Biggie Remembered: A Look Back

Frank White. Biggie Smalls. The Notorious B.I.G.The King of New York. Christopher Wallace assumed many monikers and the Brooklyn native been many things to many people. Through the eight years since his murder Biggies stories, songs and style have lingered over Hip-Hop like a holy cherub. March 9 is a sad day for Hip-Hop, but […]

Frank White. Biggie Smalls. The Notorious B.I.G.The King of New York. Christopher Wallace assumed many monikers and the Brooklyn native been many things to many people. Through the eight years since his murder Biggies stories, songs and style have lingered over Hip-Hop like a holy cherub.

March 9 is a sad day for Hip-Hop, but peering into the past, there is some reason to smile. Join producers, artists, friends, and family as we collectively look back at a beautiful life lost.

We’ll always love Big Poppa.

Black Rob: I remember one time [in 1995] I was recording with Biggie and Nas. It’s just wild ‘cause I was just coming in the game and Puff had just signed me. Nobody didn’t even know me; so they bought me to the session with Biggie and Nas. These n***as is already international celebs, worldwide. I’m in there like “Yeah I’m a do what I do,” so I came in and I was kickin’ that raw s**t like, “I’m a kill your mother, stab your father – Yo, when I come back from jail I’m a kill somebody.” [Biggie asked] “You alright?” I was like, “What you talkin’ bout?” He was like, “Yo dog, this joint is for Mary J. Blige, my ni**a.” I was [real embarrassed.]

D-Dot: [Biggie was] a good friend, somebody who I really and truly respected and who truly respected me. Biggie said to the world, “If you wanna f**k with me, you’ve gotta get past D-Dot, Stevie J and Nashiem first.” That’s why when you look at Life After Death, Clark Kent only had one. As much as B.I.G loved Clark, Clark only had one beat on there. Premo had two because B.I.G loved Premo. And we had the rest. Kaygee had one, RZA had one, Havoc had one. D-Dot, had four or five, Nashiem has four or five, Stevie J had four or five. B.I.G told the world, “I’ve got my squad. They custom for me.” That’s why to this day, we only put out one more album, because B.I.G didn’t have a lot of rhymes sittin’. When B.I.G heard a beat, he wrote to the beat. It wasn’t like he would just write and write and write like Tupac, just having rhymes put to any beat. So when he died, it was like taking a sewing machine from a seamstress or a drill from a carpenter. It was one of my tools taken away, that I also used to express myself. It’s really hard to find artists out there that have that drive and that creativity that B.I.G had. God Bless the dead. I really miss him.

Chico, Junior M.A.F.I.A.: It’s crazy, the funniest s**t that happened was when we were in North Carolina. We got snowed in. Biggie said we should stay two extra days and do more shows to get some money. The airport was shut down. The roads were nasty. We went out and when we came back it was all ice outside. We were staying in a fly ass hotel, so we”ll go out and when we came back we couldn’t get back into our room because of all of the ice. We had to make a human chain to get Biggie to the room. Just imagine all of these little dudes trying to get Biggie in the room. Mind you, we were all drunk and falling down. It was so funny we laughed and joked about it for like two hours.

Loon: The key to success at Bad Boy is to just play your position. Any artist that ever did that has won. And I could name a few. Biggie played his position. Even though we all know that’s the house that Biggie built. We all knew he was the mayor, the president, all that. But at the end of the day the owner of Bad Boy is definitely Puff.

R.A. The Rugged Man: The W#### Pit was a spot we used to record at, and we used to all f*** b***hes in that studio. W#### Pit sounds a lot fouler than it is, but it is just a studio, and in the studio, we f***ed. Biggie came out to the studio, and he had his own little chick in the bathroom with him. Next thing you know, he’s walking out the bathroom, and water is pouring out of the toilet. Condoms are overflowing. He f***ed both the toilet and the plumbing up while boning the chick. [Laughs]

Lance “Un” Rivera: [Junior M.A.F.I.A. and Undeas Records] was part of a plan that was hatched between myself and the Notorious Big. Big was behind the music. I was behind the business. When Big passed away, the spotlight was on me, “Was it Biggie, was it Un, the person who could create something from nothing and make money off it?”

