(Originally posted on 1/14/04)
Biggie and Tupac, Nick Broomfield's tantalizing investigation into the rappers' murders, is short on concrete evidence but long on compelling insinuation. Released shortly after Chuck Philip's Los Angeles Times report fingered a possible gunman in Tupac Shakur's death, Broomfield sets his sights on the killing of Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace, whose death was largely explained as retribution for Tupac's murder. Speaking with Mrs. Wallace, Biggie's associates, former L.A. police offers and Death Row records executives, Broomfield uncovers a conspiracy orchestrated by the LAPD and Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight to suppress the culprit in both killings. According to Biggie and Tupac, Tupac's imminent departure from Death Row records -- which would have been followed by a lawsuit over money the label owed him -- convinced Knight to have the rapper killed, which he subsequently insinuated was arranged by Biggie and his sidekick/producer Sean "Puffy" Combs. Then, to deflect attention away from his own culpability, Knight had the corrupt cops on his payroll (apparently, the LAPD allowed its officers to work during their off hours for music labels involved in gun- and drug-running) execute Biggie to make it look like both men had been killed because of the much-hyped East Coast-West Coast hip-hop feud. While Broomfield never finds the smoking gun linking Knight and his cohorts to the crimes, the avalanche of circumstantial evidence he uncovers is thrillingly persuasive. Even if the film is ultimately an entertaining but unstable house of cards, Broomfield's interview with Knight in prison is a nearly awe-inspiring feat of courage given the prior stories we've heard about the CEO's intimidating violent streak.