Timbaland took to Instagram Friday morning (July 31) asking his followers about a possible Tupac Verzuz Biggie showdown. But who should represent the two iconic artists?
Timbaland added to the anticipation with his post of Tupac and Biggie’s catalog going head-to-head with 20 songs for each of them. A list that featured hits such as Hail Mary, Juicy, California Love, and Sky’s The Limit.
Verzuz series, created by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz during the coronavirus pandemic, has set the stage where musical artists, producers, and songwriters “battle” on IG Live as long as they have at least 20 hit songs to qualify.
Although labeled as a “battle”, its creators view the series more of an educational celebration. Since its debut, the world has viewed RZA vs DJ Premier, Teddy Riley vs Babyface, Erykah Badu vs Jill Scott and most recently Snoop Dogg vs DMX.
Every single one of those celebratory showdowns have garnered enormous interest, brought smiles, and fond memories to many who view live every Saturday night.
One particular “battle” perhaps would surpass all records, take viewers on an emotional roller coaster ride in which creators of the Verzuz series would doubt their decision. But they shouldn’t.
Sure the Verzuz installment consisting of these two Hip Hop legends could open old wounds. In order to bring proper justice to the “battle” nothing should be left off the table. The viewer is to be taken through a historical timeline from start to finish featuring the two artist best body of work. No matter how personal that may be. Before the beef, during the beef, and after the unfortunate outcome that took their lives.
Those close to the artists can testify on their behalf with strong belief that, both Tupac and Biggie would have wanted it that way.
No matter the politics involved, this would be the ultimate educational celebration and perhaps open up positive dialog that could be instilled within the current generation. Can you imagine hearing “Who Shot Ya”, to then be followed up with “Hit ‘Em up”! Or, who about “One More Chance” verzuz “How Do U Want It”.
Now before we can even dive into their respective catalogs, one must ask the first question. No its not whether it should be titled 2pac Verzuz Biggie, or Tupac Verzuz B.I.G., but rather who would represent the two iconic artists?
Unfortunately this could be the biggest hurdle. As for The Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls, there is two clear candidates. Sean “Diddy” Combs and Lil Cease.
Diddy who discovered Biggie Smalls during his early days as an A&R with Uptown records, would later sign Biggie to his own label Bad Boy Records. Diddy who not only had a close friendship with Biggie Smalls, also produced many of the hits we would hear during a Tupac Verzuz Biggie Smalls showdown. Hits such as “One More Chance”, “Who Shot Ya”, “Mo Money Mo problems”, and “Hypnotize”.
Lil Cease also a dear friend to Biggie, recorded music with The Notorious B.I.G. Cease was part of the the Hip Hop group Junior M.A.F.I.A., which gave us “Player’s Anthem along with Biggie Smalls.
That wasn’t too hard, right? Well this is where it can become complicated. With Tupac, its not a matter of who should represent him, but rather who will represent Tupac. It all comes down to if the Tupac Estate has a final say on who represents Shakur. If so, then we can expect someone like Snoop Dogg or Treach of Naughty By Nature to represent Tupac.
When it comes to who should represent Tupac, two candidates come to mind. E.D.I Mean of the Outlawz and Shock G of Digital Underground. Why you ask? Well if you would like to have the proper Tupac story told during the “battle” these two men have the musical intellect, insight, and know Tupac Shakur better than most claim.
E.D.I. Mean who was one of Tupac’s close childhood friend, and member of the Outlawz, is the obvious choice. E.D.I. who does not get the credit he deserves for behind-the-scenes contribution to the Legacy after Shakur’s passing, but has always understood Makaveli’s philosophical ways, which is important especially during Tupac’s final days.
A trusted individual by Tupac Shakur, and one who recorded tons of music with, plus was around Tupac during his entire career more often than anyone else. More importantly during the years of 1994-1996, a time period in which Tupac perhaps recorded his best work, not to mention over 300 songs!
The question remains whether or not E.D.I Mean and Diddy would be able to face off and represent the two legends. Although twenty plus years removed from the beef, and considering it is on IG live as oppose to an in person face-to-face meeting, tensions could arise.
Lil’ Cease on the other hand has patched things up with E.D.I Mean, as the two appeared on a record for DJ Kay Slay titled “Bury The Hatchet”, calling a truce in the name of their fallen leaders.
Now choice number two, Shock G who was instrumental, literally and figuratively, in the musical career of Tupac Shakur. Shock G gave Tupac his first break with the popular rap group Digital Undergroud, as Shakur would appear on the break out song ‘Same Song’.
Shock G also a close friend, produced hits for Tupac as well. “I Get Around” and “So Many Tears”.
As discussions about a Tupac Verzuz Biggie “battle” are in its beginning stages, fans await, but please a message to all involved, get this right. Do it for Biggie and Tupac. Do it for Hip Hop.