‘Big’ (As he was affectionately known) succumbed to wounds from a fatal shooting on March 9, 1997 as he left the Soul Train Awards hosted in LA. Despite warnings that he shouldn’t go back to Cali following Pac’s death, being the independent man he was, he chose to go.Ironically, his return to Cali was captured on the song ‘Going back to Cali’ off his Posthumous smash album ‘Life After Death’. While in LA, Big conducted his last radio interview with Sway in which he candidly expressed his views on the East/West Feud.
My honest interpretation is that Big was just a young Man trying to make a living who didn’t expect the hurricane that his talent (his only means to survive) brought into his life. He was primarily concerned about his Wife, Mother and Children like any of us would be, and the ‘Beef’ was an unwelcome distraction.
I think ‘Big’ captured his thoughts on this quite clearly on ‘What’s Beef?’ off ‘Life After Death’…..In his view, it was all hype, smoke and mirrors taking away focus from his music, and the business of music….I don’t think anyone can fault him for thinking and acting like a grown Man.
As for the accusations of ‘betrayal’ by Tupac, again that’s Pac’s view of the situation, and in my view ‘Pac was slightly jealous of Big and the independence his success brought him. ‘Pac took his ‘big brother’ syndrome a bit too far in my view, and turned the whole situation into a dramatic Pro-Wrestling type of feud possibly to fuel his own record sales. (The Tupac fans are probably going to send me all sorts of death threats just for saying that!!)
I still prefer ‘Pac’s music to Big’s overall, but I think ‘Pac was at fault to a degree for fanning the flames and things getting blown out of proportion. Big in my view was correct in asking whether Rap had become Pro-Wrestling on ‘Whats Beef?
This trend has escalated now with the Nicki Minaj and Remy Ma ‘Beef’ which has seen Foxy Brown and Queen Latifah enter the fray being the most recent example. Is this real street ‘Beef’ or Pro-Wrestling for Entertainment?
I digress, Big will always be one of Hip Hop’s greatest, and 20 years on his murder remains unsolved. We’ve included links to the LA Times latest update on the Investigation which ties into the LA Police Corruption affair known as the ‘Rampart Scandal’……The Game was spitting truth on ‘Start from Scratch’ when he said ”I would have told ‘Pac not to stomp out Orlando/Would have told Puff & Big about the Rampart Scandal”.
We also recommend the Nick Broomfield Documentary ‘Biggie & Tupac’ which is on our YouTube Channel in the ‘Music, Sports & Culture’ Playlist for more detailed information on the investigation into Big’s death…I think its pretty clear from that documentary who’s responsible but as always, we leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions.
The last Radio Interview Big did with Sway in LA is also on our YouTube Channel under the same Playlist.
As our Big Tribute, we’ve also included links to his monster break out single ‘Juicy’, XXL’s ‘The Making Of Ready To Die (My personal fav Big album) and his interview with ‘Vibe’ Magazine at the height of East/West Feud……We’ll always love Big Poppa (RIP).