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S3 Ep. 5 Plus: "East vs. West"

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Hey Joel Anderson here would you're about to hear is the fifth slate. Plus episode for slow-burn season three slate plus members get a bonus episode slow-burn every the week and that's where you can hear more about the reporting. We did this season more about all the crazy stories. We heard an extra extended interviews that we couldn't include in the show this week doc. We're giving you this great interview with former vibe writer. Larry the blackspot Hester. Who tells us about talking to Biggie to pock puffy in everyone during their feud trust awesome? Me You'll want to hear the rest of these bonus episodes for more sleepless members. Also get all slate podcasts without any ads so sign up now with slate dot com slash slow-burn. Thanks for listening Hi I'm Chelsea and welcome to the fifth slate plus episode for slow-burn season three. This season covers the lies in up to boxer. Core and Biggie. Smalls and as I've got host Joel Anderson and producer Chris for Johnson here with me to talk more about the making of the season. I Guess H. O.. What's up how I feel like this is like a momentous occasion episode? Fine now through guys feeling about this outfield a lot better. When we're quoting episode eight doesn't mean I don't love it it's just you know we eh extra expert special podcast? We talk about logistically difficult. But it's it's been a lot of fun to okay so in episode five. We see that to pocket night really. Start trying to stop a conflict with Biggie and puffy but it also seems seems like begging. Puffy don't want any part of it right yeah. I think that's fair to say. I think you can really only point to a single time when biggie in Puffy biggie or puffy explicitly provoked took an active role in the beef in that. Is People here in the episode on when Biggie called into a radio station while the dog pound was filming New York New York in Brooklyn and you know he calls. Radio station is like. Hey what's going up y'all allowing them to come back here in film in in New York and the next day somebody shoots at the dog pound the trailer onset. So that's really the only time that you can point it to say oh. They were actively taking a role in stoking the fires of this beef but every other thing like the release of who shot Ya we. It doesn't come up here but the long kiss goodnight. That appears on life after death with some people believe is about to pack Puffy you know bringing up a live in east coast. I'm going to die in the East Coast Ninety five source awards. There's a lot of plausible deniability. You can't directly. Make the accusation that they were trying to incite death row or same thing about them but the New York New York shooting you could be traced back to them in that way but every other thing I mean they really did not want a piece of this and they certainly weren't prepared for the anger in the tactics that the death row camp was going to use to sort of insight this fight so if they were engaged in a beef if big puffy were a part of this in wanted it they were getting their asses kicked right yes. That's a great point because it's conceivable that from their side of it. There's a difference between whatever personal issues to pock may have with biggie. And whatever they're kind of interpersonal difficulties might be and standing up for your coast and defend the coast especially Salihi someone who was as kind of like As positioned as biggie was coming very steadily from Brooklyn very much. Like I'm an east coast rapper than where to park was coming from right to kind of took that up whereas Biggie was born and raised like down the street right you know I mean it was. That's his turf. Yeah Yeah exactly. Yeah and I'm not trying to make excuses for more get inside his head but it's conceivable that those are not the same thing Absolutely that's a great point that you how big they came on talk to these dudes hate us and made it clear and we just allowed ended. Shoot a video right. Turn like come on so yeah it doesn't. It's not necessarily the same thing with with two pocket. death-row during that's a great point well but like from the two parkside at least for me and I think this is. I don't want to speak for your job. Oh but I'm going to like as like outside observers. It becomes a slippery slope from the West Coast. It seems like anyway where it's this slipping being between two pocket should taking each other's beefs and a west coast thing really sitting around death row and that kind of stuff. Yeah I also like the idea of biggie colleen in into like a radio show I feel really old school like waiting in the queue and told Mr smalls walls coming from bed. stuy Brian Lehrer that. This is Chris from bed. Stuy how you're on. Kurt goes into my next question. Kind of continues to show how hip hop media at the time was playing a role in building up the hype around This east coast west coast feud basically that death row and bad boy were kind of using the press to talk to each other and so there's already been a lot of back and forth through the magazines and through the radio and then there comes this vibe cover story by Kevin Powell on death row and a New York Times magazine article. Both of which bring up to park and faith faith Evans so as readers or followers of the stuff at the time. Did you remember these stories and drama. I love that you basically calling me. No no no because I enjoy yes right. The answer is yes I do. I mean it's funny now because we're doing all this archival research out to our researcher Sophie Summer Grad WHO's sort of killing the game right now but you know seeing all all of these covers? I remember every single one of them. I had a subscription to vibe. You know when I couldn't barely afford I was in college and whatnot barely afford to feed myself. But I had to get if my vibes and had to give my sources and I remember all these covers but what to say is that like this is before they both got killed right and so the beef had a very different context at least for me as a hip hop fan beef was this endemic part of rap music. And so this beef between a rapper that at the time I was just kind of so so long which is to park doc and an MC that I was far more interested in Biggie was like this is not this is just a kind of white noise because they were all these other there were other beefs going on. There had had been since the dawn of hip hop time. You know common and Ice Cube. You and I'm trying to remember who was be around that time but but it was such a part of rap music. They're like here's another hip hop beef right like he didn't know what what happened. It didn't seem like the consequences. Were that high. These deaths to to me. No other people may have read it differently and I don't deny that people may have really read this as like escalating these east coast west coast thing and probably also bought into it. I just happen to like hip hop artists from both coasts. who weren't in either of these camps? They weren't like this sort of classic so call gangster rap camp and they also weren't like the Biggie Biggie Camp I like those sounds as well but a new Kelly rappers that I