Death Row-Bad Boy Feud

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The killing of Tupac Shakur in 1996 followed years of conflict involving Shakur, rapper Notorious B.I.G., their record companies and their gang followers.

November 1994

Shakur is shot five times and robbed in the lobby of a recording studio near Times Square in New York. He blames the ambush on Notorious B.I.G., whose real name is Christopher Wallace, and Sean “Puffy” Combs, right, head of Bad Boy Entertainment.


Notorious B.I.G. records a song called “Who Shot Ya?,” interpreted by Shakur as a taunting reminder of the 1994 shooting.


June 1995

On stage at the Source Awards in New York, Marion “Suge” Knight, head of Shakur’s label, Death Row Records of Los Angeles, insults Combs and New York-based Bad Boy.

July 1995

Notorious B.I.G. and Bad Boy hire members of the Southside Crips for protection against the Mob Piru Bloods, who work for Death Row. The two Compton gangs have had a bloody 30-year rivalry.

September 1995

Death Row employee Jake Robles, a Mob Piru Blood, is shot dead outside an Atlanta nightclub. A Bad Boy employee is suspected.

October 1995

Released from prison while he appeals a sexual abuse conviction, Shakur begins recording material for a Death Row release. In one song, “Hit ‘Em Up,” he mocks Combs and Bad Boy entertainers and brags about having had sex with Notorious B.I.G.’s wife.

March 1996

A scuffle breaks out at the Soul Train Music Awards in Los Angeles after Notorious B.I.G.’s bodyguard brandishes a weapon in front of an armed member of Shakur’s entourage backstage at the Shrine Auditorium.

August 1996

A handful of Southside Crips beat and rob one of Shakur’s Mob Piru Bloods bodyguards at a mall in Lakewood. The assailants snatch a diamond-studded Death Row medallion from the victim’s neck.


September 1996

Shakur and his Bloods bodyguards, in Las Vegas for a heavyweight boxing match, assault a Crip in retaliation for the Lakewood incident. Two and half hours later, Shakur is fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting a block from the Las Vegas Strip. No one has been charged in the killing.

March 1997

Notorious B.I.G. is gunned down outside the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles after a Soul Train Music Awards party. The case remains unsolved.