It was Nov. 29, 1994, and Tupac Shakur was in trouble.
He was on trial for sexual abuse, sodomy, and weapons possession. A woman had accused him of setting her up to be raped in his New York hotel room. The jury started deliberating that morning, and Tupac was facing the possibility of a long prison sentence. His career was already suffering, and his legal bills were piling up. Tupac needed cash.
During the trial, Tupac spent his evenings going from one recording studio to another, trying to rap his way out of financial ruin. On the night of Nov. 29, Tupac was cutting a track at Quad Recording Studios in Times Square. Quad was a busy spot. SWV, Mobb Deep, and Deborah Cox were also recording that night. And so was Junior M.A.F.I.A., the rap group started by Christopher Wallace, better known as the Notorious B.I.G. Biggie was in the studio with the rest of his group, including Chico Del Vec. Chico considered Tupac a friend. The same was true of the rest of Biggie’s circle. They looked up to Tupac. They’d welcomed him when he visited Brooklyn. That night at Quad, they showed each other love as he walked into the lobby to record his verse.