Around a week after Tupac Shakur had been shot in Las Vegas, Christopher “Biggie” Wallace and his crew were sure that the iconic rapper would pull through. Actually, everyone believed that. Nashiem Myrick, one of Biggie’s producers even said:
“He always lived. It’s not the first time he had got shot.”
On Sept. 13, 1996, Biggie and Myrick were in a recording studio in New York, when they heard the shocking news…
“I had the TV on … and when they said Pac just died, we was, like, silent,” Myrick said. “Couldn’t believe it. Wow, Pac died. Unbelievable.”
Faith Evans, Biggie’s wife recalls that she got a call from her husband that night:
“Something ain’t right, Faye…Shit got fucked up somewhere along the way. But that was my nigga.”
Evans said that Biggie was not only hurt by the rapper’s death but afraid as well. His voice, as she said had been “low and small.” What was even more scary was the realization that Tupac’s security guards, money, and connections had not been enough to protect him.
We all know that Tupac wasn’t exactly friends with Biggie and Sean “Puffy” Combs. The iconic star believed that they were involved in the shooting at Quad Studios and they had a beef that was going on for some time. Therefore, Biggie wasn’t exactly devastated that his former friend was death. Yes, he was hurt, but the fact that Tupac had rapped about killing Biggie and had boasted about sleeping with his wife, couldn’t be forgotten easily.
Biggie had no attention of going to Tupac’s service. But even if he did, he couldn’t have done it as he was arrested for marijuana possession by the New York police two days after Tupac’s death.
The cops took their Lexus and when they returned it, it couldn’t start so the dealership gave them a Chevy Lumina. The next day, Biggie and Cease took the vehicle on the New Jersey Turnpike, but it was raining and Cease lost control over the car. After the accident Cease had a couple of teeth shattered whereas Biggie spent the next months at a rehab facility since he had fractured his leg in three places.
This accident was a turning point for Biggie. He had a change of heart and decided that he needs to take some time off this way of life. What’s even more strange is that he started talking to God and seeing a therapist.
Even before this accident happened, Biggie had started thinking about changing his life. He was 24 years old, and he already had a daughter and was expecting a son. He was also a platinum-selling artist so the opportunities in front of him were numerous.
Watching Puffy for so many years he had realized that the real money were made behind the scenes, so he and some old friend of his had teamed up to create Undeas Entertainment, a new record company. There was, however, one last thing that the star needed to do if he wanted to secure his life, and that was making peace with the West Coast.
There was still no clearance about who had killed Tupac, and the rumours were too many. Some believed that the South Side Compton Crips were responsible for the tragic death, whereas others blamed Bad Boy Records, or if we have to be even more specific Biggie and Puffy.
Biggie was tired and sombre, and he even said to one of his music writers:
“It’s not worth it anymore. That’s why I just stay in the muthafuckin’ house.”
He had to think of a way to squash the beef, and he did. First, he decided to record a tribute to the West Coast sound- a California anthem. Expectedly or not, “Going Back to Cali” became one of his best tracks that is still known worldwide. The second challenge he and Puffy undertook was to set up a promotional trip to L.A… and that turned out to be their greatest mistake.
How did Tupac’s death change the hip hop world? Why was there a gang war in L.A.? And what was the reason for Biggie and Puffy to risk so much and go to the West Coast?