I’m driving back in this rental car to go back to campus and I hear it on the radio.
Joel Anderson was a freshman in college.
When he heard that notorious b.i.g.
Biggie Smalls had been murdered 24 year old rap artist known as We shot early Sunday morning and later died of gunshot wounds in your by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center your book.
It was March 1997.
And at first I thought it was a joke.
I’m a 1 x because this is only a few months after two pocket.
Gotten killed sounds like this is a joke.
This must be some sort of a prank.
There’s no way that this actually happened but about the time I got home it was able to see the national and use whatever it was true.
The rapper known as Biggie Smalls was shot, several times as he sat in his Be Suburban early this morning outside the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
Smalls was only 24 years old when he was killed, his loss affected millions of hip-hop fans.
Joel was one of those fans.
He idolized the New York rapper as a teenager.
He’s now a journalist.
He’s researched, Biggie’s life and murder extensively and he still feels.
The loss of the hip-hop Legend.
We made me sad.
I mean, there’s a selfish party like man.
I’m never going here Biggie album again, you know.
As I’m older, I’m like, wow, there’s no need for that to have happened.
That it didn’t have to happen that way.
From gimlet media.
This is not passed it a show about the stories.
We can’t quite leave behind every episode.
We take a moment from that very same week in history and tell you the story of how it shaped our world.
I’m Simone plannin on March 9th, 1997, 25 years ago this week, the notorious b.i.g.
Was gunned down in public today on the show.
We’re telling a Worried about Biggie and Tupac but not the one you may have heard.
This isn’t just a story about hip-hop icons.
Boring coasts and unsolved murders.
It’s a story about two friends.
At one point, really good ones who had a falling-out one that ended in Bloodshed and defined a generation.
That’s coming up.
Before we dive into our story today.
I feel like I need to answer the question Simone you rock with Big E or with Tupac.
That’s a tough one to answer.
I’m from the West Coast.
So I’ve always been a little more partial to Tupac, California Love and all that.
But now I live in Brooklyn so I’m like, well, maybe I’m a big girl now, but if I’m really honest, the Tupac Biggie era was like A shade before my time.
So for today’s show, I talked to two journalists and big time.
Big E fans to help me.
Tell the story.
Hey, nice to meet you.
Thanks for having me on who we just heard from at the top of the show.
He’s the host of the third season of the podcast, Slow Burn Biggie and Tupac.
And I also talked to Justin Tinsley.
No, I’m just really honored to be here with you all.
He’s the author of A.
Forthcoming book about the rapper.
It was all a Dream Big E and the world that made him throughout the episode.
We’re going to hear them go back and forth about what they learned from their in-depth research and help shed a new light on one of hip-hop’s.
Most infamous stories, most notorious, if you will Big E’s Music started hitting the airwaves in 1993.
That year his song.
Mm bullshit was included in the soundtrack for the film.
Who’s the Man starring?
Dr. Dre and Ed Lover Party and Bullshit was huge.
It propelled biggie into the spotlight, grabbing the attention of music lovers, but it also got people in the industry.
One of those people was Platinum selling rapper and movie star, Tupac Shakur, apparently Tupac, couldn’t get enough of bigs track.
He kept playing, he kept playing it into Glove.
The the Vivek lyrics, the storytelling and just the command of Biggie’s voice on the song.
He just kept listening to it.
This is Justin Tinsley.
He says that Tupac was such a fan of bicky’s that Park just showed up at bigs hotel when the New York rapper was visiting LA and the spring of 1993.
And Tupac was like yo, I heard you were in town.
You do party and bullshit.
That’s my favorite song right now.
Let’s just let’s link up and let’s hang out.
Has it Tupac had already met Big E in Atlanta on the set of his film poetic justice, but Tupac wanted to get to know biggie more.
So when he found him outside that l a hotel Tupac invited biggie over to his house, so they just smoked a ton of weed and they freestyle for Damn near an hour back and forth and then Tupac brings out a bag of guns and T and Biggie are just running around in his backyard.
Just with empty guns.
Basically playing like cops and robbers.
It was childlike innocence.
But before Big E was running around with Tupac, he grew up, Christopher Wallace and New York’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood in the 70s and 80s.
His father left when Biggie was young.
So he was raised by his mother who pushed him to excel.
All in school, Joel says this is despite his public Persona.
