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Bone Thugs, Jadakiss, Sheek, Faith Evans, DMC & Pete Rock Recall Recording With Biggie

Notorious B.I.G.'s fans, friends and family still remember the rapper as the "greatest of all time." His memory and legacy lives on in hip-Hhop history books. In Biggie's honor, VIBE plucked some of our favorite studio stories from the late rapper's remarkable career. Read on to hear what it was like to record with the last king of New York.




"Notorious Thugs" (The Notorious B.I.G. Feat. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony)

Layzie: “Puffy called us and said, ‘BIG want y’all on a record.’ We are like, ‘Hell yeah…we coming.’ We end up being in the studio with Biggie all night. We did all of our verses and then BIG was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to take this home.’ When BIG went home we did not hear that record until after he passed.”

Flesh: “Hearing Biggie do our style was incredible. I understood why he had to take it home and study it for a minute. He put his own spin on our Bone flow.”

Krayzie: “It was bitter sweet. Biggie ripped it but we didn’t have the opportunity to tell him how much he ripped it. He came out and did his thing on the song to where he put another notch under his belt because our style is not easy to where you can just say, ‘I’m going to rap like these dudes.’ Especially back then when we were first coming out. For a New York rapper to do our style was a risk. But when he did it that nigga killed it. New York showed us a lot of love off of that record. ‘Notorious Thugs’ and ‘Crossroads’ are the only songs they played in NYC by Bone. It was Bone and Biggie.”

"Last Day" (The Notorious B.I.G. Feat. The Lox)

Sheek: “I still remember the day we were in the studio making 'Last Day' with B.I.G. Of course, the first thing that sticks out is the big-ass Hellman's mayonnaise jar of Branson. [Laughs] It was love from day one with B.I.G. and The Lox. We just got to the label and he was asking us to get on all these records because he thought we were nice. Puff would have us in this little ass B-room and Biggie and all his other artists would be in the big studio. He would bring all these other rappers and try to have them semi-battle us or just hear us rap, that’s why we were spitting so hard on that. Around the same time, we did that 'You'll See' freestyle. We didn’t even get hear B.I.G’s part 'til after it was finished. In those days, we would just spit on any record we could. Little did we know it would make Biggie’s album.”

DMC: “When I got asked to do a record with Biggie, I was shocked. I got a phone call from Puffy and my manager Eric like, ‘Puffy is looking for you.’ I’m like, ‘Puffy???’ Why the hell is Puffy looking for me for? I don’t dance and I don’t drink Cristal…I drink Ole English [laughs].’ But Puffy calls and says, ‘Yo, Biggie wants you on his chorus. He doesn’t want to sample your voice.’ Biggie thought my line, ‘That’s not all, MC’s have the gall, to pray and pray for my downfall’ was dope. A lot of the really lyrical MC’s like Biggie, Rakim, and Freddie Fox told me, ‘Yo, D…you wasn’t that dude that had to have three 16 bars of fire. You would have one or two statements that could shut motherfuckers up.’

So I go to Puff’s Daddy’s House studios to meet producer Nashiem [Myrick]. When I finished my part, I was soupped! I’m a humble dude, but I was fucking soupped because Biggie was huge. Of all the people Biggie could have called Big Daddy Kane or Slick Rick. But he called me. When I spoke to Puff he told me, ‘Imagine Biggie is doing a show and goes, I got a surprise guest for you…a legend!’ And I come out. That would be getting hits on YouTube right now! But unfortunately Biggie passed away, so we never got the chance to perform [‘Pray For My Down Fall’] together. Still, I got to make a record with Biggie Smalls. It was an honor to do that record.”


Pete Rock: “Due to people just doing business a new way and me being young and not understanding the publishing side of things, I let certain things fall through the cracks [when it came to ‘Juicy’]. Puffy came over with Big and I had the drums playing and Puff was interested in what he heard. He asked me if I was making it for CL Smooth and I was like, ‘Nah.’ Big was standing there, but he was more interested in seeing how I made beats. He was requesting certain interlude beats. He was like, ‘I want this song you put between these two songs on your album.’

I made this beat called ‘In The Flesh’ that was on the Main Ingredient album. And I made that beat in front of Biggie. He was like, ‘Oh shit…I just wanted to see how you did it, son.’ He was bugging. But Biggie wasn’t even interested in ‘Juicy.’ Next thing you know, ‘Juicy’ comes out and I don’t get credit. I really felt a way about it after Big passed away. We didn’t get to have the relationship that Premier had with him. I had a lot of music for Big, but it just didn’t happen.”

“We’ll Always Love Big Poppa" (The L.O.X.)

Jadakiss: “This song was really serious because we were actually at that party in L.A. with BIG before he was killed. When we saw him at the party, BIG was having so much fun. He was so happy to be there. He was even going to stay in L.A. for another month. Just think about the whole irony of that. That was our first time in L.A. as well. So imagine how we felt when BIG died. We are going through it. We were thinking all kinds of thoughts. At that time Puff was still handling BIG’s funeral services. We were at Powerhouse studios and Sheek, Styles and myself decided, ‘Yo, we should just do a song for BIG.’ Dame Grease produced the beat and Puff added the kids singing. And it just came out beautifully. ‘We’ll Always Love Big Poppa’ was a real heartfelt statement. There were no gimmicks to it. We wasn’t trying to sell it and have it become this huge hit. When we finished the song and sent it to Puff, D-Rock and all of Biggie’s loved ones we heard there was a lot of crying in the room. There was a mix of sadness and joy”


“I’ll Be Missing You,” Puff Daddy feat. Faith Evans and 112 (1997)

Faith Evans: There are lot of things that were very similar about [Notorious] B.I.G. and myself. I came up in Newark, so I wasn’t that far removed from the type of surroundings where Biggie grew up in Brooklyn. His mom was a devout Jehovah’s Witness and my grandparents were devout Christians. But most of all, I loved his spirit. I was never someone who liked to date the pretty boy or the jock. I like people who make me feel good about myself. The very first time I met BIG it was more of a funny connection. We were at an early promo shoot for Bad Boy—just BIG, myself and Craig Mack. I happened to be with Hurricane Gloria that day, who used to be down with Redman. I had just come from Red’s house. People don’t know, but Red was my 9th grade boyfriend [laughs]. Red was the church drummer at his mom’s church. This was before the music industry. He’s my daughter’s Godfather. So back to BIG…he and his crew knew Hurricane and they were looking at me like, ‘How do you know this chick?’ I ended up dropping BIG off in Brooklyn. He told me he was going to call me when he got out the car, but I hadn’t given him my number [laughs]. We got married a few weeks later.

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Jay Z's Team Roc Takes Legal Step To Improve Healthcare For Mississippi Inmates

Jay Z and Team Roc, are backing a new lawsuit on behalf of inmates at Mississippi’s Parchman prison. The suit accuses Centene Corp. of providing substandard healthcare to inmates and downplaying the risk of COVID-19 infection within the prison.

The lawsuit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court on Wednesday (May 27) by Centene shareholder, Laura Wood, seeks “basic answers to basic questions about grave injustices perpetrated behind prison walls.” Wood is asking for a court order to “inspect Centene’s books and records in an effort to investigate potential wrongdoing.” Jay Z and Roc Nation lawyer, Alex Spiro, is listed as legal counsel.

Centene is the the parent company of Centurion, which provides healthcare to prisons around the country. According to the legal documents, Centene has a “long history of failing to provide proper health care to the prison populations.”

The company seemingly disputed claims made in the lawsuit. “Centurion and its board of directors are proud of the company’s history of providing outstanding and innovative health-care solutions to this vulnerable population,” spokesperson Marcela Hawnin a statement. “We look forward to sharing more about our role in the delivery of health-care to these individuals during legal proceedings.”

Centurion has faced misconduct allegations in the past, which are outlined in the lawsuit. In 2016, a woman sued the company for forcing her to “give birth in a non-sterile environment without a qualified OBGYN,” and two Centurion health administrators were removed from their positions for failing to disperse medication to inmates at Tennessee Prison for Women in a “timely manner.” In 2018, a third-party audit found that Centurion “jeopardized patient safety in an effort to increase its earnings.”

Parchman inmates were already subjected to inhumane conditions, including no electricity or running water, rodents, and crumbling infrastructure, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Aside from the operational and janitorial issues, prison overcrowding and lack of proper health care could result in the viral disease wreaking havoc on Parchman's prison population, especially vulnerable inmates who suffer disproportionately from conditions like diabetes, hepatitis, HIV, and asthma.

Forty detainees have died while in custody at Mississippi prisons since late last year. At least one Parchman inmate died from COVID-19. According to the Mississippi Department of Corrections, the inmate battled preexisting health conditions.

 

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Russell Simmons Accusers Detail Sexual Assault Allegations In ‘On The Record’

On the Record offers a detailed look into multiple sexual assault allegations against Russell Simmons, fears that Black women have about sharing their stories, and the lack of intersectionality within the #MeToo movement.

In the 97-minute film, which debuted on HBO Max on Wednesday (May 27), former record executive Drew Dixon grapples with her decision to go public with accusations against Simmons, and the concept of “race loyalty” that Black women battle when they’re attacker is a Black man.

Directed and produced by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, On the Record does a deep dive into the misogyny and sexism permeating through hip-hop. Of course, hip-hop has never been a monolith. The roots of the culture are steeped in protest, and although the genre didn’t invent misogyny or sexism (which is noted in the film), Black women have had an understandably complicated relationship with hip-hop.

“You stand in solidarity with the movement as a Black woman,” Dixon explains. “You don’t parse the sexism within the movement as a Black woman. We were so excited about hip-hop and what it meant that we laughed it off…and now that I’m older I realize that language set a tone. But I didn’t see it that way at the time.”

