Slow Burn: Biggie and Tupac

Season 3: Episode 4

Against Those Thugs

A 66-year-old woman on a moral crusade upends the music industry.

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About the Show

In its first two seasons, Slow Burn looked back at two of the biggest stories of the late 20th century—the Watergate scandal and the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Season three tackles another: the murders of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. The story takes place at a moment when hip-hop was taking over pop culture, and a former theater kid from the Bay Area and a one-time crack dealer from Brooklyn were changing the music forever. They went from friends to enemies. And they ended up victims of a deadly rivalry between two rap scenes.  

How is it that two of the most famous performers in the world were murdered within a year of each other—and their killings were never solved?

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Host

  • Joel Anderson is a staff writer at Slate and the host of Season 3 of Slow Burn. Previously, he worked as a reporter on sports, culture, and politics for ESPN and BuzzFeed News.

Episode Notes

In this episode: Gangsta rap becomes a huge moneymaker. Civil rights activist C. Delores Tucker and conservative culture warrior Bill Bennett launch a crusade against offensive lyrics. And hip-hop divides black leaders along generational and gender lines.

Slate Plus Member Content Bonus Episode

Interviewing C. Delores Tucker

Journalist Kierna Mayo talks about being a woman covering the early days of hip-hop.

Correction, Nov. 20, 2019: This show page originally contained the incorrect audio.