The beef between the East Coast and West Coast may just be a bit of history to a younger generation, but there are still those that remember the days when hip hop was divided. There are some who claim that the beef was exacerbated by the news media who made it more than it was, yet there are others who will assert that the tension between various artists was real. In a recent episode of Untold Stories of Hip Hop, Angie Martinez revisits that era with Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg who witnessed it firsthand and experienced the effects of the hostility in first person.
Following the senseless murders of both Tupac Shakur and Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace, tensions continued to rise between coastal emcees. Hip hop was birthed out of New York and for years the tri-state area was championed, however, West Coast artists began making a name for themselves with the rise of rappers like N.W.A. and Ice Cube. It was believed that the deaths of Pac and Biggie would cause hip hop to unite for the good of peace, but artists, as well as fans, remained divided.
Two people who were at odds were Cube and Common. Things were taking a turn for the worse, but then, Minister Louis Farrakhan called for a hip hop summit. He wanted artists from the east and west to hash out their differences, and Cube and Snoop told Angie that initially, it didn’t go as smoothly as Farrakhan had hoped.
“You know, everybody was getting caught up in the moment,” Cube said. “We were gettin’ into our feelings. I was kind cocked and loaded but then the minister was speaking to us. He told us the story of the Nation and Malcolm X. When the Nation and Malcolm X was apart, it just gave room for somebody to swoop in and take Malcolm, and it all fell in the lap of the Nation ’cause they was beefing in public, so it gives the opportunity for somebody on the side.”
“Tupac wasn’t killed by Biggie, and Biggie wasn’t killed by Tupac,” Cube continued. “These are all side people stepping in. History starts to rehash it. ‘Biggie killed Tupac.’ The East Coast-West Coast beef caused Tupac and Biggie to be killed.” Cube went on to say that everyone decided to “squash the beef,” and he recognized that he was the one to take things too far. You can watch the episode in its entirety here.