After releasing his tenth studio album with Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God, Busta Rhymes spoke with GQ and gave his thoughts as to why he think Tupac was mad at Biggie Smalls.
The beef between Tupac and Biggie is well documented. For Busta Rhymes, a friend of both rap icons, he feels all could have been worked out with a conversation.
Busta feels when Biggie started to become a bigger star, Tupac felt the Brooklyn rapper did not give Shakur his credit for taking him under his wing. “I knew Pac didn’t feel that Big acknowledged him as much as he wanted for the role that he might have played in giving Big jewels, or being there for Big at times when Big really needed a mentor or a brother in the game. I think we can all agree that if you play a role in someone’s life and you don’t feel that they’re acknowledging you the way that you deserve, it (messes) with you,” Busta Rhymes tells GQ.
In an interview conducted by Sway in 1996, Tupac elaborated taking his style. “(Brothers) just gonna act like I’ma just be in jail and they gonna give me shout outs. They tryna take my position. And if you watch, that’s what Biggie did,” Tupac said. “I trained the (brother). He used to be under me like my lieutenant. I used to come to New York, I used to do shows and let the (brother) come on before I did Keep Ya Head Up. Because nobody knew the (brother) in New York. And I used to tell the (brother), ‘Yo, if you wanna make yo money, you gotta rap for the (females), do not rap for the (brothers)’.”
“So all of a sudden, he changed from– listen to “Party and Bull(ishh).” Listen to his style. He changed from that to “Big Papa,” because of me. I came out with my album Me Against the World, the second one. The first one, I changed everything ’cause Ready to Die came out and it sounded like my album. All my album was about, ya know, dealing with death. Then he came out with Ready to Die and I had to switch it. That’s why it was less East Coast rap, East Coast beats, because Biggie had just took my (ishh).”
“I trained him. It was supposed to be Thug Life. All while he was coming up, I used to let him come onstage with me, he was screaming Thug Life,” Tupac added. “All of a sudden, blew up and he wasn’t saying Thug Life.”
Part of the reason the two artists never had that one-on-one conversation had to due because of various factors. Busta believes the Quad shooting and Suge Knight had a significant impact on Shakur not willing to speak with Biggie Smalls. “But I think ultimately Tupac decided he didn’t want to have a conversation, whereas I think Big still did. Big wanted to talk, Big wanted to connect with him. And Pac just wasn’t letting it happen. And it got fueled even more when he got next to Suge,” Busta explains.
Suge Knight head of Death Row Records was also in a heated beef with Puff Daddy head of Bad Boy Records. Shakur and Knight had a common enemy which made the pairing a no brainer, but at the same time a deadly combination.