How the Q-Tip and 2Pac rap beef began
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How the Q-Tip and 2Pac rap beef began

Q-Tip was the frontman of A Tribe Called Quest, a hip-hop collective that changed hip-hop’s landscape in the late 1980s and 1990s. Encouraged by his counterpart, Phife Dawg, he led what was dubbed a “jazz-based hip-hop revolution.” The movement saw a soulful and jazz-inspired sonic adopted and a shift away from the angry anti-establishment aura of artists such as Public Enemy and N.W.A.

A Tribe Called Quest were an integral part of this incredible shift. However, few saw Q-Tip ever entering into beefs. However, in an interview with Fat Joe, Brooklyn emcee Busta Rhymes claimed that Tip (real name Jonathan Davis) was once at odds with West Coast icon Tupac Shakur.

While speaking with Fat Joe about 2Pac, Busta Rhymes explained, “I had an incredible relationship with ‘Pac. Me and ‘Pac was friends since early Leaders [Of The New School] days. Before he put out his solo shit when he was just still dancing with Digital Underground.”

As a Brooklyn emcee, Busta didn’t see a lot of 2Pac when he settled in California. However, Busta (real name Trevor Smith) did end up going to school with Biggie Smalls and found himself in an awkward position when the famous war between the two late legends was raging.

Speaking about his loyalties during that period of the mid-90s, Smith told Joe, “When you’re friends with two people that are conflicting, you’re supposed to be the neutraliser. You’re supposed to be the one to do whatever you can to squash it. You ain’t supposed to pick no side. I’m not gonna lie; I was closer to Big because we went to school with Big. I was in Big’s home. I hugged and kissed Big’s mother. She hugged and kissed me. [Lil] Cease and all of ’em we grew together!”

He continued, “I knew ‘Pac, but I hadn’t been in ‘Pac’s home. I don’t know the late, great, beautiful Afeni Shakur, his mom. We didn’t have that same interaction based on us not living in the same proximity and space.”

Making the revelation about Q-Tip and 2Pac, Busta dropped a bomb on Fat Joe, declaring, “‘Pac and Q-Tip had beef! They had a very serious and a very intense beef. This is during the time I’m shooting the Higher Learning movie. Like ’93 or ’92 at The Source awards.”

He continued, “Me, 2Pac Omar Epps, we were staying in the Oakwood apartments, the fully-furnished apartments in LA on Hollywood Boulevard and fuller I stayed there before. In this particular crib, the buildings full of fully furnished apartments and ‘Pac was on one floor, Omar Epps was on another floor, I’m on my floor. We bouncing back and forth to each others’ cribs the whole time we out there shooting movies.

Explaining how 2Pac had to make an appearance on the East Coast, Busta continued, “2Pac, during this time frame, had to go to New York because he was performing at this particular source awards; this is when we were all performing off of DAT tapes. So you know, once that engineer press play on your DAT tape, it ain’t like you can stop [and rewind] that shit. You gotta go! 

Detailing the true origin of the feud, Smith vividly recalled, “So Tribe was doing their acceptance speech for ‘Best Group Of The Year’. They had one the award for that that year at The Source and 2Pac was supposed to be the next performance after their acceptance speech, and ‘Pac got introduced. So somehow the production person, the stage production manager, wasn’t paying attention to what was really happening, and the motherf*cker ended up pressing play in the middle of the Tribe acceptance speech, so ‘Pac just comes out there performing in the middle of their speech.”

Smith revealed that in his heart, he knew it wasn’t Shakur’s but admitted it looked terrible, asserting, “So that wasn’t ‘Pac fault, but it looked like a flagrant ‘Pac disrespect, and at that time ‘Pac had that reap for being a bit of loose canon. It was like, ‘Here he goes again’. So the beef starts ‘Pac comes off the stage Tribe there with Zulu Nation, and shit gets crazy. It didn’t lead to no blows, but the pressure was very intense between Tribe and ‘Pac at the time.”

You can watch Fat Joe and Busta Rhymes speaking in the video below