This is the thing that they’re sort of funny to me about Big E is you know, the idea that he’s a gangster whatever.
He was also a private school kid.
He was literally an altar boy and went to church and was a very good student growing up.
But when Chris was a teenager he turned away from that path, you know how it is, you know, kids get a little older, there’s influences and their neighborhood and he started to get that wandering eye little or the pull.
The streets, you know, the older kids that are selling drugs on the corner or whatever.
He dropped out of high school and sold drugs.
This was in the 80s and 90s the height of the crack epidemic in New York, and it was during that time that Biggie got serious about wrapping some, local DJ’s heard what big was spitting and it was pretty clear to them that this is what he was made for.
There’s this great candid video of him, and he’s rapping and Brooklyn and And the word play, the Charisma, all that stuff is right there.
And so some people in this neighborhood they find out like oh this kid over, he can kind of go, you know, he can make a rap a little bit and so they started making tapes, man.
There were a lot of mixed tapes from a lot of artists being passed around its how early career rappers and producers got their stuff out there.
But Big E stood out.
His big break came when a local DJ one of those tapes into the hands of a writer at The Source magazine that writer put Big E in a 1992 feature about unsigned talent and it’s just got all this great stuff on it and puffy reads, The Source magazine puffy.
AKA Puff Daddy.
Diddy, Sean, Combs the back then.
Just puffy at the time.
He was a VP at Uptown records.
He asked to be put in touch with Big E.
He’s like, hey, man, that guy that you’re talking about.
Let me hear his music.
I want to know who you’re talking about.
And that’s, I mean, that’s literally how it happened. 1993 was a breakout year for Bicky.
And as his career was exploding.
He was also establishing himself among his peers and Hip-Hop.
Peers like Tupac, Tupac respected.
The fact that, you know, biggie was this greatly reduces and he has such a command with his flow and he really lived in the streets in New York.
Where as Big E.
He appreciated the Revolutionary aspect of Tupac.
He appreciated the fact that he honestly March to the beat of his own drum.
He was a man’s man in the sense after the two played cops, and robbers at Tupac’s House in La, they kept in.
Touch, kept meeting up biggie would crash.
When he went out to LA and Tupac would always let Vicky know when he was coming to town.
In other words.
They were tight.
You know what you get with big and pop, you know, you got to roll up, you know, says smoke some, get your drink on, get your food together.
This is Chico Dalvik, one of the biggies, longtime friends, and a member of Junior Mafia.
So we got together each other.
It was like a hang out in the studio.
And, you know, from the studio, might go to the club back his Studio.
You don’t say one time, you know, we linked up and pop and day Manhattan and Pops.
Like, yo, I got to do a performance and things like wigs and masks.
We’re going, you know, what?
So we work with Tupac up there and Tupac, you know, came out and put big on stage about your two pockets here.
Yo, Tupac and Biggie freestyle together at the iconic.
This was at the 1993 Budweiser Super Fest, but they weren’t just industry friends.
They hung out outside of shows to like this one time, Tupac was in New York and Biggie and Chico went to go see him, Chico and Biggie, our own the block and big.
He’s like, yo, go get it.
Go get some flowers and go get, you know, the piece, which was a gun, like we’re going uptown.
We going to see?
Tupac and Chico’s.
Is like flowers, a gun Tupac?
Like what like, what’s going on here?
And Chico made their way to Tupac’s hotel room to drop off the stuff.
Long story short Tupac had a date, hence, the flowers and the gun biggie.
Tojiko like yo, give him give him the piece because whenever Tupac will come to New York biggie would look out for him in terms of like protection, which was a getting part of their friendship, looking out for each other.
Not only did Biggie look out for Tupac.
He looked up to him, too.
He reportedly even asked.
Tupac to be his manager instead of puffy.
But Tupac said, no stay with puff.
He said he’ll make you a star and that’s exactly what happened in 1994 biggie, released his first album, ready to die through.
Puffy’s new label, Bad Boy Entertainment.
The album was packed with some of the biggies most iconic songs, like juicy and big papa, which reached number one on Billboard’s rap chart.
Joel remembers listening to Biggie’s music.
I’m feeling like a captured, what?
It was like to be young, those tumultuous insecure years, a youth that biggie was still very much experiencing at just 22 years old.
You hear a lot of just youthful anguish and uncertainty in the music and I’m like, That’s the kind of stuff that you think about and talk about, you know, for 17 to 25, when you put things that seem so urgent and so tragic.
