East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry

The East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry was a feud between artists and fans of the East Coast hip hop and West Coast hip hop scenes in the United States, especially from the mid-1990s.[1] Focal points of the feud were East Coast–based rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (and his New York–based label, Bad Boy Records), and West Coast–based rapper Tupac Shakur (and Suge Knight's Los Angeles–based label, Death Row Records, which he was part of), who were both murdered in drive-by shootings. Orlando Anderson (a.k.a. Baby Lane) has been accused of the murder of Shakur, but he himself was shot dead in the spring of 1998.[2] The person responsible for the murder of The Notorious B.I.G. remains unknown.


Tim DogEdit

In 1991, angry at record companies' rejections of East Coast artists and the growing popularity of West Coast hip hop, Bronx rapper Tim Dog decided to voice his anger on the notorious diss track "Fuck Compton". It contained shots at the LA rap scene, although he explicitly stated that he was "cool with Ice-T". The music video featured violent threats aimed at Eazy-E. There were several responses from numerous West Coast artists, including the "Fuck wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin')" which featured Snoop Doggy Dogg dissing Tim Dog (as well as Eazy-E and others), and a separate skit, "$20 Sack Pyramid". Both featured on Dr. Dre's The Chronic album. Compton's Most Wanted responded with "Who's Fucking Who?"

Bad Boy vs. Death RowEdit

Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs
Suge Knight

In 1993, fledgling A&R executive and record producer Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs founded the New York-centered hip-hop label, Bad Boy Records.[3][4] The next year, the label's debut releases by Brooklyn-based rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (also known as Biggie Smalls; born Christopher Wallace)[5] and Long Island–based rapper Craig Mack became immediate critical and commercial successes, and seemed to revitalize the East Coast hip-hop scene by 1995.[6] New York born and California-based rapper Tupac Shakur publicly accused The Notorious B.I.G., Andre Harrell, and Sean Combs of involvement in his shooting (and robbery) in the lobby of Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan on November 30, 1994.[7][8][9][10][11] Shortly after the shooting, "Who Shot Ya?," a B-side track from Biggie's "Big Poppa" single was released. Although Combs and Wallace denied having anything to do with the shooting and stated that "Who Shot Ya?" had been recorded before the shooting,[12] 2Pac interpreted it as B.I.G.'s way of taunting him.[13][14]

In August 1995, Death Row CEO Suge Knight took a dig at Bad Boy and Combs at that year's Source Awards; announcing to the assembly of artists and industry figures: "Any artist out there that want to be an artist and want to stay a star, and don't want to have to worry about the executive producer trying to be all in the videos ... All on the records ... dancing, come to Death Row!" - referring to Combs' tendency of being in his artists' music videos and performing ad-libs in their songs.[15] [16] With the ceremony being held in New York, to the audience, Knight's comments seemed a slight to the entire East Coast hip-hop scene, and resulted in boos from the crowd.[17]

Problems continued when Knight later attended a party for producer Jermaine Dupri in Atlanta. During the bash, a close friend of Knight's (Jake Robles) was fatally shot.[18] Knight accused Combs (also in attendance) of having something to do with the shooting.[9][19][20] The same year, Knight posted the $1.4 million bail of the then-incarcerated 2Pac, in exchange for his signing with Death Row Records.[21] Shortly after the rapper's release for five counts of sexual abuse in October 1995, he proceeded to join Knight in furthering Death Row's feud with Bad Boy Records.[22]

Tha Dogg Pound's single "New York, New York", supported by a music video featuring a gigantic Snoop Dogg destroying various NYC buildings, was interpreted as a direct insult towards New York and the East Coast. Tha Dogg Pound was allegedly even shot at while making the video in New York City.

2Pac vs. The Notorious B.I.G.Edit

C'mere c'mere ... open your fucking mouth ... Didn't I tell you not to fuck with me? ... Can't talk with a gun in your mouth huh? ... Bitch-ass nigga, what?

- The Notorious B.I.G.

Who shot me? But ya punks didn't finish now you 'bout to feel the wrath of a menace nigga, I hit 'em up!

