Netflix series “Unsolved” delves into the high profile murders of 90s rap legends Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace.
The murders of legendary rappers Tupac Shakur (known by his stage names 2Pac and later Makaveli) and Notorious B.I.G. (also known as Biggie Smalls) have puzzled fans and criminal investigators alike. For over two decades, the answers to who killed these two men have remained a mystery.
The recently released Netflix series “Unsolved” attempts to answer the question of what happened in 1996 and 1997 through the experiences of two L.A.P.D officers, Russell Poole (played by Jimmi Simpson from HBO’s Westworld) and Greg Kading (played by Josh Duhamel). The story is set between three distinct timelines with the introduction of Tupac and Biggie (given name Christopher Wallace) in 1993, the murder investigation involving Poole in 1997, and the reopened task force headed by Kading in 2006.
The ten episodes cover the changing relationship between Tupac and Biggie, along with the growth of the West Coast/East Coast rivalry that was in full effect by the mid-1990’s. The series plays on a number of popular theories surrounding the two celebrity murders, including the active involvement of the L.A.P.D. in Death Row Records, gang related attacks, and the possibility that the murders were a calculated choice for financial reasons.
Detective Russell Poole’s theory of police involvement came into effect when the murder of Christopher Wallace was placed in his jurisdiction in 1997. The series effectively portrays Poole as distraught at the realization that a number of L.A. police officers were on the Death Row Records payroll at the behest of the co-founder and former CEO of Death Row Records, Suge Knight.
For anyone unfamiliar with the rap scene in the mid-1990s, Biggie and Tupac were two of the most influential Hip Hop artists to emerge during the decade. With competing hits from Tupac like “How Do You Want It” and “California Love” (or my personal favourite “I Just Don’t Give A…”) and Biggie’s “Mo Money Mo Problems” and “Hypnotize” it’s surprising to learn these rivals actually started out as good friends.
As Tupac became more entrenched in dangerous dealings in an attempt to build up his gangster persona, the two had a falling out and swiftly found themselves along the growing divide between West Coast rap and East Coast rap. This arbitrary divide would later cost these two young men their lives.
One fascinating narrative the show expresses is the depiction of these two men as young artists. While they may have put on an air of thuggery and danger, both were true artists and far too young to be caught up in the tangible threats of street life. At the time of their deaths, Biggie and Tupac were only 23 and 25 years-old respectively.
Unsolved has received high praise with many critics giving the show 8/10 for its accurate portrayal of the events that occurred prior to and after the murders.
Following the release of the series on Netflix, former Compton Kingpin, Duane Keith Davis , better known as Keefe D, confessed to being a witness to the murder of Tupac Shakur in 1996. He was one of four rival gang members pursuing the singer on the night of his death. One of the passengers in Keefe D’s car fired at Tupac and Suge Knight, hitting Tupac and resulting in his death in hospital a few days later.
To this day, no one has been prosecuted for the deaths of Tupac Shakur or Christopher Wallace. You can watch the full Unsolved series on Netflix.