love and I knew east coast rappers at a loved and so this had its place but it didn't dominate my my sense of like east coast versus West Coast side. You're like that to say other people didn't but I didn't. Yeah so in terms of what I remember about that time. I definitely remember. Hit him up. I definitely remember watching on TV. Because I mean for people of a certain age you know. MTV was must see TV right And so I was constantly watching it just to see video so I mean back. Then they play videos at bixby. Sound really old too so I remember like this guy. Conic scene of like to pack you know flash in the dollar bills with sugar from the set of the California love video and talking about how he and Faith Evans. That was a lot of love and the studio and all that sort of stuff but yeah like Christopher said like this is a big piece of it that for a lot other stuff they might as well have been speaking code. Because there's only so much of what was going on behind the scenes we could know like it's not we only know what they would tell us and so one thing. That was very helpful though. Is that very explicit. You know he would go out of his way to say exactly what happened. What he thought happened and that just didn't happen the most other hip hop? It's like it was a lot more subtle or the it just hints to incidents. That had happened. That you dislike man would is common talking about or you. You know what to do. What world are they? They all hang out together. How do they know each other? You know this. I was like fascinated by that but to the first person that was ever like the old man I actually did this and this is how I got down with big. He's wife which leaves into something else which is just like man we. I totally didn't take seriously and it's something that is probably GonNa come up and come through episode five about like the ways in which to humiliate faith you know. I didn't take it seriously at the time I was like. Oh wow that's crazy but we didn't. I didn't think about her as somebody who is being hurt by this and to park like really went the extra mile to be Kinda Dick Baptist beefing. America's people say there's no rules Ambi but the reason why shocked everybody was because it was so unprecedented in so like such gutter shit. The it really caught your attention. Yeah it's interesting you know as you're talking about is a great point and I'm just thinking about that's kind of what gangster rap was too. I mean I've only really been the thing about this in the last couple of weeks as I've been really listening to the music and pulling the music and putting it into our episodes that like it seemed like in some ways the ethos of a lot of this so-called so-called Kingston music was a kind of shock value and really like this sort of shock and awe of just being so fucking explicit. These dudes woods knew what they were doing for shore and they knew interviews especially with like Nwea and these cats in it just like they say yes we're community reporters but also like we're in this for the money and there's an understanding that the shock value is really gaining some traction and so it's not surprising that you have to come along in this music and it's like I'm really like this is shock shock value two point. Oh yes step it up. Yeah and that's like entertainment value to write like four minutes from an actor from fantastic actor. Rapper actors go. I mean again with these songs it starts to feel like at some point to starts to come at its enemies on all is me. And then biggie raps about two buck and Faith Evans on Brooklyn's finest so start to seem like they're really coming at each other now like this is a real thing. I might disagree with that Ellie because it still seems like a very much one sided beef where it's again like Christopher talk about. We just talked about in that. Last question is like to Puck was very explicit man. And just really coming at biggie. In a way the biggie did not return fire in that way. Like if you think about the Brooklyn's finest line time is that it's more joke on himself. Faith than it was anything else and if you read faiths memoir about that time. She was very upset. Biggie because like that's you know I mean and you're giving life to rumors that are already out there. It's offensive to her as it is to to park like the joke is on faith in that instance not to pack. You know so No I I think the big in them I mean they would being non-confrontational in a way that you know you can't really say that they were taking an active role in the beef. Yeah I think the Steph in the episode about Faith Evans's really interesting and how she became sort of a pond and in this sort of food like unwilling. Obviously unwillingly in some ways to pack really started using her. But yeah that's interesting okay. So in today's as plus episode we have an interview with Larry The blackspot Hester who wrote the east versus West. Cover story for VIBE. Can you tell us more about who Larry Hester is. Yeah sure no so first of all the good thing about these plus episodes that I can just say that things about people that I was thinking when I was interviewing can't come up in stories stories and Larry just seems like one of the dudes that like. I've known my tire life. You remind me so much a a friend of mine name ride like. He's very comfortable notable. Cool Dude you can see what he had so much success as a writer and journalist but so yeah he was a former staff writer for five magazine and worked for some other publications include in global grind. And he's the guy who wrote the September nineteen ninety six cover story on five that was headlined East versus West which a lot of people think may sort of stoked stoked the fires around that beef. You know fairly or not in so he was a dude who like at that. Point was only a couple years out of being an Internet vibe. He'd worked in in the mail room worked his way up and he basically did for the five in. You could check me on this. Christopher from wrong he basically did something that was essentially like unsigned hype like Mattie see from couple episodes ago he did basically a version of unsigned hype provide a collared notes from the underground yet and so oh he discovered to live quietly. He discovered three six Mafia. He told us this really great story about Kanye about getting a demo tape from Connie like nineteen ninety seven ninety eight way before anybody had hired a conway eat up even as a producer and the game like he was just some dude for Chicago. Who was making music? Send in a tape. Larry was like yeah that was dope but he couldn't get a hold of him like there was like no return address or anything no phone number so he couldn't get a hold of him and he said he ran into Connie like two thousand three two thousand four when Connie was finally getting into game and he was like Yo your tape. He's probably was. I mean how many other countries are therefore Chicago. That's Larry Larry's as steeped in the game Lost in the hubbub around the headline is he wrote a really good story. A really humane personal story about Biggie. And puffy in that time I sort of drew us to him invade us. WanNa bring him into the studio. Yeah there's been a lot of thrilling things about making the series