Mase: People always send me a track first because they want me to get my verse out of the way. It is very dangerous to give me the song last. So it is like, let him get his verse and everybody can build his or her verse around my verse. That is how it has always been. Even when Biggie was here they would give me the beat let me lay my verse, then give everybody the beat to go and lay their verse. But then slowly they would say stuff like, “Well I think [Biggie] is better then Mase, but then they always give Mase the beat first.”

AZ: Jay-Z was shooting the “Dead Presidents” and he asked us all to come through. I knew Jay; me, and Jay went to school together back in high school. And I guess he went to school with Biggie at one time, too. ‘Cause we all got transferred out of the school we was at. So anyways, it was the video, and I came through to do that. It was a beautiful day.

Kwame: By the time my [next] album [flopped], the Biggie situation had happened, it totally turned the industry against me. If you doing something in Hip-Hop, you’re bound to get dissed. What’s the point of holding on to it? ‘Cause at one point, I did hold on, and held a grudge. That’s not gonna help. Keep it moving. I had discussions with Biggie about the record, with Puff about the record. At the time of Biggie’s death, everything was squashed between everybody. In the beginning, it wasn’t. Puff and Biggie approached me personally. They pretty much apologized.

Lord Finesse: When he heard the beat [to “Suicidal Thoughts”] it just hit him like a light bulb. He just said, “I need this beat.” So I sent him the beat, and I played some other s**t for him. But he was just stuck on that. I couldn’t see where he was gonna go with it – never in a million years. I didn’t end up hearing it until after the album came out. I wasn’t even in the studio when he did the vocal. When I did the beat, I know he was out of town. But when he did, he just laced it.

Easy Mo Bee: The concept of[Ready to Die], that was Puffy and Biggie’s alone. I didn’t have anything to do with the actual concept on the album. I did [half] the album. [Before] that, on the Who’s the Man soundtrack, I recorded the first studio verse Big ever spit. That was “Party & Bulls**t.” I’m the first producer that Big ever went into the studio with and recorded with. Because I never became one of the Hitmen, I noticed I didn’t really appear on anymore of the Bad Boy projects after [the debut]. Me and Big didn’t have no problems whatsoever. Big would’ve recorded with me til’ the end, and I know that. There was an element to what I brought to his music, that I’m sure he would’ve made sure to include on any albums. I had to push to get “Going Back to Cali” and “I Love the Dough” on Life After Death.

Ron G: Big was personally my friend It was a time in my life when Biggie was here, and I was broke and going through a huge amount of problems. I didn’t have a dime; I bought cars only to have them stolen. There were only two things I had to keep me going, that was Biggie and my studio equipment. I was sitting home doing beats trying to remain focused and I called Biggie and told him my problems. He told me, “Bring me something over man.” I brought some beats over and two days later he just gave me a check for $10,000 and he never used the songs. That $10,000 put me where I’m at today. I don’t know if Puffy or Ms. Wallace knows that, but B.I.G. did that for me and that is why he will always be in my heart. Rest In Peace B.I.G. He done something for me no rapper has ever done. That $10,000 he gave me allowed me to put some food in my mouth as well as buy another piece of studio equipment.

Lil’ Cease: Big was just good person. He was a n***a who couldn’t drive, but brought four or five cars so his people could drive. He didn’t know how to drive, and didn’t have a license to drive. He showed the utmost love to everybody that came in his presence. If he loved you, he showed you love. I never saw anybody do that. Today, it’s a remake of what Biggie did. So when you hear story of n***as buying everything up for their peoples, ‘cause they got that from B.I.

Ms. Voletta Wallace: So far, I don’t know all of my son’s songs. But it’s what he said, but how he said it. And the way it was penned I believe – all of his songs. The first one was “Juicy”, and the second was “Big Poppa”, the next one was “One More Chance”, and we cannot forget “Hypnotize”. When you think of the words, those are not words that I would write, a recitation that I would recite, or poetry that I would pen, but it was his heart and it was beautifully, beautifully, orchestrated in pen.