Category: the notorious b.i.g.

On this day in music history: September 13, 19…

On this day in music history: September 13, 1994 – “Ready To Die”, the debut album by The Notorious B.I.G. is released. Produced by DJ Premier, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Chucky Thompson, Easy Mo Bee, Lord Finesse, Poke, and Darnell Scott, it is recorded at The Hit Factory and D&D Recording Studios in New York City from Late 1993 – Mid 1994. Discovered by Uptown/MCA Records A&R man and producer Sean “Puffy” Combs in 1992 after he receives a demo tape from the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY born rapper, B.I.G. appears on remixes of Mary J. Blige’s hits “Real Love”, “What’s The 411?” and release the single “Party And Bullsh*t” on Uptown/MCA, generating additional buzz on Biggie, but Combs is fired by Uptown CEO Andre Harrell before they can make a full length album. Combs quickly strikes a deal with Arista Records chairman Clive Davis for his own label, establishing Bad Boy Records in 1993. B.I.G. is the first artist signed to the label and they go to work quickly on his first album. Assembling a team of some of the top Hip Hop producers including Easy Mo Bee, Poke (of The Trackmasters), and DJ Premier of Gang Starr, album combines Biggie’s gift for often raw and very personal lyrics (often tempered with dark humor) with his one of a kind rhyme style. The album is praised as a triumph by critics and fans alike upon its release, successfully bridging the gap between the street and more accessible radio friendly tracks. It is a major critical and commercial success upon its release, spinning off three singles including “Juicy” (#3 Rap, #14 R&B. #27 Pop), “Big Poppa” (#1 Rap, #4 R&B, #6 Pop) and “One More Chance” (#1 Rap, #1 R&B, #2 Pop). The vinyl configuration of the album is released initially as a single LP with the original cover artwork (of a baby meant to resemble B.I.G.), and is reissued as a double LP set with a current photo of Biggie on the front (copies came packaged with a mini poster of the album cover art). The album is remastered for its tenth anniversary in 2004, with the CD edition featuring a bonus DVD with the music videos of the singles originally released from it, and a previously unreleased live performance of “Unbelievable”. The double vinyl set (first issued in 1995), is reissued in 2013 as a limited edition pressing for Record Store Day. Another vinyl reissue by the subscription club Vinyl Me, Please is released in September 2017. This limited reissue restores the original “baby” cover art from the 1994 pressing, but pressed on double vinyl like other reissues and on red with black and white splatter colors, and white with red and black splatter colors. “Ready To Die” peaks at number three on the Billboard R&B album chart, number fifteen on the Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: August 30, 1997 …

On this day in music history: August 30, 1997 – “Mo Money Mo Problems” by The Notorious B.I.G. Featuring Puff Daddy & Mase hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Christopher Wallace, Sean Combs, Mason Betha, Steve Jordan, Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, it is the second chart topping single for the Brooklyn, NY born rapper. Having made a major breakthrough with his classic debut album “Ready To Die” in 1994, with many of songs depicting his early years in the rap game, and his former life as a drug dealer, Biggie Smalls aka The Notorious B.I.G. makes a resolution not to travel over the same ground lyrically or musically on his sophomore effort.Wanting to show a progression from the first album, the material on the follow up “Life After Death” continues to tell the rappers story, but showing greater maturity and where he wishes to go in the future. The idea for “Mo Money, Mo Problems” comes out a statement Biggie makes during an interview, saying how his then new status as one of the biggest artists in hip hop had changed the attitudes of people around him. How money and fame don’t solve all of your problems, but instead bring a whole other set of them to deal with. The track for “Mo Money” produced by Stevie J. of The Hitmen production team samples Diana Ross’ 1980 hit “I’m Coming Out” and features R&B singer Kelly Price singing the hook. Puff Daddy and Mase also contribute verses to the song, with Biggie bringing it all home. “Mo Money Mo Problems” is the second single issued after four months after B.I.G.’s death on July 15, 1997. It is supported by a slick and glossy video directed by Hype Williams, and features archival footage of the rapper along with newly filmed footage of Puffy and Mase. Entering the Hot 100 at #4 on August 2, 1997, it leaps to the top of the chart four weeks later, unseating Puffy Daddy’s “I’ll Be Missing You” (after holding at #2 for three weeks), the Bad Boy founders posthumous tribute to the fallen rapper. “Mo Money” also receives a Grammy nomination in 1998 for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, but loses to “I’ll Be Missing You”. The 12" single release of “Mo Money” is reissued in the US and UK on Record Store Day in April of 2017, pressed on marbled money green vinyl and is limited to 6,000 copies worldwide. “Mo Money Mo Problems” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Lil and Biggie

