I was 15 years old when the Notorious B.I.G was murdered, and the only way I could think to describe that day is weird. “Not again” were the thoughts that went through my mind. Just six months earlier Tupac had been murder in Vegas…now Big in California? What the hell was going on? Why was hip hop killing itself?

I was a fan of both Tupac and Biggie. They were both living legends during my time, and everyone knew it (we just didn’t know how to appreciate them). But if I had to choose teams, I was definitely Team Tupac. My logic wasn’t very deep. It couldn’t have been; I was 14 at the time of the “feud” and was about as deep as your average 14 year older (lol). Tupac was sexy, his music made me think and ponder life, so yeah, I was Team Tupac. But at that moment, while learning that Christopher Wallace, the son, father, friend and artist, had been murdered, being Team Tupac didn’t matter.

I did begin to question hip hop however. Hip hop had always been more than just rap music. Hip hop had always drawn influences from the hoods of America and even the violence that occurred there, but never had that violence stolen the lives of two individuals who were so promising, so purposeful, and so prominent. Had hip hop caused this tragedy?

As the media began dissecting the East Coast vs. West Coast “feud” that had “caused” the murder of two living legends, two things became evident: 1) there was little evidence of any real bi-coastal feud, and 2) the media had made a whole hell of a lot of money promoting this imaginary feud. Had the media we so trusted really hyped up a dispute between two people, two camps at most, into a bicoastal “feud”? Had the media made millions sensationalizing something that wasn’t really happened? Had the media instigated the deaths of two living legends?

Looking back, I feel hoodwinked. I feel like I bought into something that didn’t exist. I feel like I trusted someone who manipulated me. I feel like I participated in an activity that led to the death of two individuals I respected and admired.

In hindsight I learned two lessons: 1) the media cannot be blindly trusted, and 2) give roses to people while they are alive. We’ve got to learn how to treat our legends while they are living and not just give them honor and live with regrets once they’ve passed on.

I hope you enjoy the tribute to Notorious B.I.G. I wrote for 66Raw.com. You can check it out here.