Year after year on September 13, hip-hop aficionados honor the late Tupac for his boundless impact on gangsta rap and his ongoing influence on the genre. This past year marked 21 years since the late rapper passed away in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas on that day in 1996, and yet he was just recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the biopic All Eyez on Me debuted at No. 3 in the box office in its opening weekend.
While Pac may be one of the most prolific rappers of all time, there remains one eerie mystery: his unexplainable death.
No one was accountable for the West Coast rapper’s death, but many believed that his feud with The Notorious B.I.G. (originally Christopher George Wallace) may have spiraled out of control, leading many to assume Smalls had some affiliation to the tragedy. Not shortly after, though, Biggie himself was also shot and killed in a drive-by in Los Angeles six months later.
There was a time when both rappers dominated the game, battling it out against each other for the top spot — all while representing their respected coasts. Tupac had that “California Love” and Biggie put East Coast rap on the map when West Coast hip-hop prevailed. Beefs, diss tracks, and rap battles never hurt anybody in hip-hop. In many ways, that’s what gave rap its spirit and livelihood, but the rivalry between Tupac and Biggie Smalls ended without redemption.
Now, skeptics may have some answers with Fox’s Who Shot Biggie & Tupac? The 2-hour investigative crime special, hosted by Ice-T and Soledad O’Brien, will tackle their shocking deaths — featuring interviews from Doug E. Fresh, Funkmaster Flex, Suge Knight, Lil’ Cease, and E.D.I. Mean.
In an exclusive teaser clip, Ice-T contemplates the beef between Biggie and Tupac, admitting competition is part of “what built hip-hop” but he never expected it would take a turn for the worse. “This program is about the life and untimely death of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls,” said the “O.G. Original Gangster” artist. “…This was a story about a tragedy that didn’t have to happen.”
Watch the teaser clip below for an inside look at the special.