Lil and Biggie

Born on this day: May 21, 1972 – Rap music leg…

Born on this day: May 21, 1972 – Rap music legend The Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher George Latore Wallace in New York City, NY). Happy Birthday to this Hip Hop icon on what would have been his 46th Birthday.

On this day in music history: March 25, 1997 -…

On this day in music history: March 25, 1997 – “Life After Death”, the second album by The Notorious B.I.G. is released. Produced by Deric “D-Dot” Angelettie, Carlos “6 July” Broady, Buckwild, Clark Kent, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Stevie J, DJ Enuff, DJ Premier, Easy Mo Bee, Havoc, Jiv Poss, Daron Jones, Ron “Amen-Ra” Lawrence, Kay Gee, Nashiem Myrick, Notorious B.I.G., Paragon, Chucky Thompson and RZA, it is recorded at Daddy’s House, D&D Studios, The Hit Factory in New York City, Caribbean Sound Basin in Maraval, Trinidad, W.I., and NRG Studios in North Hollywood, CA from September 1995 – January 1997. Following the success of his debut “Ready To Die”, The Notorious B.I.G. (aka “Biggie Smalls”) goes through a number of life changes in the wake of his new found fame. He marries label mate Faith Evans, whose relationship turns rocky shortly after. Biggie is also drawn into a feud with Tupac Shakur, who believes that Biggie and Sean “Puffy” Combs were involved in a robbery attempt at Quad Recording Studios, where Tupac is shot. The beef escalates when Shakur aligns himself with Suge Knight of Death Row Records, touching off the infamous “East Coast – West Coast Rap War”. During this upheaval, Biggie is working on his second album. Realizing he can’t revisit the same subject matter he’s written about before, his sophomore effort reflects on his growing maturity as an artist and as a man. B.I.G. works with numerous producers including “The Hitmen”, DJ Premier, Kay Gee and RZA. It also features guest appearances from Jay-Z, Angela Winbush, R. Kelly, Bone Thugs ‘N’ Harmony, Too Short, Li’l Kim, Mase, 112, and The Lox. Recorded over eighteen months, the twenty-four track double album is finally completed. To promote its release Biggie and Puffy travel to the west coast for press and radio interviews. Tragedy strikes on March 9, 1997 when the rapper is killed in a drive-by shooting outside the Peterson Auto Museum in Los Angeles, following a party thrown by Vibe Magazine. Set for release before the incident, the album arrives in stores just two weeks after Biggie’s murder, making the album’s already dark title even more prophetically ironic. It is an immediate smash, drawing both critical praise and commercial success. It spins off three singles including “Hypnotize” (#1 Pop, #1 R&B, #1 Rap) and “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” (#1 Pop, #2 R&B, #1 Rap), making him the first artist in history to have two posthumous number one pop singles. The album is also released as a limited triple vinyl LP set which quickly goes out of print and becomes a high priced collectible. It is reissued on LP in 2003 and 2014, the latter on both standard black vinyl and as a numbered limited edition set pressed on clear vinyl (US) and white vinyl (UK & Europe). “Life After Death” spends four weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200 and R&B album charts, and is certified 10x Platinum by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.

Remembering The Notorious B.I.G. (born Christo…

Remembering The Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher George Latore Wallace in New York City, NY) – May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997