USA Networks recently announced that they had greenlit a pilot for Unsolved, a scripted true crime series that will chronicle the investigations into the murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.
The two rappers were murdered only six months apart in 1997, both in drive-by shootings by unknown killers. Their deaths shook the rap world and highlighted its connections to gangs and gang-violence, prompting stories that the deaths were linked and part of an East Coast-West Coast rivalry in hip hop.
Unsolved is based on the LAPD Detective Greg Kading, who led several task forces that investigated the murders of the two iconic rappers, and wrote it all in a book titled Murder Rap: The Untold Story of Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations. Kading is directly involved as a consultant on the pilot script of the show.
Meanwhile, and perhaps more excitingly, Unsolved is being directed by Anthony Hemingway, best known now for his work as a director on The People vs. O.J. Simpson. Hemingway’s involvement makes Unsolved a big deal, as his previous work on another true crime story was so very impressive. Hemingway is also set to executive produce the show, alongside Mark Taylor.
Thus far there appears to be no word on who will play the two rappers, or what direction the series will take. As the murders remain officially unsolved, it will be interesting to see how the show covers them. It could chronicle the aftermath of the killings and the efforts of the police and the public to understand and explain the murders, or it could take us more deeply inside rap culture prior to the rappers’ deaths to understand them as political and cultural forces. Regardless, Kading’s involvement means that there will be significant attention paid to the part of the investigators.