Photographer T. Eric Monroe shared a piece of hip-hop history that he captured back in 1993 while he was at a concert shooting Onyx for Thrasher Magazine.
Monroe explained, “So 1993, I set up a shoot with Onyx to do an article in Thrasher. They were in concert, opening for either Ice-T or Public Enemy or something. So I get there around soundcheck time. We’re standing in the dressing room, talking to the guys, planning it out. We go down to the stage area because the performance wasn’t starting yet and I got our group shots that I needed from them.”
From there, he adds, “As I was packing my equipment away, someone from the other side of the stage goes, ‘Yo, come take our picture.’ I literally said, ‘Yes, give me a second.’ Then I ended up going over to the guys who said it. Literally just look at them, line up the picture and took one picture and said thank you and then went back to the dressing room to Onyx. I got the film developed at some point and I kept remembering this giant middle finger. I remember writing the name Tupac on it, but I didn’t really understand who he was in 1993.”
Monroe explained that he couldn’t use the photo in any magazines due to 2Pac holding up a middle finger, so he stored it with the rest of his slides and essentially forgot about it. It wasn’t until he was sifting through his storage nineteen years after taking the photo did he take a closer look at the gem.
He stated, “I’m looking at it and looking at it — something makes me stare at it. Then I just started laughing. I get up from the light box and can’t stop laughing. I realized it was Biggie and 2Pac together in 1993 wearing ‘I’m A Bad Boy’ t-shirts, which was Biggie’s label. He said that in his first song ‘Party & Bullshit.’ That was basically his catchphrase.”
Monroe later connected with Lil Cease about the photo to see if he could recall the night it was taken. Monroe added, “I have a whole video of [Lil Cease] talking about that night and he remembers that night vividly of all of them hanging out. So that’s another piece of content that I was able to create and create a new friendship with Lil Cease who didn’t know me from Jack. Now he has a face with an image of a historic moment of him, Biggie and Tupac together being friends, just pure friendship. So it’s helped bridge the gaps in the story.”