Lil Kim, Lil Cease, Mister Cee, DJ Premier and More Describe The Notorious B.I.G. [PG.5]
1996-1997 “Sky’s the limit…”
Biggie’s debut, Ready to Die, went multi-platinum. As Biggie went to work on his second album, Life After Death, relations between him and Tupac became strained. After Tupac was shot five times at a Manhattan recording studio, he claimed he was set up and that Biggie knew about it and had failed to warn him. (Biggie told VIBE in September 1996 that he had nothing to do with Tupac’s shooting). Pac later got in an altercation with Big at the Soul Train Music Awards March 1996. Sources claimed Tupac drew a gun on Biggie, but Biggie and members of Tupac’s crew denied the charge. Two months later, Tupac released a song on Death Row Records called “Hit ‘Em Up” on which he rapped: “That’s why I fucked yo’ bitch / You fat muthafucker,” fueling rumors that Pac was seeing Biggie’s wife, Faith Evans.
Charli Baltimore: We met after a concert in Philly. We talked for a minute and then he asked to take a picture of me. [I fell in love with him] because he was so sincere, friendly and honest.
Lance “Un” Rivera: Big fell in love hard and quick. It wouldn’t take more than five minutes for him to fall in love. And he meant it. I had to cover up and patch shit up for him a few times. Once he made [Lil’] Kim so mad that she wouldn’t come to the studio. He called me and was like, “I fucked up and Kim’s mad.” I’d call her and say, “C’mon, you know he love you,” and she’d be like, “So why he treat me like that?” And I’d have to smooth shit over.
Sybil Pennix: You know how Big was depicted in that video for “One More Chance?” Well, when girls were around Biggie that’s how it was. They were rubbing his back or his neck, whatever. He was really Big Poppa like that.
Charli Baltimore: I cared about [him] seeing other girls, but he would lie and I believed him. I knew Faith was his wife, but he said they weren’t together anymore. One time Big was on the radio and he said, “I don’t mess with Lil’ Kim, and I’m not with Faith. My girlfriend’s name is Tiffany [Charli’s real name], she’s from Philly.” And the next day, Faith was on the same radio station talking about, “Yeah, the Illy from Philly.” That’s how I got that label.
Faith Evans: I still cared about [Big] even after I knew the marriage wasn’t going to work. It’s like I gave up hope. I tried and tried and tried, acting like this or that didn’t happen. But I never stopped doing for Big. He was my husband and he would still call on me when he needed something.
Charli Baltimore: One time we got into a fight and I pulled off his diamond ring he’d given me and threw it at hi. So Big took the ring and put it in his mouth, swallowed it, and then started choking and grabbin’ his chest. I got so scared and started freakin’ out and cryin.’ I screamed for Damion to help me, so he ran in and Big was on the floor. We were trying to get him to the hospital, but I guess D figured out that Big was playing. Big had the ring under his tongue the whole time. When I found out, I was mad as shit.
DJ Mister Cee: Biggie wasn’t as angry on the second album as he was on the first. You can hear it in the vocal delivery, and it’s not just a matter of him being older. When you’re coming from the streets you got a lotta things to get off your chest. He did that on Ready to Die and he was a little bit more relaxed while recording Life After Death.
dream hampton: Big said, “I wanted [Tupac] to hear [Life After Death]. I wanted him to see that there’s nothing on here about him.
Damion Butler: Big never understood why [Tupac] was talkin’ all that stuff that he did. And after Tupac was killed, Big was real mad. He was pissed off because [Tupac] didn’t deserve that ‘cause [Tupac] wasn’t that type of person. Big always had love for Pac.
DJ Premiere: “Ten Crack Commandments” was the last song we did for [Life After Death]. His son [Christopher Jr.] had just been born, and Charli Baltimore was there. He said, “I’ma be dancing around in videos and stuff.” When he finished the song he said, “It’s done, I’m the greatest.” And that’s the last time I ever saw him.