Much has been made in the media about the beef between The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. While both men's untimely and senseless deaths only fanned the flames of hatred, we now have more clarity around the perceived East Coast/West Coast static which was decidedly a ploy to sell newspapers and magazines.
While seemingly ever facet of the two aforementioned legends has seemingly been dissected, most people seem to focus on their rivalry. However, many might be surprised to learn that Biggie and Pac actually appeared on two records when they were both still alive — reminding everyone that positivity is often crushed underneath the weight of sensationalism.
Eddie F and the Untouchables featuring Heavy D, Biggie, 2Pac & Grand Puba "Let's Get it On"
There were a slew of heavyweight producers behind the boards for Heavy D & The Boyz. While Teddy Riley, Marley Marl, and a young Pete Rock usually take top-billing, one has to always give Edward "DJ Eddie F" Ferrell his credit.Eddie F caught the musical bug as a high school senior after beginning to DJ in Mount Vernon and Westchester County. A chance encounter with a then unknown Heavy D at a Boys and Girls Club led to a life-long friendship.
"From that day on, we were rolling thick," he said. "Back then, we didn’t have cars. I used to drive my mom’s car, and Heavy used to drive his mom’s car and we would go out and socialize. Everyone who knew Heav knew his personality. He was a very cool guy, great energy, great family, and really friendly. We wanted to figure out how to make a record."
Ferrell described Mount Vernon as a miniature version of Harlem at the time. This cultural melting pot — then mixed with an unmistakable sound the producers created that was referred to as New Jack Swing — led to five important records for Heavy D & the Boyz over the course of seven years.
In 1994, Ferrell released his only project called Let's Get It On. Naturally, he enlisted Heavy D for the title track. While 2Pac already had three years — and two albums — under his belt, Biggie had yet to release Ready to Die yet.
The posse cut has the energy and receives boost from having no chorus. It's simply a murderer's row of talent shared between Heavy D, 2Pac, Grand Puba, and Biggie.
2Pac featuring Biggie, Outlawz & Buju Bonton "Runnin'"
There are three different versions of 2Pac's song "Runnin'" — all of which are produced by Easy Moe Bee who figured prominently on Biggie's debut, Ready to Die.
The first version — often referred to as the "Thug Life" version was initially scheduled to appear on Pac's album of the same name. A second version — referred to as "Me Against the World — was then scheduled to appear on the album of the same name. It had a different 2Pac verse and the chorus was sung by teenage rapper, Lil' Vicious.
The third version recorded was released a year later as a part of compilation album of called One Million Strong. The song has a slightly altered beat and the same lyrics as the "Thug Life" version.
In 2003, "Runnin' (Dying to Live)", a remix of this song produced by Eminem, was released as a single from the Tupac: Resurrection soundtrack.