Twenty-two years ago, Hip Hop was hit with a new single that would soon take over airwaves worldwide. It was then that Jay-Z shared “Big Pimpin,” a track that hosted unforgettable looks from UGK, but according to Bun B, it was a collaboration that almost didn’t happen. At the time, Hip Hop was still reeling from the deaths of iconic rappers Tupac Shakur and Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace, and Pimp respected Pac so much that he wasn’t initially on board with “Big Pimpin.”
“I talk to Jay-Z all the time. We communicate very frequently. We have that shared experience,” said Bun in an interview with Steven Sulley. “We literally had the No. 1 record in the world.”
“So, Tupac was not a Jay-Z fan, this is very well-known. Tupac was not a Jay-Z fan in his career, and when there was a West Coast, East Coast beef, he felt Jay-Z was part of the collective that were his enemies. Jay-Z was good [friends] with Biggie, good friends with Biggie who was [with Puffy], who Tupac felt betrayed him when he got shot.”
“‘Everybody that’s cool with Biggie, I don’t f*ck with none of them.‘ And Pimp C did not want to f*ck with people that Tupac did not f*ck with, because he thought Tupac was the best judge of character, right? So, if Tupac didn’t like you, I don’t like you, ’cause I’m like Tupac. I think like Tupac thinks, I move like Tupac moves.”
“And so, literally, when the call came, I remember Pimp used to have this big painting on the wall. And this was when the first call came—when the first call came from Jay-Z, ’cause that happened when we was in Atlanta, we was in the house in Atlanta, and he looked up at the wall and he just stared at the picture.”
Bun said after watching Pimp C stare into space, he questioned his friend about what he was doing. Pimp was said to have replied, “I’m thinking, what would Tupac do? And Tupac wouldn’t want me to f*ck with him.” Bun added that it was a “litmus test” for Pimp C to see his “character.”
“Tupac was a man of very high personal standards of character and did not have a lot of friends, because he knew that everyone did not move and carry themselves in a way that he did, and Pimp C felt the same way.”
Watch Bun B detail the relationship between the late Rap legends below.