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Title: Biggie & Tupac: The Story Behind the Murder of Rap's Biggest Superstars

Year Of Release: 2002

Review Date: May 15, 2007

Rating: R

Running Time: 140 minutes

Box Office Gross: N/A - DVD release.

Recommendation: An in-depth look at the crime factor in rap and how it senselessly claimed two lives. Contains strong profanity.

Site Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

Tupac

"Biggie & Tupac: The Story Behind the Murder of Rap's Biggest Superstars" is a very revealing documentary by Nick Broomfield. Dude got the information...and on tape. Broomfield, a skinny white British man with a boom and cameraman, going into America's toughest ghettos and jails to get a story, is a brave man.

The Queen should give you a medal for bravery for that one. Especially visiting Suge Knight in prison, after your first cameraman cancelled and the second one just about got the runs, in more ways than one (he wanted to run).

Biggie (Christopher Wallace)

The documentary centered around the late rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls A/K/A Notorious BIG, two of rapís biggest stars that were killed in their prime, over what amounts to foolishness. 20 shootings, some with fatalities, occurred in the aftermath of their deaths.

Tupac, now the best-selling hip-hop artist in history, having sold 75,000,000 records, was always controversial. Biggie, whose sales also skyrocketed after his death, was also inflammatory.

ART IMITATING LIFE OR LIFE IMITATING ART

One of the things that really sticks out in this documentary, that both parents of the rappers separately agreed upon, is much of their raps were embellished to present a more gangster image. Kids at home ought to take note of that and stop trying to live out a life that truly doesn't exist, save for on albums.

I do believe this is rap's second greatest disservice to the community. Making up violent and debauched tales, then pretending it's all true for the camera, with kids haplessly following suit, trying to keep up with their unworthy role models.

The greatest disservice is recording much of that profanity and vulgarity, which is then disseminated to the world. There's no excuse. There are many ways to tell a story without the profanity and vulgarity. Recounting violence and depravity is one thing, glorifying it is another.

That goes for all rappers: men, women, black, white, Hispanic, American, Jamaican, British and otherwise. You're helping your bank accounts, but destroying your respective communities.

LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRUPTION

David Mack is an incarcerated police officer who is also a member of the Bloods street gang. A cop and a gang member all rolled in one.

The documentary explores what made two friends become staunched enemies. It contains interviews with Tupac's father, Billy Garland, a handsome black American man, who recounted his son's turbulent life with fondness and sadness.

It also featured Biggie's mom, a sweet, heartbroken Jamaican immigrant, Voletta Wallace, demanding answers in the midst of severe police and FBI corruption.

The documentary revealed that the FBI had both rappers under surveillance, prompting Biggie's mom to ask why they didn't stop the murders. Yea, good question. Biggie's cousin, rapper Lil' Cesar, stated that he was questioned by the FBI, who showed him pics of himself and the others present the day Biggie was murdered. This shocked him.

He said they even showed him pics of "sitting inside Biggie's house," which stunned him. How could they legally have gotten the latter pics is what I want to know. Seems rather invasive and questionable.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER

Tupac and his mother Afeni Shakur

It was said that Tupac turned on Biggie after Shakur was shot at a recording studio in New York. He survived the shooting. When he was later jailed, people began whispering in Tupac's ear telling him it was one of "Biggie's boys who shot you."

Many insiders from both sides of the aisles unequivocally stated Biggie had nothing to do with the death of Tupac Shakur. The documentary posed a theory that the people who mislead Tupac in jail were, "informants working for the FBI, who had a policy to cause dissension."

If an agency bound by the Constitution and the U.S. Code, engages in conduct that helps precipitate the deaths of two people, shouldn't there be some penalty for that.

There needs to be a Congressional probe into FBI corruption. How many of these stories do the public have to hear from people of different walks of life, on a regular basis, about the FBI doing something that makes you want to reach for the Constitution and ask "is that legal"?

Tupac and Biggie's wife Faith

UNTIMELY INVESTIGATIONS

From the time of Emmet Till to the present, you would think the FBI they would stop playing with people's lives and actually do what's in the title of their agency's name "investigations," as it always comes back to haunt them and provoke public outrage. Crime prevention and in a timely manner is supposed to be apart of their job as well.

