Memphis Bleek Says "Biggie Was A Legend Before Puff Even Got A Hold Of Him"

Memphis Bleek says "Biggie was the illest before he made a record, that's what people don't know."

In an interview with VladTV, Memphis Bleek described being present for an initial recording session of Jay Z and The Notorious B.I.G.’s Brooklyn’s Finest” as well as the late emcee’s pre-fame impact within the borough.

“I think it was ‘Brooklyn’s Finest,’ I was there when they did the first version of it,” Bleek said of the song which appeared on Jay’s 1996 debut. “But then when they changed it up to how you heard it and how the world know it, I wasn’t there.”

“They was getting in,” he said. “The whole purpose of doing the song with another emcee that’s at that time hotter than you are, the whole purpose of doing the record is to show the world that you can if not tapdance with him or if not spar better than him. You wanna showcase your best, so of course Jay was going in for the kill. Then B.I.G. came in, B.I.G. spit some shit that was just unbelievable and then everybody just like, ‘You know, hold on, we just gonna take ya’ll verses and make’em line for line.’”

Speaking on his admiration for B.I.G.’s lyricism more generally, Bleek went onto talk about the rapper’s local legend status. “I always say, hands down, wordplay, Biggie is the truth when it comes to wordplay, like rhyming words,” he said. “If you listen to any rapper, rappers always rhyme two words: ‘cat,’ ‘hat.’ Biggie rhymed the whole sentence, every word in the sentence rhymed with every word of the next sentence. I don’t even know how he do it to this day.

“He was the illest. And Biggie was the illest before he made a record, that’s what people don’t know,” Bleek said. “Being from Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, Biggie was a legend before Puff even got a hold of him. He was just a legend in the hood, when it came down to demo tapes, house parties, Rap battles, that boy name just rang bells through the whole Bed Stuy. Everybody knew who Biggie was, back from his highschool days to before Bad Boy, trust me he had a CD circulating through the projects that back then you would say was bigger than the damn [DJ] Clue tape.”

Asked if the “Brooklyn’s Finest” emcees knew each other prior to the song’s recording, Memphis Bleek explained. “Yeah. We from Brooklyn, we from the same area,” he said. “I always say one thing about the streets. If you a killa and he a killa and ya’ll don’t know each other, somebody lying about being a killa. And if you get money and he get money and you don’t know each other, somebody lying about getting money. Because when you’re in them circles, it ain’t but so big. It’s like the one percent, it ain’t called ten percent, why? Because only one percent of niggas eating and every person in that one percent circle, I bet you they all know each other so of course.”

On the subject of any possible comparisons between the two, Bleek put aside the idea, citing the Ready To Die rapper’s shorter discography. “Biggie was the truth,” he said, “and I don’t even like people that compare Jay to Biggie know ‘cause you can’t do that. I’m bias number one, Jay is my brother. But then Biggie didn’t have the playing field that Jay had to compare, he only got two albums. So you can’t compare two albums to fifteen.”


  • Anonymous

    "Biggie's who shot ya is better then Jay's whole catalogue" I'd rather listen to D'evils, Dead Presidents, or Pop 4 Roc than Who Shot Ya.

  • Biggie Was A Catholic Nikka From Clinton Hill

    ok let's look at Biggie's "amazing, marvelous and spetacular double and tripple rhymeschemes": "You look so good, I'd suck on your daddy's dick" "I'd rather fuck RuPaul than those ugly ass Xscape bitches" "Male groupies get shook when I come from the rear" "I fuckin' kidnap kids. Fuck 'em in the ass, throw 'em over the bridge"

    • Pac Was A Ballerina

      that ain't shit, Pac once said "Picture me payin' for pussy when the dick's for free / Hey now! Where my niggaz at?"

  • Anonymous

    "nigga talking like he knew biggie before puff signed him. Nah nigga hov met biggy for the first time in 95." "Yeah I bet you know better than the dude that was actually there" Who you talkin of, Bleek? Cause I can assure you this nigga didn't hang around Hov until 96.

  • P.I.G.

    Outside of the Northeast region of the country, Piggie Smalls gets no respect from the black fans. Fuck that fake fat slob.

    • Picasso Micheaux

      Sometimes people don't realize how blind they are until they get their vision checked. Until then, their mind adjusts their perception of the world down to the level of their deficiency...

  • RGeezy

    Biggie's 2 albums are better then Jays whole catalog.

    • Black D

      2 Pac's "Dear Mama", "Brenda's Got A Baby" and "Keep Your Head Up" are better than Christopher Wallace's and Shawn Carter's careers, if you want to get technical.

    • Biggie wasn't all that

      Biggie was just another fake gangster drug lord wanna be rapper, who rapped out trivial things and tricked off his money to women.

    • Anonymous

      excuse me? Biggie's who shot ya is better then Jay's whole catalogue

  • Anonymous

    Understand the biz. Labels demand commercial songs, especially from rappers. A couple commercial songs don't effect the rest of the album or an MC's work in general. That is why there is a skip button. If you like grimy, listen to it. If you like the commercial, then support that. However, dont get it twisted that its all on the MC. Nah, the labels are heavily influencing the albums. They did back then, and do now more than ever.

  • Anonymous

    smh these young hiphop fans dont know nothing about hiphop. They to busy wearing skinny jeans, lipgloss, eyeshadow and listening to: Lil' faggot, Lil Wack, Young Faggot, Lil Garbage,

    • Anonymous


    • Verbal Tim

      I'm in my 30s, grew up on 90s hiphop like Ice-T, Jeru, Black Moon, Flatlinerz, and now I'm wearing skinny jeans and listening to "Lil Wack, Young Faggot and Lil Garbage". Hiphop has changed and I'm glad it has.

  • Mr Obvious

    I don't care what anybody say, Biggie is waaaay better than Lil Kim, even in rhyme schemes and metaphors.

  • ayo

    Jordan was ahead of his time. Lebron's right on time.

    • Anonymous

      Jordan had the best coach probably ever, and probably the best supporting player ever. Lebron is doing everything without much help.

  • GRiiP

    Biggie Smalls was not even a top 10 rapper in NYC and never will be. He is a product of Puff Daddy's amazing marketing power by fooling New York City residents, that if someone is dissing Big they dissing the whole city. Kinda like white people got behind Taylor Swift after the Kanye incident. It symbolizes "white power" when Taylor makes money.

    • Anonymous

      White suburban child, just hush already, HUSH. It's clear to see you ain't from NYC and you wasn't around here in the 90's. Now get back to your Linkin Park CD

    • Anonymous

      GRiiP, I feel what you saying 100%. All these fake ass NYC props make me sick.

    • Come On

      Dude what the fuck are you talking about?. Just please be quiet your embarrassing

    • Anonymous

      go headbutt a knife

    • Anonymous

      Okay Biggie wasnt a top 10 rapper? Then why did the fans named him KING OF NEW YORK in the 90's BEFORE HIS DEATH! So now go back to listen to your Chief Keef album

    • J

      That's the dumbest sh*t I've ever heard. If what you say is true..Why couldn't puff duplicate that same energy & momentum w/ any of the other myriad of artists he's worked w/. Stop it.

  • real talk right here

    I hate it when people say shit like "if big was alive then lil wayne would be working at mcdonalds.. blah blah blah". Well, the fact is big and puff daddy were the ones who began the downfall of hip hop, real talk. They were the ones who made rnb crossover hits for the first time which led to the slow cancer building in hip hop in the late 90's and early 2000's. Dont get me wrong I like both big very much it's just that they forefronted hip hops next level skyrocket into the mainstream, which led to artists making shit music for money. Believe me, If biggie was alive he would be rhyming with drake, 2chainz and probably even justin beiber. Big was motivated by $$$$$$ sorry to say it. He would have sold out in a second.