And so pressing in your late teens and early 20s, actually, for the most part, not that big a deal.
For Joel his favorite song off bigs debut album, embodies the youthful angst.
Big E wrapped about there’s a song called suicidal thoughts and he starts off when I die.
I want to go to hell.
And you know that song just sort of resonated to me.
I was like, oh man, you know people don’t like me to like maybe my friends on who they say, they are my parents are frustrated with me.
I’m not, you’re not living up to expectations or whatever and I think that that spoke to me.
Much as anything else.
Biggie was becoming a huge star.
His songs were in heavy rotation on the radio.
He started making more and more appearances, even popping up at MTV’s. 1995 spring break and his signature, oversized black sunglasses, Kangol hat and Coogi sweater.
And in 1995.
Ready to die was certified.
Vicky was on top but in His friendship with Tupac things, would take a more painful turn.
It’s just sad.
It’s just sad.
How Everything went to hell in a handbasket.
So quickly, after the break, the friendship between two young rappers sours, and escalates into a coastal rivalry.
That would change the course of Hip Hop.
Welcome back before the break.
We heard how Biggie and Tupac to Young rappers, making it in the music industry, became friends, real running around the backyard sleeping on each other’s couches friends.
So, we’re picking the story back up in November of 1994 Tupac had gotten into some legal trouble.
He, and two other men were on trial for sexual abuse, and he was waiting for a verdict to be delivered.
He was growing increasingly.
Paranoid and was suspicious of who he could trust his legal bills were also piling up and he was short on cash.
So when he was asked to hop on a track with rapper Lil Shawn, he agreed.
If you’re racking your brain, trying to remember this feature, don’t because it never happened.
And here’s why.
It’s the day of the recording session.
Tupac is walking up to the studio in Manhattan and he screwed up.
He’s got three.
Friends with him as they walk up to the building POC hears, his name being shouted From a Balcony above, he looks up and sees little sees a member of Biggie’s rap group, Junior Mafia.
Here’s Chico who was also there that night.
He’s like, you know, in park will apply cold snap, like that seems like it’s Lucy.
I’m so happy.
Big E’s in the studio.
When he hears Tupac is outside.
He tells cease to go, let him in and things like, what?
Coupons down T seems like you sir two popular makers coming up the building, but okay, cool.
See y’all gonna sit down here.
Here’s Justin again.
Whatever apprehension Tupac had going into quad Studios that night immediately dissipated because he was like, oh man, like Biggs here.
All of my people are here.
I feel good about this.
But that good feeling is fleeting because as soon as Tupac enters the lobby of the building, he’s ambushed three strange men are there waiting for him.
They tell pack and his crew to hand over their jewelry and get on the ground.
Tupac in Tupac, fashion, resists, and the men’s shoot him.
Five times, Tupac survives, the shooting, the Rob him and his friends and flee, the scene.
And as The Story Goes Tupac, then drags himself upstairs to the studio where he finds puffy and some other rappers hanging out as he looks around the room.
Telling them what happened?
Trying to figure out how this could have even gone down in the first place.
No one will look him in the eyes.
He also notices that they still all have their jewelry suspicious.
He begins to think maybe His so-called friend Big E has something to do with all this.
At that point.
Tupac question to everybody.
He questioned, everybody is he felt like the only people that knew he was coming to the studio.
Were the people who were already in the studio and he was ambushed in a way that it was something like okay.
Somebody knew Tupac was going to be here at that time.
It was basically a professional style ambush.
There’s a photo from that night of Tupac, giving the finger as a stretcher, wheeled him out of the building.
Chico says that gesture was meant for him and Big E.
We outside looking at him.
Like, what the hell happened.
He looks like little finger here, like niggas trying to get me like and big.
Like, you know, what’s going on.
Big was like, I don’t know why he’s giving me the middle finger, but that’s my man.
Like, we’re super cool.
Like he got love for me.
Got love for him.
We’re eventually going to talk about this.
After he was shot, Tupac’s paranoia grew.
He started searching for clues.
That might implicate biggie in his shooting.
He grew suspicious, as to why biggie hadn’t mentioned him in the liner notes of his debut album, even though he was a mentor to Biggie.
He questioned who biggie was surrounding himself with and he questioned why out of all of Biggie’s crew.
He was the one who got robbed then in December of 1994 biggie.
Put out a song.
Called who shot?
It may be the song with the most unfortunate timing.
I think ever.
Vicki said the song wasn’t aimed at Tupac at all.
It was written before he was shot.
But Tupac took it as an insult when you’re Tupac and you hear lines like who shot you?
Separate the weak from the obsolete hard to create them.
Brooklyn streets is on F, all that bickering beef.
I can hear sweat, trickling down your cheek like everything.
He feels personal at this time.
Tupac was in prison for the sexual abuse crime.
He was convicted of.
And Justin says, when Tupac heard the songs lyrics, he took it as a sign that biggie was involved with his shooting.
Without any real evidence.
Tupac went on record with Vibe magazine in 1995, accusing Biggie, and puffy of having something to do with his shooting.
What began as a misunderstanding between friends was now spiraling.
And to an No rivalry.
Tupac was released from prison.
Almost a year later and the beef between him and Big E escalated in 1996.
Tupac dropped a song that took the diss track to a whole new level supac releases, hit him up.
And this song is like a departure from that art form and that it is extremely personal and really offensive.
Like even though he makes claims that he slept with biggies wife.
He talks about hurting people.
Goes beyond like I’m a better rapper than you.
You’re not a good rapper.
This is like if I see you, I’m a snatcher ugly ass off the streets.
Like it was really a provocation in a way that most of these songs had not been before and much more explicit.
So, you know hit him up is sort of like maybe the pioneer of the really offensive Dis Track.
By this point, the beef had grown Beyond just Tupac or just biggie.
It was also about Death Row Records and the West Coast versus Bad Boy Entertainment and the East Coast, though some and the industry tried to diffuse the escalating tensions, like legendary producer, Quincy Jones, He organized a summit and 1995 to talk about the state of Hip Hop.
I think that everybody’s going to have to take a hard look at how you’re gonna have to deal because It’s a people out here, not playing anymore.
Miss real bullets out there.
Believe Me Biggie was there with puffy Suge, Knight Tupac’s label, exact, was there to speaker, after speaker, espoused, that the quote anger Unleashed by hip hop, had to be dealt with and steered in a more positive direction.
Apparently, at one point, even puffy tried to squash the beef by trying to explain to Tupac that he and Biggie didn’t set him up.
None of these efforts, worked Tupac and Biggie were still at odds with each other and they’d never get the opportunity to reconcile.
In September of 1996, Tupac went to a party in Las Vegas with Suge Knight and got shot again.
Though this time.
He wouldn’t survive.
Tupac Shakur was riding in this black BMW.
When the gunfire erupted Shakur was shot several times in the chest.
The driver, his record producer was grazed in the head six days later.
Tupac died of his injuries Faith Evans.
Biggie’s wife said, biggie called her the night.
She said she could tell he was crying through the phone.
In the wake of his death, speculation swirled around, who did it.
If this had all sprung up from the East Coast, West Coast beef, that had started with Tupac.
There were rumors that implicated Biggie and puffy that biggie had supplied the gun that puffy had financed the head but most of those rumors were just rumors evidence that came out later.
Found that Tupac was likely, killed over a gang dispute, unrelated to Biggie.
Biggie didn’t go to Tupac’s funeral but early the next year.
He did go to LA to try to make amends in the wake of Tupac’s death to calm.
The East Coast West Coast tensions, and to promote his new album life after death.
He is in an interview for BET’s Rap City.
There’s a funny thing.
I kind of realized how powerful Tupac and I was, you know, I’m saying?
Because We to individual people, we waged a coastal be, you know, he gave this interview and February of 1997, just five months after Tupac’s death.
At the end of his California.
Visit piggy went to an after party for the Soul.
Train Music Awards.
And what happened next?
Well, it’s the part of Biggie Story.
We tend to hear about most, Biggie and his friends leave the party in an SUV to go to another spot in the Hollywood Hills when the SUV stopped at a red light.
Another car pulls up alongside it.
There’s a video of that night taken from a fan who was sitting with his friends across the street in the video an SUV takes off and then gunshots ring out.
Biggie was hit four times.
In the aftermath of Biggie’s death, Joel says he doesn’t remember folks morning, over biggie the person biggie, the friend because a lot of people and the media were more interested in biggie, the rapper music industry sources on the west coast suspect that Smalls death May in some way be payback for that.
September killing of rap star.
Now, both are dead.
