It's always nice to read up on rap history, and watch old footage and videos of major events, but when you hear stories from one of the genre's legends, it's that much better, because you get a first-hand account of what went down.

That's what's so compelling about hearing the Beastie Boys' Mike D talk about the beef between late rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. in one of Vanity Fair's 'In Conversation With' episodes. Based on Mike D's take, Tupac was more of a trained artist than a thug, and he said Biggie was just an overall amazing figure.

"Pac was an interesting thing, because he came from the Digital Underground camp," he told the fashion mag. "He was a dancer, and then he kind of guested on some records. He came from a performance arts school. Yeah, he was Thug Life and everything, but he was more of an artistic kid. But basically he was so determined to be authentic, it ultimately killed him, which is kind of a sad and tragic thing."

In addition, the 'Paul's Boutique' co-creator said he witnessed the shift in hip-hop when it came to guns. He said one minute most rap clubs only had security, and soon after all of them had metal detectors, and guns were as normal to hip-hop as wearing sneakers.

"Within hip-hop it was a very accelerated curve where you went from like shows where first there was like security, then it was like you couldn't have a hip-hop club without having a metal detector. To then guns were kind of like everywhere," he said.

Mike D also spoke about being able to visit California clubs and watching acts like Cyrpress Hill perform, but after the Bad Boy and Death Row beef began, things changed and he felt less secure being a New York rapper on the West Coast.

Watch Mike D's interesting interview with Vanity Fair above.