    • Anonymous

      u srs real talk jus single handedly took out these fools

    • Anonymous

      lol @ u nikkas destroying "real talk right here" smh let the nikka breathe yo

    • real talk right here

      lol good to actually have a meaningful discussion with someone on this site for once. Each to their own opinion i guess.

    • Anonymous

      @ real talk right here okay thats clear.

    • real talk right here

      are you talking to me blaklex? when the hell did i say "I hate it when people make references about current rappers to deceased artists"????? i never said that? And anonymous i know it's an assumption thats why i said IMO, it's also an assumption that he would have retired... we've seen too $hort and jay z retire and then return shortly after havent we? and as i said i know the lyrics are on point and i like all of those songs it's the r&b/pop production that influenced all the bad artists. so as i said it's more puffy's fault than biggies, but biggie still allowed puffy to influence him and his albums sound to a great affect. I respect biggie as a groundbreaking artist and a rapper it's just that he influenced the mainstream sound that we heard for many years later. therefore (and this is the point i was trying to make in the very first place) it's ridiculous to say that hip hop would be any different if biggie was still alive.

    • Anonymous

      @ real talk right here: Biggie said it himself that he would retire in a interview. How you know that big would have been a sell out now and do songs with 2chainz, lil wayne etc.? thats an assumption my friend. Then rappers like Heavy D, Snoop, MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, Candyman, LL already had rap/pop/rnb songs before Biggie. Besides that songs like Big poppa, juicy, one more chance rmx, hypnotize, mo money arent sellout songs because the flow, lyrics and skillz were on POINT. Although i admit that mo money is a little bit cheesy and more a diddy song.

    • blaklex

      You just contradicted yourself. You say you hate it when people make references about current rappers to deceased artists, but then you go on to say that if Big was still alive he would be making music with whomever. You're doing the exact thing you say you hate!

    • real talk right here

      firstly i was in harlem in the 80's and 90's, secondly did a love of hip hop stop all those others 90's rappers like jay z, ll cool j, fat joe ect from selling out? NO. thirdly i'm not just blaming biggie for the downfall of hip hop it is mainly puff daddys fault, but sadly he used artists like biggie to do that. forthly hip hop did get worse after bigs death but it wasnt because of his death that this happened, it would have happened anyway and he would have done nothing to stop it IMO. and how the fuck do you know when biggie would have retired? he loved money so much he would have kept making it till he couldnt anymore. and finally big pun and big l died like 3-4 years after biggie, they were some of the last footsoldiers for real hip hop but the game had already began to sour before their deaths

    • Anonymous

      Biggie wasnt the beginning of the downfall. You cant blame Biggie because lil wayne is wack or other rappers trying copy Biggie's style. It is a general fact that hiphop became worse after the deaths of big, pac, big pun and big l For the dumb motherfucker who said Biggie lied i have news: biggie said my mother has cancer in her breasts so basically you say Biggie was a lyer? Well it is a fact that most rappers do lye there a only a few who tell the truth For the real talk dude Biggie loved hiphop and listen to all styles in hiphop. You dont know nothing. Were you there in the 80's or 90's NO! If you love Biggie so much then you would know that Biggie would have retired after BORN AGAIN! (if he had lived) He didnt wanted to be some 45 year old dumbass rapping about guns and bitches

    • real talk right here

      I didnt say he wasnt lyrical you fucking retard I said he was the very beggining of the downfall soley because he and puff incorporated pop and r n b into his songs. hey 1st anonymous did I say he was wack? no i said "I LIKE HIM VERY MUCH" read my comment. I was simply saying he helped influence and create the commercialized and poppy form of hip hop that is around today, so I think he would have done nothing to stop hip hop from going bad.

    • Asa

      If you don't know what you're talking about, why discuss? If you new where big lived (Bed Stuy)/ St.James & Fulton and how NYC was 20 to 30 yrs ago, you'd think twice. It was isht, scary times, but ya'll don't hear me though.

