Given how heavily the average emcee relies on breath control, you would assume more Rap artists comprise the nearly 235 million people that suffer from asthma. But the topic rarely comes up. Pharoahe Monch is one noted emcee who suffers from asthma, and he says it was through Buckwild that he learned a respected peer suffered from the same affliction.
“I found out Biggie had asthma too,” Pharoahe Monch recalled, during an interview for Fader’s annual Icons issue. “Buck told me this story of when they were recording and he needed to do a part over. They were pressing the button like, ‘Okay Big, we’re gonna go back and start 14 bars. Big. Big, can you hear me?’ Then they all go in the studio and Big is laid out on the floor saying, ‘Where’s my inhaler?’”
It turns out that both emcees had a mutual respect for one another. Much like Pharaohe was unaware of Biggie’s battle with asthma, B.I.G. couldn’t believe Monch was so technically precise while still dealing with the affliction. Monch added that he and B.I.G. randomly ran into each other in Brooklyn, and both emcees were able to express their mutual respect for each other’s mastery of the craft.
Pharaohe Monch’s interview is part of Fader’s comprehensive look back at Biggie for their annual Icons issue. In addition to Monch, Diddy and others also provide some insights. An in-depth look at the Icons issue, including new photos of prominent places in Big’s life is available at the official Fader website.