Dixon, a former A&R at Def Jam, began her music industry career in the early ‘90s as an A&R for Def Jam where she worked with the likes of Redman and Method Man, Tupac Shakur, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Mary J. Blige, and more.

One night in the mid-1990s, Dixon claims Simmons lured her to his apartment under the pretense of wanting her to listen to a demo track on a stereo located in his bedroom. As Dixon recalls, she walked into the bedroom and attempted to figure out how to turn on the CD player.“The next thing I know he [Simmons] is naked wearing a condom and he just grabbed me…and he threw me in the bed. He wrestles me to the bed and pins me down and I’m fighting and I’m saying ‘no!’ He’s telling me to ‘stop fighting!’ in a very cold, menacing, detached voice that I’d never, ever heard from him before.”

Dixon says she blacked out during the alleged assault. “Which is something survivors often do. It’s like a self-preservation tactic.” The next thing that she remembers is being naked in a tub with Simmons whom she says was casually talking to her as if they had had a consensual encounter. Dixon says she left his apartment, walked 22 blocks home, climbed in the shower and began to sob. “I was reduced to nothing. In that moment, I was trash. Nothing about anything that makes me who I am mattered. I was a physical object. A physical device. Some physical thing that he [Simmons] utilized for his pleasure.”

A few days later, Dixon says that she told a friend and former A&R, Miguel Mojica, about the sexual assault. She also continued working at Def Jam for a “little while longer” before resigning. Dixon went on to work at Arista Records where she says that she endured sexual harassment from L.A. Reid.

Reid denies Dixon’s claims calling the allegations “unfounded, not true, and represent a complete misrepresentation and fabrication of any facts or events alleged therein as having occurred.”

Dixon didn’t speak publicly about the accusations against Simmons and Reid until a 2017 New York Times interview. On the Record chronicles the moments leading up to the article's release, the NYT’s vetting process -- which included an extensive background check-- and the ripple effect that the experience had on Dixon's life and career, namely in that she quit the music industry.

“For 22 years I took one for the team,” she says of keeping allegations against Simmons quiet for decades out of fear of letting “the culture” down and not being believed. “Russell Simmons was the king of hip-hop and I was proud of him. I didn’t want to let the culture down. I loved the culture. I loved Russell too.”

In the film, Dixon also opens up about her children and the life that she built after the music industry. She split from her husband and moved from New York to California to start a new chapter. The film also features a discussion between Dixon and two other Simmons accusers, screenwriter, Jenny Lumet, and Sil Lai Abrams and activist writer, and former Def Jam executive assistant.

More than a dozen women have accused Simmons of sexual assault or misconduct, eight of which are featured in the film. Some of Simmon’s accusers share similar accounts to Dixon’s allegations.

“I have issued countless denials of the false allegations against me,” Simmons notes in a written statement featured in the film. “I have lived my life honorably as an open book for decades, devoid of any kind of violence against anyone.”

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George Floyd’s Family Wants Minneapolis Police Officers Arrested For His Murder

The family of George Floyd are demanding justice after the 46 year old was killed by Minneapolis police earlier in the week. Floyd’s cousin and brothers want the four officers involved to be arrested and convicted of murder.

“We need to see justice happen,” Floyd’s cousin, Tera Brown, told CBS This Morning. “This was clearly murder. We want to see them arrested. We want to see them charged, we want to see them convicted. He did not deserve what happened to him.”

In reactions to the Floyd's murder, tens of thousands of people took to the street in Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities around the country.

“I don’t want the protests to just be for show. I want to see action,” continued Brown. “I want to see these people pay for what they did. We need to hold them accountable.”

Floyd was described as an “amazing” person who was well loved and “never did anything” to anyone. “Everybody loved my brother. I just don’t understand why people want to hurt people, killed people, they didn’t have to do that to my brother,” said his brother, Philonise Floyd.

Two of the four officers involved have been identified as Tou Thao, and Derek Chauvin, the latter of whom is the officer who put his knee in Floyd’s neck as he begged for air and later died. All four officers have been fired.

Former NBA player Steven Jackson took to social media to pay tribute to his longtime friend whom he called his twin. “Floyd was my brother, we called each other twin,” Jackson said in an emotional video. “My boy was doing what he was supposed to do and ya’ll go and kill my brother.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Where we from not many make it out but my Twin was happy I did. I’m gonna continue to make u proud fam. It makes me so angry that after all the things u been through when u get to your best self that they take u out like this. Fuk Rest Easy Twin

A post shared by Stephen Jackson Sr. (@_stak5_) on May 26, 2020 at 7:04pm PDT

Minnesota is no stranger to police brutality. The Star-Tribune published a list of the 193 people who have died “after a physical confrontation with Minnesota police” since the year 2000 (excluding car accidents during police pursuits). The database includes Philando Castile, the 32-year-old cafeteria worker killed by a Minneapolis cop during a traffic stop in 2016. Castile’s murder was the first, and possibly only time, that a Minnesota police officer was criminally charged for killing a civilian, although the former officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted.

Watch the interview with Flynn's family below.

 

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