Biggie's young son to the far right.

History has shown that letting investigations linger for years and or launching cover ups never works, as it only adds to the general public's view that the agency has something to hide and is not above board in many law enforcement matters.

There is nothing noble about that. Neither is there anything noble about letting investigations languish, then years later puffing out your chests, trumpeting how judicious you are and that you are going to solve old crimes, when you were the ones that failed the nation in your congressionally sworn oaths of duty in the first place.

General rule about cover ups: inaction = negative reaction. The public will undoubtedly believe the authorities are trying to hide something, rendering said cover up ineffective. How about solving crimes like Emmett Till, Biggie Smalls and Tupac in the same era that they actually occurred, instead of years later when no one cares about your investigation anymore, as the public has already made up their minds and are thinking the worst of you for it.

Russell Poole

Retired LAPD officer Russell Poole investigated Biggie's murder with integrity, but was blocked and harassed by superiors. It just goes to show you can't always go by color, as in this case it was the white cop trying to help, while the black cop committed crimes. In life it can go either way. True justice is blind and knows no color.

It took a decent, retired LAPD cop, Russell Poole, and a documentary filmmaker from another country to piece together the puzzle for the government...who still haven't done squat.

These men died 10 years ago. For years people have credibly pointed the finger at who they believe committed these crimes and no arrests have been made. No charges and no trial. Unbelievable.

The main suspects in Biggie's murder are Suge's friend, an incarcerated police officer, David Mack, who had the gall to rob a bank, and his associate, Amir Mohammed (Harry Phillips), who many, including Biggie's bodyguard, Jean, fingered as the shooter:

Harry Billups A/K/A Amir Muhammed

Puffy was said to have called Biggie's bodyguard and stated, "A guy in the Nation of Islam shot Biggie." It seems someone traded in his bean pies for bullets.

Biggie

Biggie's bodyguard, when shown a picture by Broomfield, positively identified Amir Muhammed (Harry Billups) as the alleged shooter. Bodyguard Jean stated that before the shooting occurred, he even, "Came up to me. Walked up to Puffy's van."

EVERYBODY: SUGE DID IT

The prevalent theme of the documentary is that Suge Knight is the alleged mastermind behind the murders of both rappers. Everyone from Snoop to the bodyguards to ex-police officers pointed the finger at Knight. It was even said in the film that he had the district attorney David Longo and cops in his back pocket. So much for justice then.

However, the public got to witness the end result of corruption in the catastrophic fall of Death Row Records that took a lot of people down with it. There were many destroyed reputations, obliterated bank accounts and flopped projects.

Tupac, who was owed many millions in royalties that Suge was withholding in violation of their recording contract, was about to leave Death Row. Fatal mistake. Tupac, at the height of his fame, wanted his money and rightfully so, and wished to leave as well, as he had many offers to chose from, to get out of an unsatisfactory situation. He was never given the chance.

HOW INJURED WAS SUGE?

The documentary further stated Suge lied about the extent of his injuries the night Tupac died. Broomfield illustrated that contrary to what Suge said in an interview, a clip of which was included in the documentary, stating that he was shot in the head and the bullet is still in there, Knight was actually allegedly only "scratched by the bullet." Broomfield cited a medical report to back up his claim to the contrary.

Last month, Suge said he found God. I hope so. I also hope he sticks to the Bible and the ways of decency, as the alternative, as evidenced by these destructive tragedies, benefits no one.

COVER UPS AND CORRUPTION

Afeni Shakur, Tupac's mom, was not in the documentary, but has spoken in interviews of her grief and frustration with the case.

So many people are telling the same story about these murders, yet no formal charges have been brought. It does not speak well of the justice system. These families are owed answers after what transpired. For the sake of the country's name, a proper investigation should be done with the necessary charges brought. There is too much evidence and in the public domain, for the case to be ignored.

To cover up crimes because the FBI had both rappers under surveillance, yet failed to stop their murders and one of the main suspects in the case is a police officer, doesn't look good.

The story is out there, people know about the case and you're kidding yourselves if you believe no one is paying attention. Stop with the corruption, already, and do the job the taxpayers' hard earned money pay you to do. The only way to get rid of corruption is to expose it, then bring the perpetrators to justice. To do anything less is to destroy the country's name.


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