    • Anonymous

      Biggie, brought in that era of lying on albums about being a pimp, drug lord and gangster. He even lied about being poor, when his mom had a master's degree.

    • Anonymous

      Biggie'scommercial songs still had the lyrics you dumbass instead of the commercial songs by Wayn and 2Chainz. So basically you says: hypotize or juicy are wack because they are commercial?

  • Verbal Tim

    Legend of what? McDonald's?

    • b

      verbal tim is 100% right "and if you dont know now you know niqqa"

    • ^

      You have got to be joking.

    • Verbal Tim

      LOL Biggie was a mainstream built up money bag for Puff. Nothing progressive, nothing artistic, just medicore mainstream raps. For me the cream of 90s rappers are still The Flatlinerz, Blood of Abraham, Blahzay, Kool Keith, Ice-T and Artifacts. No commercial shit. Stop dickriding and take a look around.

    • Asa

      You gotta compare the times then, to the times back then. Not today to yesterday. BIG was nice hands down, storytelling, originality, flow...taught alotta of people how to rhyme and put things together. You can't compare Lebron to Jordan, it's a different time. Apples to Oranges, the game is a different game altogether.

    • Anonymous

      Rapping eggs, cheese and welch's grape. Ole fat black sloppy azz nigga lol.

  • james

    bleek GIVE ME ONE EXAMPLE of biggie rhyming a whole sentence i've heard eminem do it.. i've even done it.. but biggie? stop acting like biggie and jay are so great.. THEYRE NOT.. biggie said he wanted to suck a man's dick and even said some shit like when he died he wanted to go to hell which is fucking retarded and his bars were not even close to the bars of big pun or big l and jay even ADMITTED ON WAX that he dumbed his lyrics down and people still act like he is spitting some deep lyrical subliminal amazing stuff.. HES NOT.. all he does is say the same things over and over like f*cking PIKACHU

  • Johnny

    "Biggie Was A Legend Before Puff Even Got A Hold Of Him" No shit. Almost all the best songs on Ready to Die were the ones that Combs didn't have any production credits on. Seems like it would have been a grimy, atmospheric concept album before Puffy came in and brought all the pop influence.

  • Maurice

    Some of yall might not know this but I was friends with Memphis Bleek in the 90's. He told me in secrecy that Biggie was the gay rapper. Then I heard Biggie say, "You look so good I'll suck ur daddy's dick." Threw out all his CD's after that man

  • jnr

    So basically Bleek is saying JAY did his verse for brooklyn's finest but got shut down with BIG's verse? Hahahaha

    • jnr

      Stanly??? Wow, sorry if i hurt your feelings, i didn't mean to, my bad. Will be more careful with what i say next time hermaphrodite,once again i apologise. So a hiphop fan can't just say anything without being called a stan??? Eeerrmmm ok!

    • Anonymous

      Stfu you stanly

  • Anonymous

    Didn't know Memphis Bleek was still relevant....

  • thetruthhurts

    What's this fool on about? Biggie never got tricky with the syllables. Bleek makin it sound like biggie had the best rhyme schemes ever, load of bs. Biggie had and still has one of the illest flows ever, but he wasn't that great with complex rhyme schemes. Bleek be drinkin/sniffin too much, talkin sheeeet. Make some music n stop reminiscing/fabricating stories bleek!

  • poetic assasin Big Jay and Busta Rhymes all went to the same highschool, so I think they knew of each other way before 1995

  • Anonymous

    nigga talking like he knew biggie before puff signed him. Nah nigga hov met biggy for the first time in 95.

  • Anonymous

    biggie better. end of story.

  • lmho

    the fact that jayz dick rides biggies lines EVERY album, damn near every song and says his name 10 times in an album already shows you whos better..its not even close

  • pewpew

    scratched my ass hole through my shorts only to find my underwear scorched in shit....smells good too.

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