After Tupac Shakur was shot in the lobby of New York’s Quad Studios in 1994, bad blood between ’Pac and his one-time friend The Notorious B.I.G. ensued. ’Pac believed it was Biggie and Puff Daddy who set him up to be shot and robbed and didn’t keep his accusations to himself either. In 1995 Biggie released “Who Shot Ya?” and while both Big and Puff maintained the song was recorded before the Quad Studio shooting and wasn’t aimed at ’Pac, the fiery Death Row artist answered with a diss record of his own, “Hit ‘Em Up.”
“Who Shot ya?/Separate the weak from the ob-solete/Hard to creep on them Brooklyn streets/It’s on, nigga, fuck all that bickering beef.”
“Recognize my face, so there won’t be no mistake/So you know where to tell Jake/Lame nigga, brave nigga/Turn front page, nigga.”
Though Biggie and his entire camp have continuously denied that “Who Shot Ya?” was directed towards 2Pac, the timing of it’s release and the perceived subliminal shots (no pun intended) lead us to believe that this was most likely a diss record.
Speaking strictly in an artistic sense, 2Pac was a relentless opponent and during the height of the Bad Boy/Death Row rivalry he launched multiple scathing and blatant attacks. To his credit, Big maintained his cool. He did throw a little shot on “Brooklyn’s Finest” (“If Faye had twins, she probably have 2 ’Pacs”), and “Who Shot Ya?” remains highly contested, but the lyrics to “Long Kiss Good Night” were even more direct. The song was most likely recorded before 2Pac’s death in 1996 and to release a straight diss track a year later (after both B.I.G. and ’Pac were tragically gunned down) would have been in poor taste.
In the April 2003 issue of XXL, Lil Cease confirms the record was aimed at ’Pac, while Puff contends that “If Biggie was going to do a song about 2Pac, he would have just come out with it and said his name.”
“When my men bust, you just move with such stamina/Slugs missed you, I ain’t mad at cha (we ain’t mad at cha).”
“Slugs hit your chest, tapped the spine, flat-line/Heard through the grape-vine you got fucked four times.”
Despite Puff’s disclaimer on the song’s ad-libs (“And we ain’t talkin’ about no other rap niggas…”), “Long Kiss Goodnight” was definitely about ’Pac, no 2 ways about it. (Get it…?)