On the most overlooked feuds from the 1990s, a infamous decade for hip hop beefs, was between two rappers who weren’t typically associated with each other.
Keith Murray, a legendary New York rapper and member of the Def Squad, and Tupac Shakur, the West Coast icon who was one of the biggest names in hip hop at the time.
The source of their disagreement was LL Cool J’s hit single, “I Shot Ya,” which was released in November 1995. The song was produced by Trackmasters and featured Keith Murray and LL Cool J rapping about their dominance in the game, with lines like “MC’s is gettin wet up in the game.”
Pac was known for being extremely paranoid at the time, having been robbed and shot five times just a year prior in a New York City studio. In a subsequent interview with Vibe magazine, he accused Puffy, Biggie, and other East Coast rappers of having a role in the shooting.
So when he heard “I Shot Ya,” he immediately assumed that Keith Murray was taking a shot at him. This led to a confrontation between the two rappers at the infamous House of Blues, where Pac confronted Keith Murray about the song. In a later interview with HipHopDX, Murray recounted the incident when the L.A. rapper confronted him about the song.
Keith Murray: So, around that time I was hanging out with Biggie a lot. And Cease and them. And we went to the House Of Blues. I seen Tupac, I seen him, peace, at the House Of Blues. We was walking around. Then one of his homeboys came up to me like ‘Yo, my homeboy wanna know if you was talking about him in a song.’ I’m like ‘Who you talking about?’ It was Pac. I said ‘I just seen Tupac. He didn’t say anything to me.’ Rest in peace to Tupac. I love and respect Tupac to death. I’m not talking bad about Tupac or nothing like that. It’s just an incident. So, he came up. Walked up and he was like ‘Nah, I just wanted to know because we had—I got shot five times. You know what I’m saying? In New York, so I thought niggas was talking about me.’ I can understand why he did that. We was squaring off. Everybody had knives on ‘em. But we diffused it and it was peace after that.”Keith Murray Recalls Tupac Approaching Him Over “I Shot Ya” | HipHopDX
Although the encounter could have escalated into something much more serious, it ended without any major incident. Today, “I Shot Ya” is remembered as a classic track from one of the most important eras in hip hop culture, and the feud between Keith Murray and Tupac is a footnote in the rap’s long and storied history.