Despite its reputation in some pop-culture circles as a creation of the media and aggressive music-industry marketing, the East Coast-West Coast Rap War was scary real and incredibly deadly. The bi-coastal blood feud seeing NYC’s Bad Boys Records and its founder Sean (Puffy) Combs square off against L.A.’s Death Row Records and its founder Marion (Suge) Knight lasted roughly a decade, with the violence starting in New York in the mid-1990s before moving west to Las Vegas and then finally California, where a majority of the homicides in the battle took place in the late 1990s and first half of the 2000s. The two most famous casualties of the war were all-time rap pillars Tupac Shakur of Death Row and Christopher (The Notorious B.I.G) Wallace of Bad Boy, but there were many more and nearly all of them remain unsolved today. Knight’s Death Row crew was linked to the notorious Bloods street gang while Combs and his Bad Boy brigade hitched their wagon to the equally-notorious Crips street gang for protection purposes and muscle. The overall cost of the conflict was a body count well into the double digits.

November 30, 1994The Quad Studios Shooting: Tupac Shakur is robbed, beaten, shot five times and left for dead as he arrived to record a verse on Bad Boy Records affiliate Little Shawn’s album at New York’s Quad Studios in Manhattan. The high-profile shooting and attempted murder sets off a decade of unrest in both Bad Boy and Death Row organizations. Puffy Combs and Tupac’s rapper protégé-turned-rival the Notorious B.I.G. were at the studio at the time recording B.I.G’s Junior Mafia group side project. Tupac blamed the Bad Boy contingent for either arranging the setup or knowing about it and not alerting him and the war was on, further instigated in subsequent months by Tupac’s accusatory comments to the press related to Combs and B.I.G and his feelings of betrayal.

September 23, 1995 – Suge Knight’s best friend and bodyguard Jake (The Violator) Robles is shot dead outside Atlanta’s Platinum City Club after Knight’s Death Row entourage scuffled with Puffy Combs’ Bad Boy camp inside the establishment with both record labels in attendance for a party thrown by Dirty South hip hop impresario Jermaine Dupree for his birthday. Combs’ bodyguard Anthony (Wolf) Jones is alleged to have pulled the trigger.

November 30, 1995 – Rapper, actor and one-time Tupac confidant Randy (Stretch) Walker is killed in a drive-by behind the wheel of his car on his way home from dropping his brother off in Queens following a night of partying. Walker’s murder fell on the one-year anniversary (almost to the exact minute) of Tupac’s shooting at Quad Studios which he was present for.

September 13, 1996 – The iconic Tupac Shakur succumbed to injuries suffered six days earlier when he was shot in the passenger’s side of Suge Knight’s BMW by an assailant in a passing vehicle while stuck in traffic just off the Las Vegas Strip headed to Knight’s nightclub for an after party thrown on the evening of the Mike Tyson-vs.-Bruce Seldon fight.

September 13-20, 1996 – In the week after Tupac’s death, a series of retaliatory shootings and slayings occurred in Los Angeles, estimated to have caused more than a half-dozen murders and injuries.

November 10, 1996 – Tupac’s childhood best friend and fellow hip hopper Yafeu (Kadafi) Fulu of the Tupac-backed Outlawz rap group is killed in Orange, New Jersey at the apartment of his girlfriend. Fulu was one of the only witnesses in Tupac’s murder.

March 9, 1997 – Oversized hip hop legend Christopher (The Notorious B.I.G) Wallace is shot to death sitting in the passenger’s seat of an SUV by an assailant in another vehicle after departing a party at L.A.’s Peterson Automotive Museum while on a trip to the west coast to promote his new album. Eerily, the album was titled Life After Death.

June 1, 1997 – One-time Suge Knight bodyguard Aaron (Heroin) Palmer – pronounced HAIR-RON – is killed in a drive-by at a traffic light in Compton, California on his way home from attending a Death Row-sponsored barbeque and touch football game

May 29, 1998 – Crips gang member Orlando (Baby Lane) Anderson, the reputed triggerman in Tupac’s murder, is killed in shootout in front of record store in Compton.

April 4, 2000 – Death Row affiliate and L.A. gangbanger, William (Willie the Chin) Walker, is killed sitting in a van on a desolate dead-end Compton street, shot in the head at close range

April 25, 2000 – L.A. gangbanger Vence (Big V) Buchanan, the reputed triggerman in the “Chin” Walker hit, is kidnapped, tortured, beaten and shot to death, his body left in a Compton graveyard. Buchanan’s brutal murder was reportedly videotaped by the perpetrators, allegedly dispatched by Suge Knight.

March 25, 2001 – Death Row affiliate and L.A. gangbanger David (Tilted Brim Dave) Dudley, reportedly believed to be one of the assailants in the heinous Buchanan homicide, is killed in front of a friend’s house in Compton.

April 3, 2002 – Death Row affiliate Alton (Buntry) McDonald, Suge Knight’s best friend and former bodyguard, is killed at a gas station, shot to death as he filled up his tank. Like Dudley, McDonald was a suspect in Buchanan’s slaying. Dudley had been gunned down a year prior in front of McDonald’s home.

June 7, 2002 – L.A. gangbanger Eric (Scar) Daniels, believed to be the triggerman in McDonald’s murder, is murdered himself in a retaliatory strike said to be ordered by Suge Knight.

October 16, 2002 – Death Row affiliate Henry (Hen Dog) Smith, Suge Knight’s best friend and former bodyguard, is killed outside a fried chicken joint in Compton sitting in his jeep, shot six times in the head.

July 24, 2003 – Death Row affiliate and L.A. gangbanger Wardell (Poochie) Fouse, the alleged triggerman in the Notorious B.I.G hit, is killed on his motorcycle in drive by shooting in Compton. Fouse had survived at least three other attempts on his life during the previous five years, including being shot in the “Chin” Walker slaying.

November 11, 2003 – Bad Boy affiliate Anthony (Wolf) Jones and an associate of his named Lamont (Riz) Girdy, are killed outside the Atlanta nightclub Chaos after a party thrown by Jermaine Dupree’s SoSoDef Records. Wolf Jones was Puffy Combs’ former bodyguard and allegedly the triggerman in the Jake Robles murder practically a decade prior. Legendary drug kingpin Demetrius (Big Meech) Flenory, the founder and leader of the transcendent Black Mafia Family (BMF), is the No. 1 suspect in Wolf Jones’ homicide.

September 23, 2015 – Crips gang member Terrence (Bubble Up) Brown, the reputed wheelman in Tupac’s murder, and an associate of his named Marquis (Wolf Da Boss) Tann are killed execution style at the Chief Keef Glo Shop marijuana dispensary in Compton owned by rapper Keith (Chief Keef) Cozart. Tann managed the dispensary.

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