BED-STUY, NY — Sipping a cappuccino in a coffee shop two minutes away from the home of his former associate and friend Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace, Sean “Diddy” Combs stares out over the city in reflection.
“In 1995 I had two cereals, called ‘Puffy Puffs’ and ‘Honey Nut Diddy Combs,”’ said the rap mogul, skimming foam off of his cappuccino with a teaspoon. “One was with Kellogg, the other with General Mills. I was playing both sides. I played both sides for far too long.”
On November 30th 1994 in Manhattan, Tupac Shakur was shot during a robbery in the lobby of a recording studio. Surviving the shooting, Shakur blamed the innermost circle of Bad Boy including former friends Combs and Wallace. What ensued was the East-West hip-hop feud, ignited by the shooting of Shakur and fueled by the ill-timed release of Biggie’s “Who Shot Ya?”
With tensions rising between Combs’ Bad Boy Records and Death Row Records, the West Coast label of Suge Knight to which Tupac Shakur signed, Combs knew he had to act.
“The streets weren’t safe anymore, for anyone. I knew I had to do something, so I called the craziest motherfucker I knew. I called up my boy Al.”
“How come you’re always such a fussy young man
Don’t want no Cap’n Crunch, don’t want no Raisin Bran
Well don’t you know that other kids are starvin’ in Japan
So eat it, just eat it”
Alfred Yankovic, famed Grammy-winning parody musician and proud Crip, was an associate of Combs in the ‘90s who later served as a personal bodyguard for Mase. Even then, Al was known for his incredible ability to put a spin on popular songs and pumping bitches full of lead. Legend has it, he would walk the streets of Harlem with a thesaurus in one hand and a Glock in the other.
Yankovic also served as Bad Boy’s personal hitman.
“I told Al, ‘he’s in Vegas. Go get him.’ And once you’d send Al out on a job, he always finished it,” recounted Combs, nibbling a pistachio biscotti.
On September 7th 1996, Tupac Shakur was shot four times in a drive-by shooting with a Glock 22, the signature weapon of ‘Weird’ Al. Bystanders described the assailant as a white male with long, curly brown hair, large glasses and a mustache.
As of time of writing, no one has been convicted with the murder of Shakur. Knight, who was wounded in the shooting, has said that he wouldn’t say anything even if he had seen something.
Several have been suspected of being involved in the shooting, including Wallace and Combs. As tensions rose between the Coasts, pressure mounted on Bad Boy Record and, to protect his label, Combs was forced to act.
“Hardest shit I ever had to do. Got on the phone, called Al and said, ‘yo Al, I need you to finish this thing. I’ll pay.’ And damn sure he finished it.”
Six months later, on the 9th of March 1997, Christopher Wallace was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. Descriptions of the shooter included ‘white’ and ‘nerdy.’ Again, no one was convicted of the murder.
Combs comments here may be the most damning testimony in two of the most high profile murder cases in American history. I asked Combs how he felt revealing this information, especially with the deadly Alfred Yankovic still on the streets.
“I lived a long enough life. It’s time I paid for my sins, and I know it’s gonna be that maniac Alfred Yankovic cashing the damned check.”