of one of them has been a chance to meet these folks who I only really knew as bylines when I was reading their work in real time and and even some who I I didn't know but they've come in to talk to us to talk to Joe and just to see these folks who are kind of this middle ground between us making this series and the artists themselves. These translators these interpreters interpreters but but they touched the artist touched these worlds. They were at the source awards and they were at these major turning points they were in Vegas and in La when these artists were killed and thoughtful and can translate but they're also coolest have they're mad cool and they get what we're doing a and they get how difficult it is and they get the nuance that we're trying to capture around gender around music around race all those kinds of things and it's because they're all black folks folks and black men and women and I don't know that's just super fuck it inspiring to me as a black creator. It's dope to see them so thoughtful and so respectful of the art and of the lives that they're talking about. I mean the one thing about Larry that the only got like he comes in and he's like Yemen You know my boy bones Milona you know bones malone young. I grew up idolizing. I had a subscription house. Like maybe impose impose malone is like you know I'm trying to think of like an equivalent ninety six basketball player like kindle Gill like Eddie Jones or something to me who I know. I know this. This isn't the sports pot obscure is babies like like you know a mid level. NBA Player in the nineties. And so for him to say that I was like Yo can come to you. Know but uh-huh yeah. Yeah it sounds like he has some really great stories and he's someone talked to both big into POC and it seems like from in your interview. He also feels that they were outside forces. I really played a role in like feeling the feud. What do you think about that so I definitely think that he credits credits? Outside forces are playing a role in their feud. But I think there's a few things at play when he says that he's sensitive to the idea that five magazines to blame or solely to blamed about stolen east West conflict and I think that some legitimacy to that point of view that you know people pointed that headline they point to the interviews with two pock in the interviews. The with a Biggie and Puffy is playing like a really pivotal role and leading to wear things ended up and he says he takes some blame for that right but also think thinks he's wanting to push back on that narrative a little bit because the media is always easy scapegoat me sorts of things and so yeah I mean it makes sense to say there were a lot of things that played a role in their few whether it's gang culture whether it's record companies exploiting this tension for record sales that sort of thing so yeah I totally get why Larry Talks about these outside forces and it's not to deflect the blame that media played in in the East West conflict but I think that he's sensitive about that in it's bringing up and it's actually a good point like it wasn't just us guys okay. There were other other media outlets that were other the factors that led to where the story ends. Yeah and you'll you know you and I have talked about this before. And you've said at least in our conversations between the two of us a few times over that like as as we've been working on this project part of what we keep coming across as like how people have pardoned the metaphor but like taking these stories apart of selling laying off the parts that they own. There's so many people who were around and players. We just keep digging up people who were involved especially onto parkside. Because he wasn't just doing music he was doing film and he was an activist and so he had his hands in a lot of different things. And so there's just so much stuff out there that all these different when people have some legitimate or illegitimate claim to so. It's not surprising that coming back to the actual timeline. When these two guys were alive that there would would be a lot of people in the mix in their own ways deliberately or inadvertently stoking the conflict? Absolutely make sense. Well he gets story. So let's listen. Listen to the interview. My name is Lavi the blackspot has to and I was a staff half writer for Vibe magazine and I am responsible for writing the cover story of the east versus West issue. That talked about the relationship of big to park and The craziness that went along with it. You started as an intern vibe right. Yes yes I interned interned in the mail room which means I was working in the mailroom at first for zero dollars. Wow and this was early early days you know right after are probably would have the ice cube cover one or two section editors evolve. Meal will begin. He had a column that he was overseeing called ten years later so I pitched them I'm on UT F. O.. And the Roxanne Roxanne single. He liked it a wrote it. He came back he was like Yo I was the bomb blew up the spot. You could tell it but as a slang farm fresh I know right right so after that he was like Yoda. You WanNa keep keep doing it. And then one editor Mimi Valdes. She decided that it was time for me to kind of move up a little bit and she asked me if i WanNa do underground hip hop column so started doing that. It was called notes from underground and I was the first to give light to tallied qualley. Three six Mafia. So why are you getting like demos and you listen to this and you dislike Dusko. Let me write these dues. Yeah base was. It was as simple as that. It was no politics politics involved with it now. It was just whatever I listened to that I really liked and fell our reach back out to them and say Oh you know tell me your story. Here's the crazy easy thing. Because artists they forget to put in their inflammation and one artist that forgot to give me their contact. Information was Kanye West. What yes the only thing the tape said on it was Cognac? You say yeah yeah was on his tape there. There was this one joint where he used. it was the theme from. I WanNa say it was the godfather tuna but it was nuts and I had my co workers and everything helping me trying to find out who guile is ally. I knew his name was kind. Yea He was from Chicago and I was trying so desperately to find do because I wanted to put them in. You know but I just couldn't find it and then the next thing I know I do Kinda blows up and I'm like man. I wonder if that was the same kind of sent me a demo so I interviewed him once Alpha bt DOT com. And and. I had asked them. I say did you send a demo tape Davar back in the days and he just grinned and was like probably I okay. Well thanks raise you. You said Oh man. This is late nineties late nineties. Yeah it must've just felt like all new fresh fun like you were revived. Like must've just doors. Just Open. Yes yes it was like a key to everything because we had a lot of money at the time because we wanted to Time Warner you know said it was footing the bill and we had to Quincy Jones Association but at the time it was the wild of west of hip hop magazines and rap industry. This period was the first time RAPP was making money before it was all about. You know I'm doing it for the respect act you know to for the fans and the popularity but money was just now getting into it. vibe was really instrumental as far as I. I believe leave in bringing the high fashion element to the quote unquote urban audience. You know what I'm saying. It wasn't until vibe to like say like Gucci or Somebody like that to say okay. I'M GONNA put my clothes next to ORAPA whose lyrics is trying to kill half of the block you know. Yeah well actually I want to ask you this. So what do you think was sort of the tipping point would like either. What do you think happened or when did did you notice? Oh this money in this now like there's money and hip hop right now when drean them hit. That's really when I think the money. Money started to take precedence and to me the way I see it is that when the money got really big. That's when the problems started to arise. Can you say more about that than I'll just get right into it. Rap has always been a street based art and there's different elements to the street. You know rap just happened to be one of the more positive ways of expression but when you hot in the street just like a drug dealer. If he's he's hot in the street and he's making a lot of money you're going to have the wolves start to come out and I think in the case of both Biggie and pot you had to wolves offs you had the artists you had executives in corporations you had the media you had all of these people in this gold rush of of hip hop to try to get as much as they could and the deaths and violence and all of that was a byproduct of this crazy he makes. Can you just like for people. There would not dare in Nineteen ninety-six like after they're coming off this like tremendous run like how famous they were. How big they were like? What commit to the culture? At that time. There was some Bali of hip hop being able to make money independently of sorts. They were the entrepreneurial spirit of hip hop at the time. Because we've seen them start from the bottom and work their way to the top and then reap the awards and they showed us everything that they reaped again and again for watches to because the cheap clothes and all of that it inspire people a lot and I think that's what still around today like that. Same same entrepeneurship Movement that bad boy had like even down to the street teams like they revolutionized street teams between Wayne the bad boy street team and allowed record street team. Those two street teams legendary. I mean you saw them everywhere. You know those putting up stickers putting up posters handing out stuff it was such a hardcore movement that they had going on that it was. It's hard not to respect it. Bad boy was almost ran. kind of like a cult had away of making people feel. Ah like they were contributing to the overall vision. You know weather. They were getting paid a hundred bucks or one hundred thousand bucks. They felt that they were part of something. If they had to stay out to three A M getting posters up they did it and then they would go home take a nap and then we right back at the office. I think that type of work ethic kind of stuck around in hip hop for a lot of people and they've used that as a blueprint to run their own labels you you know you could say that puff was kind of creating a cult but also piss people off to write like humidity easily see where people niggers flashing and everything this is. Oh Yeah Oh you mean like the The Materialism Yeah Oh yeah I was part of that crew. I was yeah. I was backpack all away. Man This is whack and you know all all of materialism and the jewelry and all that yes I feel like he has had a hand in materialism and consumerism of rap. But it's like everything you have the good part and you have your bad parts. But what sucks is that again. We have A metamorphosis of something that kinda against bloomed in something that we didn't think it would be. Which is the hip hop that we have today? And I think is interesting. That you tackling Allan this topic because I think ironically the whole Takashi. Six nine thing is very similar in a way that it it comes down to the company that you keep And I think a lot of the bad came from the company that rap dudes had to keep 'cause it's no mystery history and has no wonder that there was some street cats running. were bad boy del. Some street cats run with death row is like when you have that element in their things are GONNA go wrong. Because they're dealing with two different play books. You know what I'm saying I'm street. CAST is not going to say. You know. I'm GonNa see you in court. I'm getting my lawyer. No but if you in Iraq business yeah that flaws is like Oh. I'm calling my lawyer. And he's like Oh you know Jacoby and Meyers and get him on the phone all but when those two come together is going to be a mess that's what a lot of the quote unquote beef stuff. I think came from the the people around them getting into it. You know I mean cats liked to. They liked claim whatever's hot. So if I'm some knucklehead just remember where like whoo tangles super hot it was like one hundred fifty seven Wu Tang members and ain't none of it was on album everybody was claiming Tang. You know it was the same type of thing everybody was is claiming badboy. Everybody's claiming death row. I think that kind of added on the street level to where the tension was speaking about that them should like why was he. So mad at down Man That's a good question looking back at it now I would think dead. It was more of a strategic move that should was doing I think. Because Tha that puff was and bad boy was still pretty not much unshaken. We never saw them shake about it or get off the game and I think she was trying to get them off their game somehow by by pride in them and you see the same thing with pot when he did hit him up and all of that. He was prodding biggie I think shook was was using street tactics to try to get puffy off point and I don't think he was really all that mad at puff. He I think he was just trying to get off off his game. Get an anti puff movement going to boost sales. Because he had you know I mean to park was the stone Cold Steve Austin Iraq. At the time you know if you was feeling left out of something like that you everybody gravitated towards park. He spoke for you. I mean you said Puffy and ran with St reduce but it doesn't sound like they ran with the kind of street dudes this sugar in their ran. That fair. Yeah it's fair in a sense of the street dues. What's that were running with or kind of associated with bad boy warren flamboyant with their associations? You know what I'm saying like like whoever streak cast. That was a part of that. They did their thing and they let bad boy and Puffy do their thing and and then people just got their pay however they got they pay but as opposed to a death row where it was just like you know you get out of prison buzzed. Drop you off in front of the office. That's what is seemed like you know she'll get everybody jobs sale house and that's how I came across. You Ain't GonNa Really Find Gang BANDANNAS and stuff on bad boy affiliates but sugar's because I mean as a different culture. The coaches are highly. Carry it out as different but you have street casts on both sides and