Grammy-winning rapper Kanye West recently talked about his knack for music-making and why he believes the late Notorious B.I.G. did not fully ride behind some of his biggest hit records.
In Ye’s opinion, Biggie Smalls managed to trick the masses into thinking some of his records’ sounds were greater than they really were.
“Biggie actually used to like the Tribe sound more, like the [DJ Premier] sound. And then Puff was the one that was like, of course y’all know the story, ‘Look, you got to rap on ‘Juicy.’ You gotta rap on this.’ Biggie was so cold, ’cause we the Geminis. Right? I’m just like Biggie – that ‘Juicy’ beat? I don’t like that beat, man. And I don’t like the beat for [‘Big Poppa’], yeah, I don’t like the Dr. Dre worm noise on the chorus. At all. To this day. … And I don’t imagine that Biggie liked that that much either. But Biggie was so cold that he could make you like anything.” (V-103)
Kanye credited B.I.G. and a slew of other notable Gemini entertainers, including himself, for winning fans over.
“People just saw me perform for 80 percent of my show without seeing my face and they’re like, ‘We paid all this money to see him and he ain’t show his face for 80 percent and we still cool with that.’ That’s some Gemini sh*t right there. That’s some like, Prince, Lauryn Hill, 3000, Pac, Biggie Smalls, Miles Davis, Kanye West, Gemini sh*t. Biggie Smalls made you think that that ‘Big Poppa’ beat was cold. It was not a cold beat. [Puffy] knew it was a good introdution.” (V-103)
Recently, former Death Row Records owner Suge Knight claimed Bad Boy Records CEO Diddy owed him a lot for helping mold the late B.I.G.’s debut.
“If you look at Biggie’s album, Biggie’s album is all West Coast. The first album. When they did the Biggie album, I helped them with that f*cking record. I let Puff use every [The Chronic] sample on [Ready to Die], the hottest record of all time, and didn’t charge them. To show some love. Like here. It ain’t sh*t. We do this sh*t like we do. I don’t care if it’s a Down South record or East Coast record. If it’s successful, it’s a West Coast vibe.” (Medium)
In addition to going platinum, B.I.G.’s debut has received critical acclaim.
The album that reinvented East Coast rap for the gangsta age, Ready to Die made the Notorious B.I.G. a star, and vaulted Sean “Puffy” Combs’ Bad Boy label into the spotlight as well. Today it’s recognized as one of the greatest hardcore rap albums ever recorded, and that’s mostly due to Biggie’s skill as a storyteller. His raps are easy to understand, but his skills are hardly lacking — he has a loose, easy flow and a talent for piling multiple rhymes on top of one another in quick succession. He’s blessed with a flair for the dramatic, and slips in and out of different contradictory characters with ease. Yet, no matter how much he heightens things for effect, it’s always easy to see elements of Biggie in his narrators and of his own experience in the details; everything is firmly rooted in reality, but plays like scenes from a movie. (All Music)
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Check out Kanye West’s interview: