‘Who shot ya?’
Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace. Tupac and Biggie. Two titans of rap music whose names will forever be intrinsically linked. It’s a topic that’s been covered across pop culture in the form of books, documentaries and even a pair of feature films. Slow Burn is almost certainly not the first podcast to cover the tragic relationship between hip-hop’s biggest names, but it is perhaps the first one to do so much detail. The whole point of Slow Burn after all is to take a deep dive into a chosen subject and to explore the context around that event. Season one focused on the Watergate scandal, season two on the Clinton’s and so, a diversion into the murky world of hip-hop and gang warfare feels like a left turn for the podcast. If it is, it’s a welcome one, and a proper journalistic, critical eye breathes new life into a subject that is so often treated with pure sensationalism.
So, rather than just a retelling of background information regarding the actual murders of Tupac and Biggie, Slow Burn delves into attitudes towards hip-hop, police brutality and race relations in the US. Some of this may feel like a bit of a stretch in terms of how relevant it is to the case in hand but, crucially, it’s always interesting and it’s always well researched and professionally delivered. I genuinely felt like I was learning whilst listening to Slow Burn even if, in reality, I was sat slack jawed and pyjama clad whilst stuffing pop tarts into my stupid mouth.
One of the pitfalls of covering the Tupac and Biggie murders is that there is so much conjecture and speculation co-opted by both the East and West coast that it is difficult to cast an impartial eye over the key facts that make up the case. Death Row Records co-founder and general nutcase Suge Knight claims that Pac is still alive for God’s sake. With that in mind, Slow Burn does a sterling job in trying to present a timeline of events that favours neither coast and, instead, acts as an objective description of an infuriatingly opaque murder case.
Slow Burn is an essential podcast for anyone with even a mild interest in Tupac and Biggie. Hell, to be honest, it’s hard to see how there isn’t something here for everyone – this is a show that sits in the upper echelon of the podcast world.