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Lil Kim, Lil Cease, Mister Cee, DJ Premier and More Describe The Notorious B.I.G. [PG.3]

1990-1995 “Now I’m in the limelight ‘cause I rhyme tight…”

DJ Mister Cee: I was always close to 50 Grand. I was deejaying for Big Daddy Kane and [50] kept telling me, “Yo, I got this kid Biggie Smalls, and he’s dope.” He gave me his home demo tape. It wasn’t even like had had songs. He was rhymin’ off of other people’s beats, like he rhymed over the instrumental of this song called “Blind Alley” that we used for [Kane’s] “Ain’t No Half Steppin’.” I listened to the tape one time and that was it. It blew my mind.

Justice Rivera: Biggie used to hang with this kid named Chico who let me hear the tape, and I was like, Damn. He could really rap. It kinda reminded me of Big Daddy Kane’s style, but hardcore and with a different voice. Everything he kicked was Brooklyn. I told [Biggie] that I had connections with Kedar [Massenburg, current president/CEO of Motown], who was working with [rap group] Freestyle Fellowship at the time. Kedar’s hands were tied, but he told me to bring the tape back later. Soon after, Big hooked up with DJ Mister Cee. Kedar once told me that the biggest mistake he made was having [Biggie] on his couch and then letting him get away.

DJ Mister Cee: [Big] came to my house—I’ll never forget—wearing a white T-shirt and black jeans, looking grimy, hungry. I told him about a Source [magazine] contest [for the Unsigned Hype column]. We remade the same tape and I submitted it to Matty C [former Source editor] who called me and was like, “Yo, this kid is ridiculous.” Puffy called Matty and said he was lookin’ for a hardcore rapper. Matty told him about Big, so Puff gives me a call.

Damion Butler: [DJ Mister Cee] was like, “This guy wants to meet Big.” So Big was like, “Please. For what?”

Lil’ Cease: Puff came through Fulton Street lookin’ for him. Biggie wanted to know, “Who the fuck is this nigga, man?” Nobody really knew who he was. But it wasn’t until Puff came lookin’ for him that Biggie started taking the rap thing seriously.

Puffy: When I first met him it was bugged because he was this big, black muthafucker. I though, No how am I gonna market him? My man looked like a liquor-store robber! But damn, he could spit.

Damion Butler: Once he really knew he could get a record deal, that’s when everything else went out the window. He was 150 percent focused on rap.

DJ Mister Cee: Puffy went the extra mile to get [Biggie] ‘cause he was the most hungry. I just knew nobody was gonna know what to do with Big besides this kid. That’s why I told Big that Iwould rather he be with somebody [like Puffy] that’s young, black , business-savvy, and hungry.

Sybil Pennix: I was Puffy’s assistant [at Uptown Records], and he used to stuff everybody into my little office even though he had the big VP office. He would make biggie wait for him in my office all the time. It almost became a big sister/mother/girlfriend type of thing. He told me everything. Before he signed his deal he was worried about getting in trouble with the law, ‘cause he was having little issues back then. And he was carrying a gun because he though he needed it to survive, but I made him give it to me. I kept it in a drawer in the office and no one ever knew. He ended up going to jail for a day or so, so it was a good thing that he didn’t have the gun on him after all.

Tupac and Biggie first connected during Bad Boy’s first trip to L.A. and they were, .like, immediate friends. Tupac knew Biggie was coming and he really respected him as a lyricist. He brought us to his house in L.A. and barbecued for everyone. After that, the two of them were like Frick and Frack.

Lil’ Cease: Sometime in ’93, Tupac came to [New York] to do a show at The Ritz. Big had just met him, like, a month earlier, and Tpac asked Big to come down there to perform. So Big’s out there doin’ “Party and Bullshit,” and he went crazy ‘cause everbody was givin’ him love. Big got so hyper and was movin’ around so much that he fell and bust his ass right on stage! The whole crowd saw, but he kept goin’. It amazed me ‘cause nothin’ stopped his flow. He was on his back still rhymin’. We laughed, but not for long ‘cause the crowd thought iw as part of the show and went crazy. There was somethin’ about that show that let me know he was gonna be big.

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