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Meaning of ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ by ‘2Pac’ feat. Outlawz

Released: 1998Features: Outlawz”Hit ‘Em Up” by 2Pac featuring Outlawz is a scaldingly aggressive track often cited as the pinnacle of the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry. Emitting raw and uncensored acrimony, this song is Pac’s lyrical assault on rivals at the time, most notably The Notorious B.I.G, Puff Daddy and the whole Bad Boy Records camp.

The track commences with a ruthless opening line advancing the idea that this isn’t just rap beef anymore, but a personal vendetta. The line “That’s why I fucked yo’ bitch, you fat motherfucker” is a direct and personal attack on Biggie Smalls, alleged to be his wife at the time, Faith Evans. The chorus, “Grab your Glocks when you see 2Pac, Call the cops when you see 2Pac, uh. Who shot me? But you punks didn’t finish. Now you ’bout to feel the wrath of a menace”, reflects 2Pac’s fury after the infamous shooting incident at Quad Recording Studios where he raised accusations against Biggie, Puffy and others for setting him up.

The following verses continue to taunt his counterparts with unabated rage and disrespect. Lines such as “We keep on coming while we running for your jewels” signifies that 2Pac and his crew are on the offense, ready to exploit any signs of weakness from their enemies.

The lyrics “Biggie, remember when I used to let you sleep on the couch. And beg a bitch to let you sleep in the house? Now it’s all about Versace, you copied my style. Five shots couldn’t drop me, I took it and smiled” is a stark reminder of their past camaraderie turned sour, with 2pac alleging Biggie of copying his aggressive, lux centric hip-hop style.

A key reference arises with 2pac’s taunt, “Don’t one of you niggas got sickle-cell or something?” aimed at Mobb Deep’s Prodigy, who battled the disease. This line highlights the level of acrimony and the unwillingness to hold back on any personal attacks on his opponents.

The song ends atop a cacophony of heavy insults and threats to everyone he perceives as an enemy, with 2Pac claiming dominance for his Westside crew and solidifying the divide in the hip-hop world.

In sum, “Hit ‘Em Up” by 2Pac featuring Outlawz is revered and controversial. It stands as one of the most ruthless dis records in Hip-hop history, a document of a volatile time in the culture, a testament to 2Pac’s fearless spirit, and an echo of a feud that cost lives.

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