disagreements happen and they handle it the way that they know how to handle it all right. How did the idea for the story that you ended up doing? Come up like you wanted that they assigned to you because I know that internal conversations about all this stuff had to have been like you know. Oh yeah it was very intense. Some of the conversations I was in on some of them are wasn't in on but the way that it came about was one day when I was I was in the mix I was doing. You know my columns and everything Keith. Clink scales came to me and was like Yo I want you to do. Our next cover story for the juice issue is about puffy breaking his silence so I was like were. He's he's GonNa talk because this was after you know. Pocket said all types of stuff at everybody will say crazy stuff the whole ease versus West was going and until then big and puff never really said anything really quiet because you know the whole thing was it. It'll just blow over but it wasn't blowing over so I gas puff wanted to put his words out there maybe for historical value. Whatever but he wanted to finally start talking about it so chief clink scales felt that since I was the young up and coming into that I would mostly be suited for the task so it was more like puffy? We reached divide. The sounds like as far as I think. I don't know if it went down exactly like that but the way that it was pitched to me was a puff wanted to speak. Speak out finally and clear the air on everything. So you had that meeting with Keith. clinks go and then you go home that night. And what do you think. The first thing I thought was well if I do this story my dad is finally going to realize that. I'm not a bum right because it's going to be a cover story because he didn't know what the Hell I was doing. He just knew I was talking to wrap people and whatnot for me to get to meet someone at that. Level of the game was a big thing. Because at the time we'd never seen anybody from rap on that level of the game that was rare rolexes in drive in caused it you know we only saw on TV and stuff. No one reached that yet so this was like a historical moment for me personally to be able to sit face to face with somebody. He liked that and then to speak to. biggie is well. Who's you know from Brooklyn? He's from bed stuy from cries neighbors. You know he made it out. I'll speak to him was mind blowing to. Yeah but it was also scary as hell man because there was a lot of a violent type hype element that was around this whole thing because you know people was beef and stuff like that and you know throwing around allegations so I felt lake man. I'm getting into middle all of this. You know I don't have a car I don't have a driver. I'm riding the train. You know people can see me whenever do I. I WANNA associate myself into this type of thing and possibly become a target. I don't know what was GONNA happen. 'cause it again this had never happened before you're right so yeah it seems like you would be kind of scary right because it's like oh like first of all. Nobody really knew shop pack. He's putting all the stuff on the air air. It must have felt dangerous. Yeah it was and it was felt by a lot of people. There was times like because I would go to Daddy's house studio studio. which was puff studio? That was over at Times Square area at the time and he was finishing big album. The locks was on deck. Mace was on deck. And these guys were already in the studio so sometimes if a threat would hit the airwaves or whatever apologist shut down the studio yeah. There'll be times it'll be just like oh everybody go home. We don't know what's going to happen you know so. They're just shut the studio down and bouncing then Dan you know it turned out to be BS and everybody will come back and start working. Well how would these threats coming out like what do you like. What would they just be like? Yo like we saw somebody rolling up blocker like what it'll be something like a phone call or just word of mouth. Somebody hurts something and then you know I guess puffing em would assess you know how real the word on the street would be and then he'll make a decision he'll send your send everybody home or he'll just be like odd as bullshit wash it and just keep going. Yeah it was really interesting. May even a vibe always joke about it. But after the mail room I became became the receptionist. Ohka front desk right okay. So as receptionist every crazy person that will come off them elevators. You know it was. There will be messengers Debbie male people. There'd be artists Debbie people off the street. Who's just like Yo? y'All need to write something about me. I got a demo yet eh. I'm just you know I'm interested in. And then we had loud records. That was just right above us. So you know you never know dirty bastard come in you know a the mob. One day you know. The elevator doors opened up. It was just smoke. Just smoke all in and like dusing business. seuss scared to death. And it'll be at like eight other dues behind though you know that was on the label at this is what wait on costly. Oh while you know so during the height of the threat level of death row. We didn't know if a crazy fan would come in so I guess they wanted. It amazes presence in the front desk and really all I had was like. I think I had a box cutter of five bucks cutter. Yeah Eh I lost it. Another right of bones malone. I don't know if you heard of them all right. He's alleged is accurate. Yeah Oh yeah. He knew I didn't have anything army so oh he gave me a cue ball in the sock and he was like Yo here. I was like Yo good luck in and I. I was up there at the front desk with my cue ball in the sock remote to the to the Stereo to play the music and then you know I just did my thing and this was at the height of the. Oh my God sugars GonNa get this era. Wow you know because I don't know if you remember at that time. But Shuguang such an ominous figure from afar like they will people who who didn't even want to say his name in public. You know he had that much of a threatening vibe about him so we didn't know what was gonNA happen so I was up there you know holding all in a down in the front thank create. A nut never happen but it was this that much of eggshells that we walked on. Because we just didn't no happened. We wasn't gangsters. You know what I'm saying. We didn't have any gun stashed in office. And not like that. So so this sense that the hostility this this should to pocket death row with directing towards Badboy New York that it was unprecedented that nobody had ever seen the sort of minutes before. Is that fair to say yeah. Yeah I think it'd be absolutely fair to say that no one has ever seen anything like that at the time it was such a new thing and it wasn't like people were just that scared to death. It was more cautious of the unknown. Because you have people who understood would would the street thing can do and how accessible anyone is to st retaliation and I think we had to take that really seriously Even though it might not happen they will still the possibility that it could happen. And we had to be prepared so it sounded like you interviewed Puffy and You know biggie. Like over multiple occasions is that right or would get one shot with them. It was over multiple occasions so I did the main interview with them and Dan often our get on the phone with them or I would go up to Daddy's house and you know and hang out a little bit Speak too big you know locks and everybody like like that just to get more background information and stuff like that so it went on for maybe about maybe about a month tops the back and forth because us not too long after I interview puff He had that accident where his arm got cut open and people thought that he tried to commit suicide. So I had to get on the phone with Massimo's he you know he explained it. He was like Yo you know I was play. Fight and Blah Blah Blah champagne glass broken. I got cut. So you know I'm good Did you believe him. I believe him. Yeah I believe them. I didn't I didn't think he was from what I had learned about his personality. He's not really the suicide type You know no not that there is a tight but he was very much in love with his life at the time you know so. I didn't think that he would try to kill themselves over that. So let's go do that. 