It may be the longest-running debate in the history of Hip-Hop. Fans of the genre have been arguing about it since the beginning of time. Tupac vs. Biggie, who are you taking?
During a recent episode of the Joe Budden Podcast, the former Slaughterhouse rapper shared his thoughts on who would win in a Verzuz battle between Pac and Nas.
Budden said, “ I’ma say this and I’ma put my shoes on while I say it. Cause y’all are right: I think ‘Pac would end Nas in a Verzuz. [‘Pac] would end Big in a Verzuz, bad.”
He continued, “Big died too soon to play with ‘Pac. Ready to Die and Life After Death is not enough to [beat ‘Pac]. And ‘Pac got them same four albums I’m talking about? I just don’t know.”
If you care what the Joe Budden Podcast thinks, listen to that episode.
But The Root staff is here to weigh in on the debate.
In one corner we have Tupac, a west coast legend who recorded more albums while he was alive such as 2Pacalypse Now, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.AZ., Me Against the World, All Eyez On Me and The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. He fascinated fans with his energy, charisma and vulnerability in his music.
In the other corner, we have Brooklyn heavyweight The Notorious B.I.G., who only recorded two albums while he was alive, Ready to Die and Life After Death. Biggie impressed listeners with his lyrics, flows and rapping ability.
Both have impressive catalogs and hits to go on forever. Who comes out on top, according to The Root?
Noah McGee: I’m taking Biggie and not batting an eye. I think the argument that Tupac would win because he has more songs is weak. Biggie is by far the better MC in terms of pure rapping ability. Songs such as “Gimme the Loot,” “The What” and “Who Shot Ya” display that. But also Biggie has some timeless hits that could compete with some of Pac’s bops such as “Juicy” “Mo Money Mo Problems,” and “Big Poppa.” I think it would be close. But I’m taking The Notorious B.I.G because he’s one of the best lyricists to ever touch a mic.
Candace McDuffie: I’m from New York and will always be a Biggie girl at heart, but Tupac would eviscerate him in a Verzuz. Pac would be downright gully in a song-for-song battle against The Notorious B.I.G., knowing which buttons to push to irritate the emcee. Tupac was also naturally charismatic and would be in his element reliving some of his most notable songs on the stage. Biggie was a smooth lyricist and performer, but when Pac pulls out Hit ‘Em Up....issa wrap.
Keith Reed: Not even so much about taking Big over Pac/Nas (Nas is my fav of the three). But Verzuz is about what rates in front of a live audience with minimal stage production. Nas excels as a lyricist but not a performer. Pac has hits, but his best music is more thoughtful joints that won’t make a crowd immediately go off. Big’s joints are all a bop from the minute the beat drops. Ain’t no way “Keep Your Head Up” Washes “Machine Gun Funk” or “Who Shot Ya”.
Angela Johnson: As someone who was definitely in the club when Life After Death came out, I have to agree that Biggie would take it hands down. He’s got way more songs that are just bangers. He would also obliterate Tupac if they got into a freestyle battle. Someone would just have to tell Puffy to fall back and not take over the whole show!
Man! I may be biased because I’ve lived in Bed Stuy for the past 20 years, but you ain’t touching my man BIG!
Jay Connor: I don’t know how I feel about a Verzuz between two former friends who fell out over deeply personal issues, had their grievances blossom into a full-blown beef between coasts, and that was only resolved after each of them was murdered in cold blood.
Shanelle Genai: I’m not from NY but I LOOOOOVE Biggie. Verzuz is definitely good for shenanigans and hits..the former of which I think Tupac would be good for because his personality was just so fun and he was a little unpredictable at times. But bc it’s essentially a battle of who has the better bops...I think Biggie would take it, Tupac would be more entertaining for sure to watch but I don’t think that’s enough to win it.
Murjani Rawls: I think Verzuz is equally about showmanship and hits. Tupac is charismatic, and energetic and would hit Biggie with “California Love,” “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” and then definitely Hit Em Up. But Big got his own aura, plus crew records like “Victory,” “All About The Benjamins,” and “Mo Money, Mo Problems” to choose from. That might be the difference.
Tatsha Roberston: Love me some Biggie, love me some him. His words live in my head, but Tupac, oh dear lord his mind was so fast, words so beautiful and so vicious. There would be no competition.