Tupac Shakur vs. The Notorious B.I.G.
The two New York City-born MCs were initially close after they met on the set of John Singleton's film Poetic Justice in 1993. "I always thought it to be like a Gemini thing," Biggie later told Vibe. "We just clicked off the top and were cool ever since." But that would change on November 30th, 1994, when Tupac was robbed at gunpoint outside of New York's Quad Recording Studios and shot five times.
Badly injured, he harbored suspicions that his supposed friend had advance knowledge of the attack. The fears were reinforced months later when Biggie released "Who Shot Ya?" which appeared to mock the incident. Despite Biggie's assertion that he "wrote that muthafuckin' song way before Tupac got shot," 'Pac took the track as an admission of guilt. While in prison for an unrelated sexual assault charge, he gave an interview with Vibe in which he publicly pointed the finger at Biggie and his Bad Boy Records label chief, Sean "Puffy" Combs. "Even if that song ain't about me, you should be, like, 'I'm not putting it out, 'cause he might think it's about him.'"
In October 1995, Tupac signed with Suge Knight's Death Row Records in exchange for payment of his $1.4 million bail. The move put him on a collision course with Knight's rivals at Bad Boy Records – especially Puffy and Biggie – and stoked the flames of an East Coast–West Coast hip-hop war. Tupac brought out the big guns with "Hit ‘Em Up," a blazing response to "Who Shot Ya?" that opened with the inflammatory cry, "I ain't got no motherfucking friends/That's why I fucked your bitch, you fat motherfucker."
Tupac continued to take aim at his former friend in interviews and on tracks like "Against All Odds" and "Bomb First (My Second Reply)," but Biggie didn't release an official response on record. In fact, he seemed genuinely hurt in a 1996 interview with Vibe: "This shit's just got to be talk, that's all I kept saying to myself. I can't believe he would think that I would shit on him like that."
The men failed to repair their relationship before Tupac was gunned down in Las Vegas in September 1996. Suspicions immediately fell on Biggie, but he strenuously denied any involvement. "Even though we were going through our drama, I'd never wish death on nobody," he said soon after. "Ain't no coming back from that."
Biggie himself would be the victim of a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles the following March. Both murders remain unsolved.