'cause the first quote you using the stories. I'm heard a little bit spiritually by this negativity and you seem to find him in like a really low place was. Is that like your memory of the setting. And how he was in that time he had put on he well he had to put on the. I'm good front. But at the time puffy was still kind of coming into his own is for is what type of person he was gonna be and stuff like that and learn the lessons mistakes stake ca before and he still had a love for people and he felt betrayed by people by what was going on. Oy because all of this was still new to him to you know he was spearheading this but at the same time it will still brand new to him because has again. Nobody was doing this right. He liked when people liked him and he felt that he was doing a good thing and to have all of a sudden in this tidal wave of negative energy coming at them. Yeah heard him. He's a people person you know what I mean and he has a certain foundation Asian so when all it is new while we don't like you because you from New York and all of this stuff. He felt bad because he thought he was making music to make everybody happy. And I think big felt it the most because you know that was the end of his friendship with pop. I think that was one of the things that really caught my attention. Most when I was speaking of big like you could literally see the hurt like it. Wasn't you know all of that. Your we used to be friends and that he was telling everybody heels. It's for real and I don't think people really understood from an emotional place. He felt betrayed. You know because it caught him off guard because when he he was telling me the story of what happened I think is an article way He says populists out the window screaming. You know west side and all that stuff like that he was really confused. Big just wanted it to stop. He didn't want to go to any of the places anything like that he didn't you know like to hang out with often party everywhere and whatnot. He he was like he just wanted to go away. I think he would have rather made up with pot and they they become friends again then. Having things play out the way they played out. Wow Yeah 'cause you know like when you speak to him you know you speak to somebody. Marty you know when somebody's pulling your leg and you'd be like man and fuck ain't really are he'll give you know what I'm saying but it wasn't like that what he was like man. y'All I don't know where this came from. He has suspected that it might have been the Hollywood thing because there was a number times where he said Dad Ed Park became bishop from juice and this tales of people who get into the acting thing sometimes they characters start to rub off and they lose you know they lose connection with who they were pock was still new and act thing you know. He wasn't that season so it is possible. PLO could have become part of Bishop or Bishop become a part of Park and He just didn't know it or it could have been people in his ear. You know but either way. Yeah big was pretty disappointed that this friendship would pocket and work out. Wow I mean you know because obviously there are people that were skeptical but it mostly seems seems to be from death row and puck that they had nothing to do with wind down at the quiet. Like you believe sincerity that they were just like dog. I I don't know to fuck you talking about yes. I completely believe that I mean what would Bingham have had to gain from Robin Pot. You know at Quad Studios Audios in shooting them down like bad boy went ahead anything to gain from that so I I think it was probably some guys that heard it on the street. St that Yo- pack is going to be at the studio. 'cause word gets around really fast and it was like Oh we on them and everything. Everything played out the way it played out. I don't think junior mafia had anything to do with it. Big Says to you in the interview. There wasn't nothing I could do. Did you take that as him normal. What's going to happen but literally not being able to do anything to stop it or that? He just didn't know about it. I think it was a little both that. He didn't know that it was going to happen and he didn't know what to do when it started to happen. When you know after went down? 'cause like really in all honesty what could he do. You know what I'm saying. Go downstairs and Pulo bullets out and you know as stoppable is what his hands like neo from the Matrix. What could he do? They get into a gunfight light and I understand pox point of view too because it looked like it could have been a setup I probably would have thought I was set up to things. play out and crazy ways with when you're dealing with street element did you fill it all defensive in that time at that year in that moment home 'cause you know a lot of people were like vibe y'all responsible man and I saw you say in one thing like you were pissed about the headline the East versus West. Yeah yeah absolutely absolutely I was one of the people who was not feeling the east versus West headline there was a meeting and some of the parties will still deny to this day but there was a meeting to decide whether or not it would go on and I was wanted to people who who voted. No we should do something else. Come up with some other headline foy can't do east versus West because it's going to start some shit and it went on on it and to this day I still feel away whenever somebody says. Hey you wrote that story to you. Know what I'm saying Eh. Because even you know now people feel that that was the catalyst for a lot of ways that things played out. You know that that was is the cause of it that ease versus West cemented and was like Yo boom. There's a beef that really didn't exist but we made it exists. I gotTa say for the past twenty three years. It's always been on my mind at some point. Wow Yeah On my mind a lot another thing that I like to bring up a lot when talking about this topic is that vibe wasn't the only league company that was getting over with this east versus West thing like people tend to forget that a lot of outlets was in on it. I mean just what is it like two hundred documentaries on his Sunday probably all came out the same month