We may not talk as much as we did when his father and my mother were married, but I credit a large part of my infatuation with Hip-Hop to my older stepbrother, Ryan. Being four years older, he was already heavily invested in the culture and did his best to ensure I followed suit. Back then, CD’s were still catching on, so what he did for me was make actual “mixtapes.” One of them housed the now legendary Madison Square Garden freestyle with Big Daddy Kane, Shyheim, Scoob, The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur.
What’s interesting is at the time, probably circa 1997, I remember asking why Pac and Big were on the same track. He explained the reason and drove home the point of it being a radical moment like none other in Hip Hop history because the duo would ultimately be commemorated for their bitter feud instead of a budding and innocent friendship prior to Shakur’s first shooting. Now, 18 years following the cipher, Shyheim, who wasn’t even old enough to vote at the time, reflects on being apart of music antiquity and how the moment came to fruition. He also sheds light on the highs and lows he’s experienced since then including being a fugitive for a few years. How he was eventually caught was a head scratching act of coincidence.
All credit goes to eskay for the next video. I never knew, or bothered to look up, if actual footage from the night in question existed. While it isn’t the entire freestyle, watching Biggie effortlessly preach “My slow flow’s remarkable/Peace to Mateo/Now we smoke weed like Tony Montana sniffed the yayo/That’s crazy blunts…” and Pac yell at the top of his lungs towards the heavens “Race me n*gga in a high-speed chase with the law/The realest mothaf*cka that you ever saw…” gave me chills.