Acclaimed hip-hop journalist and former VIBE writer Bonz Malone missed out on a pretty huge deal with one of the greatest lyricists of all time. In a recent interview with Gasface, Malone– who also penned for Spin and The Source– detailed that one time he almost signed The Notorious B.I.G. during his stint as an A&R for Island Records. Having been neighbors with the late MC, Malone recalled losing out on Biggie because of a dice game.
“We were rollin’ dice for like three hours, seriously,” he recalled. “And the bet was if he won, I wouldn’t sign him, but if he lost, I would sign him. And I rolled a five–we were playing Cee-lo–and he rolled a six and he won. That opened the door for him to go to Bad Boy, and Puffy signed him.”
Malone later went on to pen the iconic July 1995 Source cover story featuring B.I.G. on the magazine’s cover beside the Twin Towers with the tagline, “The King of New York Takes Over!” Explaining that the title had not existed before he dubbed Biggie with the title, Malone detailed how he coined the now sought-after phrase.
“Before then, there was no ‘King of New York’ title in hip-hop at all,” he said. “Nobody aspired to be the ‘King of New York,’ it didn’t exist. Not Nas, not Slick Rick, not Run DMC; it did not exist.”
Could you imagine if The Notorious B.I.G. signed to Island Records and was never named “The King of New York.” Watch Bonz Malone give the history lesson in the video below: