On the 20th anniversary of the murder of Notorious BIG, I thought it was worth re-posting my conversation of a few months ago with Sonia Poulton, reflecting on both that event and the previous killing of 2Pac. I’m sure the LA and Las Vegas cops are still hard at work on trying to solve both cases as we speak.
This podcast is being published on the 20th anniversary of the murder of Tupac Shakur. The murder of his friend-turned-adversary Notorious BIG followed in almost identical circumstances six months later. Guesting to talk at length about these crimes is journalist Sonia Poulton. Sonia is well-known for her contemporary work in both the mainstream and alternative media, but prior to this she was a hip-hop journalist, writing for Black Echoes magazine, appearing on Max & Dave’s hip-hop show on Kiss FM in the early 90s, and touring with Notorious BIG in Europe.
We revisit the fateful nights of September 1996 and March 1997, examining some of the detail, and speculating on how it’s possible for two such high-profile killings, occurring on two of the busiest streets in the world, to still be “unsolved.” This is put into the wider context of the hip-hop landscape of the time, notably the so-called ‘East Coast/ West Coast Beef.’ Suge Knight, Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs, Dr. Dre and Eazy E are other prominent figures to get discussed.
In many ways, the murder of these two highly influential artists was symbolic of the ‘death’ of the once-meaningful, and highly potent artform of hip-hop, with what purports to be that scene – at least in the mainstream – now a total sick joke and toxic caricature of its former self.
Sonia concludes by touching on her recent absence from the public spotlight, unveiling details of her current journalistic projects.