The question is, was this Feud Bad Blood enough to cause a deadly confrontation?
I mean, it was jarring to see a celebrity gunned down like that.
And so people were really scared and they didn’t know what to blame.
And so, of course, it was easy to blame young black man.
Gang culture, violent lyrics, so on and so forth.
There wasn’t a lot of fretting about that idea that a 24 year old father to hit, just died.
A few days before he died.
He gave an interview to journalists chaeyoung.
He told Coker about his future plans, not just for His music but also for his toddler daughter and his newborn son.
Here’s a clip of Coker from Joel’s podcast slow-burn.
He was talking about how he wanted to essentially buy a house in Atlanta.
And he was talking about how he wanted to give Tiana away at her wedding.
And he wanted to see c.j.
Graduate from high school and, you know, all these different things that he said wasn’t going to happen if he was out there while and what he was basically, describing was He realized that he could have a rap persona, but that he could also live a different life that nothing to do with that rap Persona.
He basically wanted to be the Suburban soccer dad that occasionally made hip-hop records.
In the years after Biggie’s death, people have speculated widely as to why he was killed speculation.
That continues to this day, the LAPD and FBI investigated, the events of that night.
But each investigation has implicated different actors for their supposed involvement to this day, the case remains unsolved.
No one has ever been charged for Biggie’s death.
We’re at a point where we’ve spent more time without biggie.
Then we did with him and over those years.
There’s been time to reach a more nuanced understanding about, what happened to him, who he was what he was dealing with.
We’ve known the story of Biggie and Tupac.
The icons, the Stars, the faces of hip-hop’s most formative rivalry, but their story is just as much about Chris and to Mach 2, people who found success in hip-hop found friendship in each other.
I think it’s a story about two young men who were once friends who felt betrayed by the other and become enemies with each other, but the stakes are so much different in the people around them had every incentive to keep that going, because it drove record sales are drove media attention.
It was really sort of hard to get back to that.
Sweet friendship that they establish with each other.
A friendship falling apart.
That’s nothing new, but at age 24 and 25 Biggie, and Tupac were just beginning to navigate adulthood still figuring out their relationships under normal circumstances an argument, a misunderstanding.
Maybe they could have worked through it.
But these weren’t normal twenty-somethings.
These were young artists with outsized pressures.
Each the center of their own hip-hop machine, each, a force.
And in death, have become Legends symbols of something larger than themselves characters in a tragic story.
That gets told over and over again.
I mean, hey, we’re doing it too.
And in a way when we focus on the lure of these rappers, how they died.
We’re distracted from the truth of who these men were, as people.
Here’s Justin, again.
We’re not talking about the fact that, you know, biggie left behind two kids.
He left behind.
Countless friends, who knew him as Chris not big, but Chris, you know, and they’re still dealing with the effects of that.
A quarter Century later.
Like it’s not just what the headline says it is.
This the story is always, it’s always deepen and rap.
Not passed it as a Spotify original produced by gimlet and zsp media.
This episode was produced by Sarah Craig.
We take a look at one of the most famous UFO sightings in history.
Day is Independence Day because we had just saw the movie in 1996.
So, of course, this big thing that we’re realizing is a craft.
The rest of our team is producer, Amy, Padula, our associate producers are Julie, Carly and Ramona.
Laura Newcombe is our production assistant.
The supervising producer is Erica Morrison editing by k.t.
Andrea be Scott and Zach Stewart, Ponte fact-checking, by Jane, Ackerman sound design and mixing by Hans Dale.
She original music by Sachs kicks, Ave.
J bless and Bobby.
Our theme song is Toko, Liana by cocoa with music supervision by Liz.
The Fulton technical Direction by Zach Schmidt show art by Elysee Harvin and Talia Rahman.
The executive producer at CSP media.
As Zack Stewart Ponte, the executive producer from gimlet, is Abbie.
Thanks to Phill Carson, childhood re Coker the team at slate, Slow Burn and to Lydia Pole Green, Dan, Behar Emily wiedemann.
List Styles, Jen Han and Joshua Bianchi follow not past it.
Now, to listen for free exclusively on I click the little bell next to the follow button to get notifications for new episodes.
You can follow me on Twitter at Simone, Fallon.
Thanks for Hangin.
We’ll see you next week because my do crystal was blessed my best friend, and I miss him.
You know, he really unique.
What’d he do?