that happened. Everybody has some two poxy on their mix. Tape or Biggie. Thing on a mix tape even down to. I don't even think they would have been a westside connection with you. Know Cuban WBZ and Mac towel that group would even existed. If there wasn't a so-called east versus West beef. You know because a lot of their thing ran off of that it you know so people will make money off of it but I just find it interesting that vibe gets all of the blowback from it. So many people had a hand in sensationalizing. The story I think it was. Just everybody's I guess greet whatever that pushed everything to go. As far as a Cheo we spoke to jail coker about it and he said that is relative interest it because nobody could have possibly envisioned would happen would happen because you didn't have happened right exactly. Yeah again yeah like I was telling you earlier to is like. This is the first time this has happened like that was never a death in hip hop over something like this over you know of arrive where it has been rivalries for years before that there's been tons of rap rivalries but none of them have ended up in the death of both people. You know which is bananas and like if you think about it. Why was this one a different case? Why out of all all the rivalries that we had in hip-hop until ninety six this one caused the deaths of two of the most brilliant creative mayes in the music Zik and it should bring a lot of question marks as whether or not it was the rap thing that did it or if it was something in addition addition to it I think it was something that in addition to it you know I think the rap was the backdrop but I think it was street stuff man? I think it was street. Great stuff cruise it. Was You know people that they affiliated with or you know the people that wanted to be affiliated or peoples just trying to use the whole situation to their advantage. Can you take me back to where you were when you heard. Pot got shot in which he thought at the time. I was a correspondent for Tim. Westwood's S. Woods Radio Show in London and I heard about pot getting shot and then I went and had to do the report report. I believe it was either the same day almost the same day and it was so weird to me because because I had a lot of emotion. I didn't really have the time to process everything and when I was in the business deep like that I had had a very emotional connection to the hip hop community so some people say that over the air sounded like I was nearly in tears but a little accurate. Because you know is still a little bit of a blurb but I remember I felt very emotional about it because because it was just supposed to be on records this was just supposed to be another battle and now oh pockets shot. You know what I'm saying. So the fact that he was dead that he was now dead is shook me. uh-huh bit because I never had someone you know. I never had a rapper that I liked die. You know I was still young. I wasn't wasn't ready for that. You know what I'm saying to me. Only celebrities died was the people that my mom and POPs grew up listening to. And now you know on TV. Oh you know someone so pass it was like right. That's what it was like man to pocket so it just took me a while to process the fact that one it was pot and and two it was one of rap's elite. It was a confusing time for me. It was a shocking time for me and It was really eye opening that. How real this was? Were you scared. Did you feel scared or did it fill fill you know how they enough. It felt dangerous but oddly enough. I wasn't scared I guess it was just youthful ignorance. Whatever you you know when you think you're invincible or whatever but yeah? I wasn't scared but my parents were. You know. My Mom's was like Yeah you you had your fun you need to. You need to stop. And then when we saw the pictures from the autopsies and all of that stuff. It's still didn't see real I I can understand now People still say that Parkas alive. Because I don't even know how to really explain. It may or describe it but it's like the timing timing of it was weird. You know the fact that it happened. How it happened is still no suspect? No real suspect and it. It just felt so odd. God like it wasn't real. You know so I get when people like Oh yeah. He's in Cuba somewhere chilling. I mean I don't believe it but I get it and Yeah ellesmere feeling. At the time. I just couldn't make it felt like somebody I knew I'd ask you about the next one in. I guess biggie probably felt more personal personal. Yeah yeah big. Felt more personal to me because I met him. I know people like big. You know is practically a neighbor so you know he rep Brooklyn. I'm from Brooklyn. And you know our Brooklyn Knights or you know we. We like to stick together for being on the West Coast. Ah Hate that we take pleasure in it in control and everybody without Brooklyn is so it was like you know. Even my mom's was my mom was upset when he died. He was very charismatic and he came across in his music and You wanted to root for him you know. He was truly to underdog let me he was heavy set. He was dark skinned at a time. When you know if he wasn't Christopher Williams looking or I'll be sure you know play so he? It was the underdog of rap and Everybody wanted him to win. Especially Brooklyn in New York. We want him to win and then for him to get cut down over something that it wasn't even like he started anything you know what I'm saying wasn't like Like he punched pocket mouse for did some crazy like that. It was just. He was just in the car. He was just around. All of this craziness and that craziness took his life so it makes you. I feel really bad about what happened in. I mean even to this day I still feel like I have partial responsibility in it. Even though that wasn't my a goal at the time indirectly felt like my coverage of it had lent to his demise and I mean people say like well. If you didn't do it somebody else would have which is true but still. I can't help but feel in some some way partly responsible for how things went down the way they went down. When did that start like when did you start to feel that burden and this was years after it happened? I think probably a lot more when his mom started being a lot more vocal. Just when you get older and become more experienced in life in general you start to understand the relationships that you have with the world around you and how decisions whether they're the right or the wrong decisions wins. Still impact whatever's around you. You know I mean I don't beat myself up constantly about it but but there is a part of me. This still feels like man. Maybe if someone else had written at story maybe he would have just played out differently. Why did I have to do the story where you know? People people have lost their lives over. You know and it's not just big is the other people that were associated with the story. Like you know what the big impact story late was to stretch in. You know people that we don't even know names of that have lost their lives or lost their their livelihoods over this whole mess and on top of that. This still hasn't been anyone caught. They still isn't a suspect. It sucks in a way but in another way I feel that covering the story gave me the opportunity