It produced countless classic albums, songs, interviews and moments. In fact, the argument can be made it ranks as the most documented and storied era of Hip-Hop’s existence. But the East Coast/West Coast rivalry remains rap’s most visible scar. The fact Afeni Shakur and Voletta Wallace will likely go to their own graves not knowing who murdered their sons in cold blood is proof.
But it wasn’t always about the magazine covers that fueled animosity, the battle records that frequently careened over the edge of artistic into venomous or an evening like the 1995 Source Awards. Contrary to popular fanaticism, it was all love at one point.
In 1993, The Notorious B.I.G., Puffy* or Bad Boy hadn’t yet exploded into the household names all three would become by the time Ready To Die dropped a year later. The seeds were being planted, though. Twenty-one summers ago, B.I.G. and Puff stopped by Los Angeles’ Power 106 as guests of Nick V and The Baka Boys Radio Show.
The visit was a promotional one for his first single, “Party & Bullshit,” found on the Who’s The Man soundtrack. Not yet the King of New York, B.I.G. displayed his trademark charisma anyway, bouncing from question to question without the first hint of nervousness, even subtly laughing at the corny ones.** Becoming star wasn’t a possibility for Chris. It was a formality.
Eerie as it sounds, the haunting part of the video is foresight. B.I.G. was in Los Angeles making media rounds; the same course of business he’d be partaking in four years later as the final hours of his life seasoned itself in the L.A. air.
With the 20-year anniversary for RTD in September – the 13th to be exact; the same day Tupac passed, as if the bond between Pac and B.I.G. wasn’t already wild enough – videos like these serve as a reminder. A reminder of what was, what’ll never be again and what Hip-Hop bestowed on the world.
Previously: Celebrating Biggie Smalls’ Birthday & The Everlasting Magnificence Of “Can’t You See” | Life After Death: How Notorious B.I.G.’s “10 Crack Commandments” Were Portrayed In ‘The Wire’ | Puffy Says Craig Mack’s Working On His Second Album, Craig Mack Reacts Hilariously
* – Puff had already made a name for himself in industry circles as a talent director at Uptown Records helping launch the careers of Jodeci and Mary J. Blige.
** – Meanwhile, Puff had the “I beg you to jump stupid and ask the wrong damn question” look.
Correction: B.I.G. was referred to here as “not yet Biggie Smalls” when, in fact, Biggie Smalls was his first stage name.