In October 2018, former Death Row Records boss Suge Knight was sentenced to 28 years in prison for running over and killing music executive Terry Carter. Documentarian Nick Broomfield’s 2002 film Biggie & Tupac alleged that Knight was complicit in the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Christopher “Notorious BIG” Wallace, rival rap icons who were shot in mysterious drive-bys within six months of each other in the mid-Nineties. But Knight’s lengthy incarceration presented an opportunity to uncover new evidence that even decades on could help shed light on the pair of intriguing and high-profile unsolved murders.
“People are much more prepared to talk now,” says Broomfield, speaking over a video call. “Now that Suge Knight’s behind bars, a lot of people are coming forward that were, frankly, frightened of getting killed before.”
Broomfield says further motivation to make new documentary Last Man Standing: Suge Knight and the Murders of Biggie & Tupac came from his desire to continue the work of the late LAPD detective Russell Poole, whose investigation into Wallace’s murder led him to believe that corrupt LAPD officers had been involved. Poole died of a heart attack in 2015 during a meeting at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, where he was still arguing his case. That same year a documentary, Murder Rap – based on a book by another former LAPD officer, Greg Kading – set out an alternative narrative that cleared the police of any involvement.
“I felt Russell Poole had been really shafted,” says Broomfield. “He had a tragic ending, and then this bulls*** programme came out. I was horrified when I saw the film. I felt it was belittling the work of Poole, and it made these ridiculous allegations that the LAPD were completely innocent and that this guy called Poochie had done the hit. The hit on Biggie was not a gang hit. Through complete annoyance, and out of loyalty to Poole, I decided to do this film.”