opportunity to do other stuff you know in a right way and provide opportunities for other people you know as an editor or whatever to Not really to make good out of it but to have something constructive to come out of it. You know even if it's just dialogue how you log like we're having right now where we're no longer caught up in this insatiable love it but just the hardcore facts of what happened happened. So that is documented correctly so then years later down the line someone to listen to this the same story. Same podcast and be like okay. Okay so if that happened and that happened well okay. Well we have a cohesive story. Now it's not just hearsay is not just you know some. Do you happen on the street now. This is research stuff that we're all doing so I try to look at it that way that where now pushing pushing towards a more legitimate hip hop journalistic approach to all of these different topics. What do you think you would have done differently than? Ah You know if you're presented with this opportunity presented with the story. Would you had done. I mean if you know now is a grown man no bother. I think I would have been a lot more outspoken about certain things. That didn't necessarily agree with. I think I would have went harder on the east versus West thing you know. Even though at the end of the day it was an executive decision made but but I probably would've fought a little harder now. I think I might would have really put into extra energy. We get the story out to more people you know so they would have been a lot more sides of the story than what's what's currently out now. I never really went to look for people to tell the story to you. Know is just Kinda like if people came by you know it. It came cross my name and they asked me tell them but I felt like I should have more actively sought out avenues news to put more of the facts out. Yeah but I mean I really don't know to be honest with you man. I don't know exactly what I could could have done differently. I'm not psychic housing because if I was like I wouldn't have had to write anything to make any money but yeah I mean like you said. There's really no telling how this would have played out and like shale say you know. Nobody knew that it was going to happen like this. It was his baucus Yeah I just kind of look at it like that now. Really what was covering hip hop like like after that it was rough because the media especially a hip hop media became the enemy rappers did not want to really talk about anything to journalists unless it was a propping up their projects pretty much anything that went bad was the media's full artists would kind of cherry pick their writers so that became harder therefore other writers who may have been just as good. You know covering the story would not get that story. There was kind of like an entitlement went to rap artists that they could beat up on writers. You know saying because you had writers there would literally get. Did you know assaulted Washington Jesse Washington. You know you know other writers out. There been assaulted by artists and the artists is there was no empathy for journalists. You know say even from readers. It was like you know well. Yeah that's what you get. You know it was kind of the attitude you get cussed out you get your tape recorder broken all kinds of stuff like that and you know you have writers that was like you know they training like just in case like taking martial arts case. A fellow rapper comes battle. You know because you had a lot of artists who would feel that media people were there to try to get some kind of sensational relational story on them to boost their magazine. And unfortunately you had a lot of writers that we're doing it you know and then it got mixed up. They got all mixed up with the writers who are really trying to get the story and tell the truth and nobody knew who to believe so it just became a whole mess until now is is like whatever whatever because you have more outlets for artists to you know put out there real stories or whatever you know should we have learned from what happened with big into Parker. Did you think we've learned anything from it. As a result. That is an interesting question. I think we started to learn a lot. What but I think we're starting to regress? You know. I think we learned a lesson as far as where. We're a lot faster to cool things off. Well faster to say I listen. I let this get out of hand and turn into some street craziness and you know nobody. He wants to get hurt a shot. You know what happened the pocket biggie. You know we have. That retrospect now the reason why say we're regressing is because such an emphasis. This is being put on sensationalism. That that's the type of thing that boost careers now and as a lot of careers dependent on how wild and crazy your personality can become. How real you are how far you're willing to take? Did you know I. I think that right after the big impact tragedies that we had more of an appreciation of peace We haven't had any artists of that level in the game. Die The same way and I think a lot of to become complacent in effect and we just figure out is just not going to happen. We have a new generation. who wasn't there to experience? That's it you know. And who are looking at the world in a completely different way than we're looking at it you know and it's nothing to them so in that way I think I think we're kinda almost thirsting for another tragedy which I know sounds crazy but I think there's almost is a desire for it because the stakes are so high entertainment to top the next thing you know everybody wants to be that person and I think before it was easier for us to look at each other as human beings and not so much as brands. It's so I think until this new generation has someone that they care about that much or something that they care about that much and have it ripped away from them in that way then not going to really have a true grasp on what it feels like is not just canceling somebody on social media you know is not just saying oh just pull the plug on his show is their life or death and I don't think people nowadays really have a full appreciation of the risk involved when it comes down to to life or death is more of a like a figurative thing you know is like almost like his television entertainment. It's not really real and and people want to see that so I'm kind of concerned about the direction that we're going because a Lotta people say well. What do you think what happened if you know? POC and Biggie. Were to die say today like would have played out the same way. I'm not so sure if it would have. I think it might be a case where it would turn into more theater. It'll be about. Oh you know who loved them. The most who had the last song with them everybody'll be posting pictures of them and Whoever passed away you know and that's all it would be about? There would be no lesson to learn. I think we had the bandwidth at one time to say okay. There is a lesson to learn from this. I don't feel that people would learn a lesson or see the lesson or the potential chill level lesson if it was to happen today. Thank you bro. See Thank you for having me on yeah

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