1. Tupac Shakur’s birth name was Lesane Parish Crooks. Within thirty-six months, he’d been renamed for the last Incan emperor, a rebel beheaded by the Spanish before thousands in Cuzco in modern-day Peru.
2. The Notorious B.I.G’s parents were born in Jamaica. If you listen closely to Biggie’s catalogue, it’s replete with Caribbean patois, references to Jamaican slang, and dancehall culture. He uses phrases like “bloodclot crying,” and “lamb’s bread” instead of weed. He also crushed this remix of Supercat’s ‘Dolly My Baby’.
3. When 2Pac was born, his mother was out on bail while awaiting trial. The state of New York accused her of conspiring to murder police officers and dynamite five midtown department stores, a police precinct, six railroad rights of way, and the New York Botanical Gardens. What’s lesser known is that Afeni Shakur’s bail money was partially paid for by Leonard Bernstein and Jane Fonda. She was eventually acquitted of all charges.
4. Biggie attended the prestigious Catholic high school, Bishop Loughlin Memorial. Other famous alumni of the school include former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, Golden State Warriors basketball coach, Mark Jackson, and actor Doug E. Doug (Cool Runnings).
5. 2Pac’s first rap name was MC New York, adopted during a teenaged stint in Baltimore.
6. E-40 and The Notorious B.I.G had a little known but simmering beef throughout the mid-90s. During an interview where he was asked to rate other rappers, Biggie replied in reference to the Bay legend: “No rating! Zero! I don’t fuck with duke at all. At all.”
7. In a 1992 Source feature, 2Pac said that his favorite rap album of all-time was the Geto Boys’ ‘Grip It! On That Other Level’.
8. Biggie made a special appearance on the fondly remembered Fox cop show, New York Undercover. He rapped “Juicy” and sat in on a fictional panel about violence in rap.
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9. 2Pac’s favorite drink was Fanta Orange Soda. Dru Ha, the head of the label Duck Down Records, once recounted a story about how 2Pac flew out some members of the Boot Camp Click to stay at his new house in Calabasas, Ca. When they started drinking all of his soda stash, they woke up the next morning to find a post-it note that read: “Pac’s soda.”
10. Biggie ghostwrote many of the lyrics for Lil’ Kim. Few things are stranger than hearing Biggie rap the phrase: “got buffoons eating my pussy while I watch cartoons.”
11. According to his ex-wife, 2Pac allegedly read for the part of Bubba in Forrest Gump. He did not get it.
12. During the last months of his last life, Biggie walked around with a cane, due to a broken left leg he suffered in a car crash.
13. 2Pac performed ‘Only God Can Judge Me’ on Saturday Night Special, a late show that briefly aired on Fox in the mid-90s. He was joined by Ice-T. Allegedly, Snoop Dogg had no-showed for a rehearsal earlier that day.
14. Biggie Smalls officially became The Notorious B.I.G. because another rapper had previously trademarked the name.
15. Pac once planned to produce and release an album from a Bay Area teen rap group called Nothing Gold. He described them as having a “serious message”.
16. Biggie was 6’1, 395 lbs, according to the coroner’s report.
17. During his time in jail, 2Pac became pen pals with Tony Danza.
18. During his murder, Biggie was hit by four bullets, but only the last one proved fatal. It entered at his right hip and passed through his heart, liver, and colon, on its way to its resting place at his left shoulder.
19. When he misbehaved as a child, Afeni Shakur would make her son read The New York Times as punishment.
20. Biggie’s mom called him “Chrissy-Pooh” as a child, after Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh.