Ever since the release of The Notorious B.I.G.’s album Life After Death on March 25, 1997, a mere 16 days after the rapper’s own tragic death, hip hop heads have debated the intentions behind the album’s penultimate track, “Long Kiss Goodnight.”
Many have speculated that this song was Biggie’s long-awaited response to 2Pac’s numerous disses during the height of the infamous East Coast–West Coast beef. Some view the track as Biggie’s final, unapologetic response to the years of animosity, while others argue that it’s merely a reflection of the era’s charged atmosphere.
The mid-’90s feud between New York and L.A. rappers marked a dark period in hip hop history. Triggered by the 1994 Quad Recording Studios attack on Pac (later found out to be organised by Jimmy Henchman), the beef escalated tensions among the industry’s biggest names. In the span of six months, from September 1996 to March 1997, the world lost two of its most influential rappers.
Pac’s anger and paranoia fueled many of his diss tracks, with “Hit ‘Em Up” standing out as one of the most scathing tracks against the entire Bad Boy crew and other East Coast rappers. Biggie, on the other hand, was known for his restraint, opting for subtlety and wit when responding to such attacks. For instance, in response to “Hit ‘Em Up,” Biggie rapped on Hov’s “Brooklyn’s Finest”, “If Fay’ had twins, she’d probably have two Pacs / Get it? Tu-pac’s.”
Despite Biggie’s calm demeanor, he wasn’t completely immune to the heat of the beef. In “Kick In the Door,” he took shots at Nas and Raekwon, who were both vying for the title of King of New York. But it was on “Long Kiss Goodnight” that Biggie reserved his most biting lines for 2Pac.
Produced by RZA, the ominous “Long Kiss Goodnight” was a relentless track with an intensity that’s hard to ignore. While Biggie never explicitly mentioned 2Pac by name, the song’s lyrics and context make it difficult not to draw connections between the two. Lines like “When my men bust, you just move with such stamina / Slugs missed ya, I ain’t mad at cha” seem to echo 2Pac’s “I Ain’t Mad at Cha,” while other verses contain apparent references to 2Pac’s shooting and his time in jail.
Let’s take a closer look at the Big’s lines:
Ni**a please, blood floods your dungarees And that’s just the half of my warpath Laugh now cry later, I rhyme greater
Straight off the bat with the first verse, Big mentions dungarees – which Pac was frequently spotted in – and the two tattoos on his back – “Smile Now” and “Cry Later.” Biggie very quickly establishes who he’s talking about on the track.
Ya still tickle me, I used to be as strong as Ripple be Til Lil’ Cease crippled me
This is an interesting line – Big is referring to his car accident which happened after Pac’s death. I’d like to think that Big still enough love and respect for Pac to not diss him after he passed but who knows? Pac insulted Big, his wife, his team and threatened to destroy his career so there could still have been a lot of resentment and bitterness bottled up.
When my men bust, you just move with such stamina Slugs missed ya, I ain’t mad at cha (we ain’t mad at cha)
This line alone would be the smoking gun that Big was dissing 2Pac on “Long Kiss Goodnight.” Big directly references Pac’s ’96 single “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” and talks about slugs missing him, which could be referring the Quad Studios shooting that Pac survived. This line’s way too obvious to ignore.
Maniacs, put my name in raps, what part the Game is that? Like they hustle backwards
Who else was mentioning Big Poppa? There were a few rappers dissing Big at the time – Nas, Raekwon, Ghostface – but they were all low key jabs. Pac came out swinging on “Hit ‘Em Up,” calling Big out by name along with Puffy, Lil’ Cease, Lil’ Kim, Mobb Deep, Chino XL, as well as the rest of the Bad Boy crew.
Now you rest eternally, sleepy, you burn when you creep me Rest where the worms and the weak be
By this time, Pac was already dead. This line sounds like Big was dancing on his grave.
In 2003, Puffy and other artists involved in Life After Death came together for an XXL feature about the making of the album. When it came to talking about “Long Kiss Goodnight,” there were conflicting messages from Lil Cease and Puffy.
Lil Cease: That was a one-nighter. That was about ’Pac. He had some shit at the beginning of that thought, nobody heard it, on the reel. We had to change it. It was a little too much. I can’t remember what Big said about him, but it was terrible. It couldn’t make it. He didn’t want to do it. He had some fire. But he didn’t want to make it too much. He just wanted to address it and to let ni**a know, “I know what’s going on, and I could get wreck if I want to.” Like, “If I really wanted to get on ya ni**as, I could.”Check Out How Biggie’s ‘Life After Death’ Was Made | XXL
However Puffy, forever the politician and diplomat, has firmly denied that the song had anything to do with 2Pac.
Puffy: Naaah. It was just some MC lyrics. I know people wanna have their imagination, but it was just lyrics. You’re hearing it from the horse’s mouth. I would tell the truth. If Biggie was going to do a song about 2Pac, he would have just come out with it and said his name. Their gloves were basically off. 2Pac had did “Hit ’Em Up.”Check Out How Biggie’s ‘Life After Death’ Was Made | XXL