,There is a deep and undeniable connection between the superstars of rap music and sports. There are a lot of rappers that athletes can relate to, based on their past struggles and rise to the top. Most of today's rappers and hip hop artists, such as Drake, Meek Mill, J. Cole, and even Jay Z, have lots of ties to NBA players because their music is so popular amongst these athletes. However, there are 2 rappers that may not be living now, but serve as the biggest spark towards the inspiration of many athletes. That would be Tupac Shukar and Christopher Wallace a/k/a Biggie Smalls.
Tupac and Biggie are the 2 greatest rappers ever. Even though Tupac well known songs are California Love and All Eyez On Me, while Biggie's well known songs are Big Poppa and Hypnotize, their ability to paint a picture of their struggle to success through their music is seen as a spark for change.
Tupac is not only the king of L.A. rap, but of West Coast rap. His songs such as Changes, Keep Ya Head Up, Life Goes On, and Brenda's Got A Baby, serves as a major spark for change in favor of African Americans. He understood this, because he lived most of his childhood in a ghetto esque environment. Other songs such as Hail Mary, Ghetto Gospel, and Troublesome 96, gave people an idea of the troubles that he used to deal with, even with the success that he was having as a rapper. In a 1994 interview, he said, "I'm not saying I'm gonna rule the world or I'm gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world and that our job is to spark somebody else watching us." A legendary career perfectly summed up right there.
Biggie Smalls was the king of New York and East Coast rap. His deep voice and flow along with his ability to spark change, have put him in the pantheon of the greatest rappers. And while Biggie never directly called for change in his music like PAC did, you could easily identify that his message in most songs was for change. Songs like Juicy, Things Done Changed, Suicidal Thoughts, and Everyday Struggle, symbolized his goal for change. Other songs like Warning and Unbelievable, have painted a picture of his difficulties as a rapper. In Juicy, he perfectly summed up his career, saying "I went from negative to positive."
I think some of you may be asking about whether Tupac and Biggie were friends. The answer is that they once were. In their first few years in the rap game, they were great friends who were poised to create change for full equality. Then in November 1994, everything changed. Tupac was shot at a recording studio in Manhattan. Not long after, one of Biggie's songs from his album Ready To Die, was Who Shot Ya. Unsurprisingly, Tupac publicly claimed that Biggie and his fellow friend and rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs were behind the shooting. So how did Tupac respond? By allegedly starting a relationship with Biggie's wife Faith Evans which led to his own diss track in Hit 'Em Up. Other responses from Tupac included Bomb First (My Second Reply) and Against All Odds. So there you go. The 2 greatest rappers living at the same time period were now enemies.
What is also unfortunate, is that both of these rappers were killed on drive-by shootings. On September 7, 1996 in the MGM Grand lobby, Tupac and friends attacked someone that had jumped one of Shakur's entourage previously that day. Later that night, Shakur and the head of Death Row Records Suge Knight were driving before stopping at a red light. That's when tragedy struck. A white Cadillac pulled up and out the window came a hand holding a gun. Shukar was shot and hit by 4 bullets. He was rushed to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada where he died 6 days later. It's still question about who murdered him today. Six months later, Biggie attended a party held by Vibe Magazine in Los Angeles. While driving back to their hotel, he and his friends were stopped by a red light. What happened after that, was the same scenario that Shakur went through. Four bullets took another great rapper from us. In just 7 months, two of the greatest rappers of all time were taken away from us.
Even though it's been 20 years since these events, Tupac and Biggie still serve as an inspiration to lots of athletes. They aren't afraid to express their inspiration. Back when they were alive, the Mike Tyson had a special relationship with Shukar that is seen nowadays with athletes and rappers. Before some of his boxing matches, Tyson walked in to the songs Road to Glory (which was dedicated to him), Toss It Up (the Makaveli - The Don Killuminati: The Seven Day Theory version), and Ambitionz Az A Ridah. Fast forward to August when LeBron James said, "I was raised off [rappers] Snoop [Dogg] and [Tupac] and [Jay-Z] and Biggie [Smalls]. . ." If you follow wide receivers Michael Thomas and Desean Jackson on social media, chances are that you're probably aware of their admiration for Tupac being expressed through most of their posts and stories. The Brooklyn Nets wore jerseys that were inspired by Biggie for most of this season which saw them make a surprising run to the playoffs. Strong safety Jamal Adams was caught on wearing a Tupac and Biggie t-shirt walking up to the Jets faculty for their opening day of offseason workouts. Even though those specific athletes have publicly expressed their admiration for Tupac and Biggie, almost all athletes listen to both of them.
Today, there aren't a lot of rappers who are seen as leaders of the rap game. Yet for about 5 years, 2 rappers emerged as leaders who lots of other people could relate to through their struggles. But what makes them similar to athletes? James answered that question in March when he said that rappers want to be like athletes and athletes want to be like rappers. But there's got to be some amazing rappers that athletes can relate to through their struggle toward success. Well those rappers are Tupac Shukar and The Notorious B.I.G.