The following is an excerpt from Black Noise, a book written by Tricia Rose, that describes the importance and background of rap music in society. "Rap music brings together a tangle of some of the most complex social, cultural, and political issues in contemporary American society. Rap's contradictory articulations are not signs of absent intellectual clarity; they are a common feature of community and popular cultural dialogues that always offer more than one cultural, social, or political viewpoint.... [tags: essays research papers]||2825 words|
|Essay Rap - Throughout the past years, rap and all other types of music artist use their music to express their views, opinions and feelings in their songs. From their lyrics, you will have a little understanding towards what they see and feel about the society. The artists should be happy because this is a freedom of speech country and they can compose any types of music to express themselves. Although there are voices saying rap music should be censored and it has been influencing youth’s mind, but is rap music negatively influencing the youths’.... [tags: essays research papers]||413 words|
|Rap Essays - Tha Century / 100 Bars Deep Now This's Gonna Be Sticky.... I shapeshift monotonous mockeries into a metamorphisis of melodic monogamy... Im more morbid audibly, smear your extremities with catatonic embalment fluid.. Smoke you for the toxin release. My words constrict airholes until all oxygen is ceased... Kids is tryin to elevate they point of views by studying topography?. Ha. You god-awful emcees.... Watch true suns set across the horizon of your premises... I shadowbox with the reflection of an extra-terrestrial nemesis, to sharpen my depth perception.... [tags: essays research papers]||1071 words|
Popular Music Rap Music Coast Freedom Of Speech Tupac Shakur Behavioral Publicity Youths Composer Lyrics
I.G.” (essaysample.com). On September 7, 1996 West rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur was shot to death in Las Vegas. Members of Tupac's entourage thought the only way to make things better was to kill an East rapper. And in my opinion, that's exactly what they did. On March 3, 1997 East rapper Christopher Wallace aka Notorious B.I.G. was shot to death. Both murders are unsolved so no one except the killers know why these senseless deaths happened.