The Chills at Will Podcast podcast

Episode 169 with Justin Tinsley, Tireless Researcher, Gifted Storyteller, Wonderful Interviewer, and Writer for Andscape and Author of It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World that Made Him

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Episode 169 Notes and Links to Justin Tinsley’s Work


    On Episode 169 of The Chills at Will Podcast, Pete welcomes  Justin Tinsley, and the two discuss, among other things, Justin’s formative and transformative experiences with reading powerful works like The Autobiography of Malcolm X and by masters who combined sports and culture/politics, his wonderful experiences at Hampton University, his learned love of storytelling from his beloved grandmother, the Blog and Kazaa (!) eras, working on a wide variety of stories for Andscape and ESPN, his life-changing experiences with standout mentors and colleagues like Danyel Smith and Tony Reali, the surreal experiences associated with being a panelist on Around the Horn, and Christopher Wallace and The Notorious B.I.G. and the macro and micro that affected his life and legacy and were affected by his life and legacy.


   Justin Tinsley is the author of It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World That Made Him, and Host of ESPN’s 30 For 30 Nipsey Hussle original podcast, The King of Crenshaw. He is Sports and Culture Senior Reporter at Disney’s Andscape and weekly guest on ESPN’s Around the Horn.

Buy It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World that Made Him


Justin Tinsley's Website


Listen to The King of Crenshaw Podcast Series on Nipsey Hussle

At about 1:50, Justin responds to Pete’s questions about his familial and writerly inspirations, and Justin 


At about 5:20, Justin shares an interesting story about his unforgettable and generative conversations with the “phenomenal” Craig Hodges, and Pete and Justin discuss the power of The Jordan Rules 


At about 9:40, Justin discusses some of the most formative writers and writing in his life, including the “important” The Autobiography of Malcolm X and work by Ralph Wiley, Danyel Smith and Elliott Wilson


At about 13:25, Justin shouts out his friend and contemporary David Dennis, Jr., and his powerful book and writing


At about 14:15, Justin speaks to the powerful ways in which Hampton University and Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs) have influenced him and enhanced his life, including the “most important class [he] ever took at Hampton”


At about 17:00, Justin talks about his days in the “Kazaa Era” and his work in curating music for friends and followers 


At about 19:25, Justin discusses his time at ESPN, starting in 2015, being hired by Jason Whitlock, and his work with The Undefeated (which later became Andscape)


At about 21:50, Justin talks about an incredible story regarding Marvin Gaye’s Detroit Lions’ tryout


At about 24:55, Justin gives a moving backstory regarding drives with his grandmother and what he means by the tagline on his website: “Drawing sophisticated parallels between culture and sport”


At about 28:40, Justin gives background on his beginnings on Around the Horn and how he balances being in awe of the show that has been a lifelong favorite and his own performance on the show


At about 30:50, Justin describes the greatness of Tony Reali and gives background on how Tony helped Justin start with the show, and the talent from Here for It, including Monica McNutt


At about 35:40, Justin and Pete discuss more of what makes the show great, including the lack of points that come with the serious topics


At about 38:45, Pete notes how Justin has gotten some life-changing emails and phone calls, which Justin uses to give backstory on seeds for his book on The Notorious B.I.G.


At about 42:25, Justin relates how the pandemic affected the research for his book on Biggie


At about 43:50, Justin recounts some writing advice that helped him broaden his subject matter for the book


At about 46:45, Pete shares the profound line that Christopher Wallace said in his last recorded interview that informed Justin’s writing and is described in the book’s Introduction 


At about 48:45, Justin and Pete reflect on the extreme youth of Biggie and Tupac and ideas of “what might have been”


At about 51:20, Justin talks about the memories of Christopher Wallace and talking with people who still have a lifelong heartbreak, including Chico del Vec’s 


At about 54:00, Justin discusses the moving last chapter of the book that deals with CJ Wallace, Christopher Wallace, Jr.


At about 56:50, Pete notes the true appreciation and respect for Voletta Wallace, and how Justin so aptly wrote a nuanced book that reflected both macro and micro and the book’s subtitle


At about 58:30, Justin reflects on the profundity of the mural anecdote mentioned in the book, especially profound as it involves DJ 50 Grand and his recent sad death


At about 1:01:40, Pete brings some “lightning-round” questions, including questions 


At about 1:02:50, Pete shouts a friend out and is wowed by a real-life reference 


At about 1:05:30, Pete sums up the greatness of the book and connects it back to the guiding quote from Christopher Wallace


At about 1:06:20, Justin reads a passage from the book that serves as a sort of summation of the book, in that it neither glorifies nor assails him-on Page 321 


At about 1:10:00, Justin shouts out places to buy his book, Books-a-Million


At about 1:11:00, Justin talks about future projects and ideas


At about 1:13:05, Justin gives out social media-jtinsley86 is his TikTok

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  Please tune in for Episode 170 with Richard T. Rodríguez, a Renaissance Man and Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of A KISS ACROSS THE OCEAN  from Duke Press, and Dr. Ricky on the Radio at KUCR, 88.3FM

   The episode will air on March 14.

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