22 Years Ago Tupac, Outlawz Hit Em Up
“First Off F Your Bitch And The Click You Claim”
22 years ago, on June 4th 1996, Death Row Records released Tupac’s legendary diss record ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ The song, which many around the globe consider to be one of the greatest diss records to ever be made, was recorded in May of 1996. The song was produced by Johnny “J” The song appeared first as a B-side on the single “How do U want it”. The Outlawz are also featured on the track, the first and third verses are performed by Tupac whilst the second by Hussein Fatal, the forth by Kadafi and the last verse performed by E.D.I. Mean.
The aggressive Hit ‘Em Up was fuelled by Tupac’s anger against his former friend and fellow rapper The Notorious B.I.G. who he believed at that point in time had something to do with or was associated with the people who ambushed and shot him at New York’s Quad studio in 1994. Whilst Tupac was serving his prison sentence at Clinton Correctional Facility in early 1995, a song was released by Biggie titled ‘Who Shot Ya’ which although doesn’t mention Tupac’s name and was recorded before the shooting, many consider it to be a subliminal diss towards him. Tupac responded to this in Hit ‘Em Up with the line “Who shot me? But you punks didn’t finish”
Tupac didn’t stop there with Biggie, he starts off the song by stating that he had sex with Biggies wife Faith Evans and that he copied Tupac’s style with the line, “Now it’s all about Versace, you copied my style.”
He goes after the whole of the Bad Boy Records camp and anyone that was associated with them including Lil Kim, Junior M.A.F.I.A. and Mobb Deep. In the music video for Hit ‘Em Up, they have impersonators for Biggie, Lil Kim and Puff Daddy. Tupac can be seen with The Outlawz taunting the lookalikes, throwing money in the air and yelling in their faces.
Hip Hop magazine XXL put Hit ‘Em Up at number one in a ‘Top 20 Diss Records Of All Time’ The song is featured on Tupac’s Greatest Hits album that was released in 1998. Tupac performs ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ live at the House Of Blues in July 1996, which can also be seen in the 2017 biopic ‘All Eyez on Me’
E.D.I. Mean of the Outlawz explains what the mindset was like in Tupac’s camp during the recording process. “I was so hungry and just eager to prove myself at the time, I was just happy I made the record and my eight bars was solid,” explained E.D.I. “Everybody on that record was raw at what they do. Hussien Fatal was one of the best rappers from Jersey for years prior to even getting with us. The late, great Killa Kadafi was nasty in his own right. Then you got Pac on there with two verses.”
The record was coming form a hip-hop standpoint as far as classic diss records,” he continued.
“We was drawing from BDP’s ‘The Bridge Is Over,’ and Ice Cubes ‘No Vaseline’ those were the two records that, at that point, were the pinnacle of diss records. The whole Dre and Eazy beef was classic records that come up out of beef, unfortunately. That’s where we was coming from. It wasn’t about running up on niggas and actually trying to physically harm them. It was like yo, Pac was back and this is how he’s saying it.”