The rivalry between Biggie Smalls and Tupac is one of the most tragic tales in hip hop. The battle for dominance inadvertently led to both men losing their life. However, it wasn’t always like so tense between the two, in fact, Biggie even wanted Pac to manage his career at one point.
While it seems inconceivable that these perceived arch-enemies were confidantes, once upon a time, they were as thick as thieves. Pac was one of Biggie’s most trusted allies and someone whose opinion he held in the highest regard, even wanting to leave him in charge of his entire career. If it wasn’t for Tupac declining his request, then things could have ended up very differently.
Biggie was in-patient with his career, and he knew he had the same talent as anybody else in the rap game, but nothing was happening for him. His lucky break came when a demo he made found its way to Source Magazine, which led to Diddy securing his signature.
Tupac was one of the first names he built a relationship with within the industry, and whenever Biggie was in LA, it was Shakur’s sofa where he’d end up staying. While the New Yorker’s career got off to a stuttering start, Pac had already become a superstar, and Big wanted to follow his route to the top.
It wasn’t until 1993 when Biggie would share his debut single that things changed for the rapper. Before that, he wondered whether Diddy was the right man to guide his career, but Tupac refused to put their friendship at risk by taking charge of them his professional life. The West Coast rapper reportedly told Biggie, “Nah, stay with Puff. He will make you a star.”
“‘Pac walks into the kitchen and starts cooking for us. He’s in the kitchen cooking some steaks,” Biggie’s intern Dan Smalls later said about the now-iconic meeting. “We were drinking and smoking and all of a sudden ‘Pac was like, ‘Yo, come get it.’
“And we go into the kitchen and he had steaks, and French fries, and bread, and Kool‑Aid and we just sittin’ there eating and drinking and laughing… that’s truly where Big and Pac’s friendship started.”
Graced with the knowledge of the devastating fashion that their friendship would capitulate, it’s difficult to even picture the time when Biggie and Tupac would sit back, eating steaks and drinking together in harmony. Even over a quarter of a century later, the tragedy of them both losing their lives in such an avoidable manner is still heartbreaking.
If Pac decided to take on Biggie as his protege that day, the future could have looked wildly different and perhaps, the pair of their talents would still be burning bright today.