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By Rob Markman
Yes, we’ll always love Big Poppa, but during his rise through the rap ranks there were some bumps in the road. In the mid-90s the Notorious B.I.G. had feuds with a few artists—the war of words with his onetime friend Tupac Shakur is of course the most notable, but there were more subtle back and forths with artists like Jeru the Damaja, Nas and members of the Wu-Tang Clan.
The Wu’s Raekwon admits there was a healthy completion between the artists, but stopped way short of calling it a beef. “First and foremost when we all came up together it was almost like the best time in hip-hop. And at that time we were young, we were childhood stars with a vision, at that time we all was doin’ it,” Raekwon told RapFix on Friday. “Like I tell the world to this day, beef is something when it’s on and poppin’; competition is competition. At the end of the day I feel like the same way he loved our music, we loved his music.”
On the “Shark N—as (Biters)” skit off of his 1995 classic debut Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Raekwon and his partner-in-rhyme Ghostface discussed a rapper who they felt copied Nas’ album cover. They never called out Biggie directly, but fans automatically assumed the duo was talking about Biggie’s Ready to Die LP cover which depicted Big as a kid, similar to what Nas did on his Illmatic album cover. It was all thinly-veiled, however.
During Wednesday’s “RapFix Live” Lil’ Kim stressed that despite their differences; Biggie was a huge Wu-Tang fan and would have probably liked to work with more members of the Clan. “He liked Wu-Tang’s music, I’ll tell you, he liked their music despite all the craziness,” Kim said.
“Don’t forget Meth worked with him on joints,” Raekwon reminded RapFix of “The What,” Biggie’s collaboration with Wu-Tang’s Method Man.
There is no doubt in Raekwon’s mind that he and Big’s mutual respect for each other would have resulted in a collaborative record, or 10! “We probably would’ve did an album,” he said. “That’s how I feel, because like I said we were all runnin’ neck and neck.”
Join MTV News as we celebrate the Notorious B.I.G’s life on the 15th anniversary of his death. From March 9 through March 25, we will be rolling out exclusive and commemorative content from Biggie’s closest friends, collaborators and his biggest fans. To join the conversation on Twitter, hit target="_blank">@MTVRapFix using the hashtag #biggie15.