For most hip-hop heads, it’s still hard to believe The Notorious BIG is gone.
The iconic MC hasn’t graced a mic in twenty-one years since his untimely death in Los Angeles, still, his music lives on as if he laid down a verse yesterday.
To celebrate Biggie Smalls’ life and the twenty year anniversary of his passing, here are 21 little and unknown facts about The Notorious BIG.
- Although many thought otherwise, Biggie did indeed write his lyrics down. At least, sometimes, as Method Man told Complex Magazine: “Contrary to what everybody thinks, Big sat there and wrote his verse on paper,” Method Man told Complex in an October 2011 interview. “I sat down and I wrote my shit on paper. The reason I know this is because he told me, ‘I need you to say this line right here.’ I was like, ‘What line, Big?’ He was like, ‘I’ve got more Glocks and tecs than you / I make it hot, niggas won’t even stand next to you.’ I was like, ‘I got you.’”
- The ‘Fuck Me’ interlude on The Notorious BIG’s debut album, ‘Ready To Die’, featuring Lil Kim was recorded using a piano bench. Producers asked BIG and Kim to make sex sounds initially, but things didn’t sound right. That’s when Puffy asked BIG to sit on a piano bench in the studio. He then asked Kim to sit on top of him. Moments later, Biggie broke the bench after trying to make it sound like a creaking bed.
- Before the beat kicks in on ‘I Got A Story To Tell’ from ‘Life After Death’, Biggie can be heard saying ‘who ya’ll talkin’ to, man?’. He was speaking to producers, who could be seen talking to an unknown person Biggie could not see from inside the recording booth. That person was Puffy Combs, who earlier in the recording session BIG kicked out for being too picky.
- Fellow Bad Boy label Craig Mack and The Notorious BIG weren’t exactly the best of friends and some even suggest the two had beef, trading subliminal shots on multiple records including the remix to ‘Flava In Ya Ear’. There’s even a video circulating around YouTube in which Biggie was asked about Mack, to which he replied ‘fuck that dude’.
- For years many wondered who the woman behind the inspiration for ‘Story To Tell’ was and if it was true. Many also wondered what New York Knicks player was involved. The answer was revealed a few months back, courtesy of Fat Joe who claimed ‘I Got A Story To Tell’ was about Anthony Mason. His girlfriend at the time was model and actress Luz Whitney.
- What was Notorious BIG’s favorite song that he ever recorded? That would be ‘Machine Gun Funk’.
- After being arrested for weapons and weed, Biggie wanted to make sure Puff Daddy wouldn’t be upset with him so he recorded ‘Fucking You Tonight’. The crew (Daron Jones of 112, D-Roc) spent the entire evening producing and recording the song to present to Diddy in the morning, who had bailed Biggie and Cease out earlier in the day. They didn’t even stop at home to change as D-Roc recalled they didn’t even have laces in their shoes after coming straight to the studio after being in jail.
- On ‘Niggas Bleed’, the original recording had a different ending. However, worried that the lyrics were too violent, Puff Daddy asked The Notorious BIG to change the ending to something more ‘friendly’ which is why the terrorizing crew had their cars towed after double parking by a fire hydrant.
- Lil Cease’s niece was the young girl on ‘Ready To Die’ who asked ‘all you hoes, callin’ here for my Daddy’.
- Method Man got paid $2,500 for his verse on ‘The What’ and it took him nearly two months to get his check from Puffy.
- To this day, ‘Niggas Bleed’ was a record that was never cleared from a sample perspective and should have never made the final pressing of ‘Life After Death’.
- Biggie was taken back by Bone Thugs’ rapping style on ‘Notorious Thugs’ and did not record his session on the same day as members of BT. Instead, he took the beat home and crafted his verse outside of the studio. When he recorded it, he requested everybody be outside of the room.
- On ‘Another’ featuring Lil’ Kim, both she and BIG were really angry with each other after Kim said she caught him cheating. Producers had a difficult time getting the two to even speak during recording, in which Kim punched and kicked Biggie and kicked out his crutch (which he was using from his car accident).
- Biggie was so excited for the world to hear ‘Goin’ Back To Cali’ as he believed the song would be the bridge needed to close the East Coast/West Coast rap beef.
- BIG liked to sing and actually approached Puff Daddy about doing an album of slower, ballad-like songs. He wanted to call it ‘Big Ballads’.
- Prince would not allow Stevie J and Puffy to clear the sample for Biggie’s ‘Nasty Girl’, which featured ‘Nasty Girl’ from Vanity 6.
- There are differing opinion on ‘Long Kiss Goodnight’, which is alleged to have subliminal shots taken at 2Pac. Lil Cease says Biggie most definitely recorded the song off ‘Life After Death’ as a beef record aimed at Tupac, while Puff Daddy said there was never any merit to such and they were just typical rap lyrics.
- BIG loved movies and acting and in addition to guest starring roles on TV shows like ‘Martin’ and ‘New York Undercover’, Biggie had signed on to play a druglord in an upcoming film with Robert DeNiro and Christoper Walken.
- According to his mother, Voletta Wallace, Christopher aka Biggie planned to either be a dentist or a graphic designer before he got caught up in the streets.
- The Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes and Jay Z all attended the same high school in downtown Brooklyn, though were in different classes.
- 2pac’s favorite Notorious B.I.G. song was his first ‘single, ‘Party And Bullshit’ which Biggie unexpectedly performed for Tupac during a 1993 concert at Bowie University in Maryland.
And since you’re here, why don’t you check out the true story behind Biggie’s ‘I Got A Story To Tell’?!