On “Death Row East” off Nas’ latest album, King’s Disease II, he throws out a quick line that might go over a lot of people’s heads: “There’s a rumor that spread I’d like to address, Pac was never set up by Stretch.”
If you aren’t familiar with the East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry and all the drama surrounding Pac’s 1994 Quad Studios shooting, here’s a history lesson.
In the early ’90s, Pac met Stretch, a rapper-producer from Queens, through Digital Underground and the two became close friends. They would go on to collaborate several times over the years, with Stretch producing several of Pac’s songs, including “Holler If Ya Hear Me” off Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z…
On November 30, 1994, Pac was on his way to Quad Studios with Stretch and two others, when they were confronted by three men with guns. The men robbed Pac, who tried to resist, and in the ensuing mayhem the rapper was shot five times. The day after the shooting, Pac was convicted of sexual assault and on February 14, 1995, he was sentenced to at least a year and a half in prison.
In an interview with Vibe Magazine from prison, Pac fired shots at Stretch, who he felt disappointed in. “Stretch was my closest dog, my closest homie,” Pac told Vibe’s Kevin Powell.
“I did a lot of drama, I got into a lot of cases and shit because of Stretch. Money-wise, he could’ve had anything. His daughter was my daughter; whatever she wanted she could have. Then this shit happened and the ni**a didn’t ride for me. He didn’t do what your dog is supposed to do when you shot up. When I was in jail, ni**a never wrote me, never got at me.”
Around this time, Stretch met fellow Queens rapper, Nas, who was working on It Was Written. The two linked up, with Stretch contributing production to Nas’ album. On November 30, 1995 (exactly a year since Pac got shot at Quad Studios), Stretch dropped Nas off home after leaving a recording session and was shortly killed afterwards.
The murder was reported in the New York Times – “Randy Walker, 27, who performed in the group Live Squad, was being chased by at least two men in a black car when he was shot at least four times, crashing his minivan at the corner of 112th Avenue and 209th Street in Queens Village just after 12:30 A.M., said Lieut. Vito R. Spano, commander of the detective squad in the 105th Precinct.”
Nas: Stretch was really hurt by 2Pac. I would hear him talking about how ‘Pac was so mad at him because Stretch was with 2Pac when he got set up and robbed in the lobby of Quad Studios in Manhattan, in Nov. 1994. ‘Pac was mad at everyone after that. I felt bad for Stretch because he really had a lot of love for ‘Pac and couldn’t believe that ‘Pac thought he had something to do with it. Stretch dropped me off at home, then went home and was killed [in Dec. 1995, in Queens]. That was a real great guy. He produced “Take It in Blood” and “Silent Murder”—the irony. It was just a messed up moment for me. It was the last work he did.The Making of Nas’ ‘It Was Written’ | Complex