Biggie & Tupac
|Biggie & Tupac|
DVD Cover for Biggie & Tupac
|Directed by||Nick Broomfield|
|Produced by||Nick Broomfield
|Starring||Biggie Smalls (archive footage)
Tupac Shakur (archive footage)
|Music by||Christian Henson|
|Editing by||Mark Atkins
Jaime Estrada Torres
|Distributed by||Roxie Releasing
Lions Gate Entertainment
|Release dates||January 11, 2002|
|Running time||108 min.|
Biggie & Tupac is a 2002 feature-length documentary film about murdered rappers Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace and Tupac "2Pac" Shakur by Nick Broomfield. Broomfield suggests the two murders were planned by Suge Knight, head of Death Row Records. Collusion by the LAPD is also implied. While the film remains inconclusive, when asked "Who killed Tupac?" in a BBC Radio interview dated March 7, 2005, Broomfield stated (quoting Snoop Dogg) "The big guy next to him in the car... Suge Knight."
Broomfield's low-budget documentary was as the New York Times described it, a "largely speculative" and "circumstantial" account relying on flimsy evidence, failing to "present counter-evidence" or "question sources." The movie alleged that Knight had Tupac killed before he could part ways with Knight's Death Row label and conspired to kill Biggie to divert attention from himself in the Tupac murder. As The Courant noted:
Broomfield's interview subjects aren't the most credible bunch. They include bounty hunter and ex-con Kevin Hackie, an ex-LAPD officer [Russell Poole on whose theory Broomfield's film is built] who talks about mysterious documents that never turn up; Mark Hyland, known for some reason as the Bookkeeper, who is in prison awaiting trial on 37 counts of impersonating a lawyer when he tells Broomfield that he was present when Knight and crooked cops arranged a hit on Biggie; and Biggie's mother, friends and bodyguard, who obviously have no reason to present Wallace as anything less than a hip-hop martyr.
Moreover, the motive suggested for the murder of Biggie (as in the Russell Poole theory on which it relied) -- to decrease suspicion for the Shakur shooting six months earlier—was, as The New York Times phrased it, "unsupported in the film."
Broomfield's documentary was based on the theory and interviews of ex-detective Russelle Poole. Poole claimed that the L.A.P.D. conspired to cover up Suge Knight's conspiracy to kill Tupac and Biggie. The documentary shows Poole to have been forced out of his position as an L.A. P.D. detective for independently pursuing a theory considered threadbare by his colleagues and superiors. Russell Poole suspected ex-cop David Mack, and Amir Muhammed (a mortgage broker with no plausible connection to the case) to have worked with Suge Knight to kill Biggie.
A key source for Poole's theory was Kevin Hackie. Hackie had implicated Suge Knight and David Mack along with supposed crooked cops in the murder of Biggie. When pressed by Broomfield in the film, Hackie agreed that Harry Billups also known as Amir Muhammed was involved in the murder although Hackie said on camera "don't ask me why." Hackie, a former Death Row associate, had stated in a declaration filed June 6, 2004 that he had ""personal knowledge" regarding Wallace's slaying, alleging that "persons within Death Row Records offered $25,000 to a law enforcement officer" to kill the Biggie. In an interview, Hackie later told journalist Chuck Philips that he suffered memory lapses due to psychiatric medications. Hackie had also claimed to have knowledge of involvement between Suge Knight and David Mack as well as other alleged crooked cops. This was information that the Wallace family used in forming the basis of their 500 million dollar suit against the city of L.A. for Biggie's death. But Hackie later told journalist Chuck Philips that the Wallace attorneys had altered his declarations and did not testify in their suit. (The 500 million dollar suit was dismissed in 2010.)
A 2005 story by Philips, showing that another main informant for the Poole/Sullivan theory of Biggie's murder implicating Amir Muhammed, David Mack, Suge Knight and the L.A.P.D. in the Wallace suit against the city of LA was a schizophrenic known as "Psycho Mike" who confessed to hearsay and memory lapses and falsely identifying Amir Muhammed. John Cook of Brill's Content noted that Philips' article "demolished"  the Poole-Sullvan theory of Biggie's murder represented in the film.
In contrast to Broomfield's implication of Suge Knight in the death of Tupac, a 2002 two-part series Chuck Philips wrote for the Times, titled “Who Killed Tupac Shakur?” based on a year-long investigation, reconstructing the events leading up to Shakur's murder including police affidavits and court documents as well as interviews with investigators, witnesses to the crime and members of the Southside Crips  showed that “the shooting was carried out by a Compton gang called the Southside Crips to avenge the beating of one of its members by Shakur a few hours earlier. Orlando Anderson, the Crip whom Shakur had attacked, fired the fatal shots. Las Vegas police discounted Anderson as a suspect and interviewed him only once, briefly. He was later killed in an unrelated gang shooting.” 
Poole's theory of Tupac's and Biggie's death, aided by Rolling Stone writer Randall Sullivan and the Broomfield documentary was the most popular theory for nearly a decade. Eventually it fell into disfavor and was eclipsed by Philips investigative reporting which remains "the definitive account of the Shakur slaying".
- Biggie & Tupac, rogerebert.com
- Leland, John (October 7, 2002). "New Theories Stir Speculation On Rap Deaths". New York Times. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- Danton, Eric (November 9, 2003). "Biggie (rip) Vs. Tupac (rip)". The Courant. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
- Philips, Chuck (June 20, 2005). "Witness in B.I.G. case says his memory's bad". LA Times. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Philips, Chuck (June 3, 2005). "Informant in Rap Star's Slaying Admits Hearsay". LA Times. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
- Philips, Chuck (6 September 2002). "Who Killed Tupac Shakur?". LA Times. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
- Philips, Chuck (September 7, 2002). "How Vegas police probe floundered in Tupac Shakur case". LA Times. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- Duvoisin, Mark (January 12, 2006). "L.A. Times Responds to Biggie Story". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 19 September 2013.