In honor of what would be The Notorious B.I.G.'s 49th birthday, we've decided to celebrate the icon by unearthing moments that you haven't already heard countless times. While those, of course, are great, Rock The Bells strives to find new stories to add to an artist's legacy. Share all of your moments on social using the hashtags #HBDBIG and #biggiechangedmylife.
1. Biggie liked hiding a certain photographer's camera bags.
According to Ernie Paniccioli — who covered Biggie throughout his career — the MC had a wicked sense of humor that he didn't show to everyone. He especially loved making Paniccioli's job more difficult than it already was.
"Biggie would hide my camera bag," he says. "And I'd go out for a minute, come back in the room, and my bag's missing. And I said, 'Biggie, where is my bag?' He'd curse. He'd say, 'I'm a rapper, not a bag holder. Why, because I'm Black, I've got to hold your bag? Who do you think my name is, 'George?'" And he'd go through this whole thing. And he'd step to me. And then I would look him in the eye, he'd break up laughing, and he'd point under the couch.
2. Things Could Have Ended Poorly for Him in Sacramento
On January 31, 1995, Biggie sat down for an interview with a Peace, a Canadian magazine. The interviewer asked him to rate his peers on a 1-10 scale.
While 2Pac, Redman, and Craig Mack received positive feedback, Biggie didn’t mince words when it came to the Bay Area legend, E40.
“No rating! Zero! I don’t fuck with duke at all. At all," Biggie said.
Peace co-founder, Harris Rosen — whose initials appear on the byline of the article — confirmed that it was real.
But most people aren’t aware of the actual fallout back in 1995. Biggie and his manager, Larry Burns, were confronted by armed men in Sacramento because of the 0/10 rating. It was clear to Burns that no one but E40 himself could ease the tension, so he asked them to get him on the phone.
Biggie and E40 talked for five minutes before the Bay Area legend told the armed men to stand down.
“If I would have given them the greenlight, they would have done something," E40 said.
They were then instructed to guard Biggie’s hotel all night until he and Burns could catch a flight the next day.
3. The Car Accident
On "Long Kiss Goodnight," Biggie raps, "Ya still tickle me, I used to be as strong as Ripple be/'Til Lil' Cease crippled me." Many were left to ponder if there was in fact an incident where Biggie was injured?"
According to Lil Cease, he and Big had been arrested the day before the incident in question for a minor marijuana offense. When they got out, their Lexus truck wouldn't start, so they visited the dealership and were given a Chevy Lumina van as a replacement.
It was clear from the outset that the brakes on the van were horrendous. But they still took it anyways. In a short period of time, Cease lost control of the car and smashed into a highway guardrail — injuring Biggie's leg so bad that he had to be hospitalized for three months — and hurting himself in the process.
"Anything real that would happen, Big would rap about it," Cease said. "Especially if it was something real."
Ready to Die was already finished when Biggie told DJ Premier that he wanted to book a session together. After a period of inactivity in the studio, Premier assumed Biggie was done for the day. The opposite was actually true. Biggie preceded to record "Unbelievable" off the top of the dome, and suggested that Preemo use the R. Kelly vocal scratch.
5. "Find a Way"
A Tribe Called Quest's "Find a Way" was their first single from 1998's The Love Movement. However, the beat was made a year earlier by Q-Tip and Dilla with Biggie specifically in mind.
"I came through to the studio to let him listen to the track and Biggie was like, ‘Damn B... I finished the album already," Q-Tip said. "'But let me hear it anyway; maybe I can still fuck with it.’ So I played it for him and Biggie was really feeling it. He told me, ‘Damn, I wish I could throw that song on there. But we finished the album…look at all these champagne bottles around.’"
*HEADER CREDIT: Stacy Phillips, Baby D and MC JB from JJ Fad performs at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri in June 1989. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)