- 2Pac

After the release of "Who Shot Ya?", which Shakur interpreted as a diss song mocking his robbery/shooting,[23] 2Pac appeared on numerous tracks aiming threatening or antagonistic insults at Biggie, Bad Boy as a label, and anyone affiliated with them from late 1995 to 1996. Examples include the songs "Against All Odds", "Bomb First (My Second Reply)" and "Hit 'Em Up".[24][25] During this time the media became heavily involved and dubbed the rivalry a coastal rap war, reporting on it continually.[26][27] This caused fans from both scenes to take sides.[6]

Another song that was interpreted by Shakur around this time as a diss song was "I Shot Ya (remix)", a B-side by LL Cool J that was released on his Mr. Smith album in 1995.[28] Sometime in the following year of 1996, Tupac Shakur confronted featured artist Keith Murray at the California House of Blues, wanting to know if the record was a diss to him. Upon questioning, Murray made it clear that the record was not about Shakur, and has continued to reiterate this in several interviews over the following years.[29]

Although an official retaliation record was never released by the Brooklyn MC in response to Shakur's slurs, a certain number of Biggie's lyrics were interpreted by listeners as subliminal shots aimed at Shakur, in particular the track "Long Kiss Goodnight", which Lil' Cease claimed was about 2Pac in an XXL interview. Puffy, however, steadfastly denied this theory, affirming that if Biggie were to diss 2Pac, he would have called him out by name.[30]

On September 7, 1996, Tupac Shakur was shot in a drive-by shooting at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane in Las Vegas, Nevada.[31] He was taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, where he died six days later. In 2002, Chuck Phillips wrote the article "Who Killed Tupac Shakur?"[32] reporting that, "the shooting was carried out by a Compton gang called the Southside Crips to avenge the beating of one of its members by Shakur a few hours earlier ... Orlando Anderson, the Crip whom Shakur had attacked, fired the fatal shots. Las Vegas police discounted Anderson as a suspect and interviewed him only once, briefly. He was later killed in an "unrelated gang shooting" nearly 2 years later on May 29, 1998. The Phillips article and its follow-up, "How Vegas Police Probe Floundered in Tupac Shakur Case"[33] also implicated East Coast rappers including Biggie Smalls.

Six months after Tupac's death, on March 9, 1997, The Notorious B.I.G. was killed in a drive-by shooting by an unknown assailant in Los Angeles, California.

Hip-hop peace summitsEdit

On September 22, 1996, a peace summit was convened at Mosque Maryam by Louis Farrakhan in the wake of the murder of Tupac Shakur,[34] and another after the shooting of Biggie Smalls.[35][36] Minister Farrakhan continues these summits, which have been held since the 1980s,[37] where he calls for peace.[38][39][40]


  1. ^ "LAPD apologizes to Notorious B.I.G.'s family". USA Today. 2012-12-09. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  2. ^ Malnic, Eric; Philips, Chuck (1998-05-30). "Possible Suspect in Tupac Shakur Death Killed in Shootout". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  3. ^ "Interview with Mark Pitts". HitQuarters. April 26, 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
  4. ^ "Alumni Bulletin - Alumni - Harvard Business School". Alumni.hbs.edu. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  5. ^ "Slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. was 'ready to die'". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. March 10, 1997.
  6. ^ a b "Why the West is Winning: Milwaukee players talk about the rap wars between the coasts". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. May 10, 1995. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "Hollywood or bust-up". The Observer. July 7, 1996.
  9. ^ a b "The Homeboy as Mogul, And the Mogul as Rapper". NY Times. July 20, 1997. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  10. ^ "A History of Modern Music: Part three: Hip-hop and R&B: 35. The death of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, 1996 – 1997". The Guardian. June 13, 2011.
  11. ^ "Ex-LAPD detective: 'Suge Knight and P Diddy were behind hits on Biggie and Tupac'". NME. October 4, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  12. ^ "Big Life: The rise and fall of Biggie Smalls". The Guardian. January 31, 2009.
  13. ^ "Gangsta rap: East Coast vs West Coast". New Straits Times. May 21, 1997. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  14. ^ "Requiem for a Gangsta". Newsweek. March 24, 1997. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  15. ^ "A Source Of Trouble Shots, suits & shaky circulation threaten to rip apart hip-hop mag". New York Daily News. August 3, 2005. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  16. ^ "The Turbulent Life and Times Of a Rap Mogul". The Washington Post. June 17, 2007. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  17. ^ "The Rap Column: Notorious Wins B.I.G., Minor Regional Fracas Among Highlights Of Awards". Billboard. August 26, 1995. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  18. ^ Gamble, Ronnie (August 25, 2010). "Dangerous Crew's Shorty B Preps Book About His Life In The Music Biz". Baller Status. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  19. ^ "MTV party shooting revives rap wars". The Times. August 29, 2005. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  20. ^ "Police probe Puff Daddy on Atlanta killing". The Sunday Times. January 28, 2001.
  21. ^ "Tupac Shakur out on $ 1.4-million bail". St. Petersburg Times. October 14, 1995.
  22. ^ a b "Notorious B.I.G. Lyrics- "Who Shot Ya"". AZ Lyrics.
  23. ^ "L.a. times links diddy to 1994 shooting of tupac". The Boom Box. March 17, 2008. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  24. ^ "Man Says He Shot Tupac at Quad Studio". The Root. June 16, 2011. Archived from the original on September 15, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  25. ^ "Biggie Smalls was murdered 12 years ago. Now Jamal Woolard's portrayal of the rapper in Notorious is bringing pain among the plaudits, such is his uncanny likeness to him". The Scotsman. January 13, 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  26. ^ "THE RAP WARS / EAST COAST VS. WEST COAST". Newsday. September 23, 1996.
  27. ^ "Gangsta Life And Death; For Tupac Shakur, Violence Was Part of the Act". The Washington Post. September 16, 1996. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  28. ^ VIBE, Staff. "Tupac Talks 'Hit Em Up' Vs. 'Who Shot Ya?' (Pg. 2)". www.vibe.com. That’s hip hop. N---- been talking s--- all while I was in jail. “Who Shot Ya?” L.L. got a song “I Shot Ya.” Even if it ain’t about me, n----, you should be like, I’m not putting it out cause he might think it’s about him.
  29. ^ Harling, Danielle (August 7, 2014). "Keith Murray Recalls Tupac Approaching Him Over "I Shot Ya"". www.hiphopdx.com. "Rest in peace to Tupac. I love and respect Tupac to death. I’m not talking bad about Tupac or nothing like that. It’s just an incident. So, he came up. Walked up and he was like ‘Nah, I just wanted to know because we had—I got shot five times. You know what I’m saying? In New York, so I thought niggas was talking about me’…I can understand why he did that…We was squaring off. Everybody had knives on ‘em. But we diffused it and it was peace after that.”
  30. ^ "8 Subliminal Diss Records That No One Claims". XXL. November 5, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  31. ^ Planas, Antonio Planas (2011-04-07). "FBI outlines parallels in Notorious B.I.G., Tupac slayings". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  32. ^ PHILIPS, CHUCK (2002-09-06). "Who Killed Tupac Shakur?". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  33. ^ "How Vegas police probe floundered in Tupac Shakur case". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  34. ^ Coleman, Chrisena (1996-09-18). "Rappers in Peace Summit". Daily News. New York. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  35. ^ Loose, Cindy (1970-01-01). "Farrakhan To Sponsor Anti-Violence Rap Concert In D.C." The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  36. ^ Muwakkil, Salim (2003-12-15). "Farrakhan and the Beefs of Rap". In These Times. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  37. ^ "Farrakhan to Speak to 900 Gang Leaders to 'Stop the Killing'". Los Angeles Times. 2010-02-25. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  38. ^ Gilmore, Gwen (July 19, 1997). "Farrakhan's Hip Hop Peace Summit yields album". Washington Afro-American. Archived from the original on September 11, 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  39. ^ Muhammad, Jehron (2015-09-17). "Jehron Muhammad: Islam's influence on hip-hop". Philly.com. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  40. ^ "Farrakhan Preaches Responsibility at Hip-Hop Summit". Billboard. 2002-02-18. Retrieved 2016-09-28.

External linksEdit