Since The Notorious B.I.G.’s death in 1997, members of the Hip Hop community have been mourning his loss, most recently with the 15th anniversary of his passing. As such, MTV released an interview with Jay-Z from 1998 where he discusses how Big’s absence impacted his sophomore album In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, explaining that the LP was not as fun to record and that certain tracks were influenced by the incident.
“A lot of different songs were influenced by what was happening. ‘City Is Mine,’ the first verse, you could just hear it. I think two hooks on there came from songs that he had previously recorded,” he said. “The album to me — this album wasn’t fun to me like Reasonable Doubt, because it was like, it seemed really slow to me, and I didn’t set out to do that, just looking back now and listening to it now.”
Hov said that the only song that Big heard was “Streets is Watching.” His lack of input made it hard for Jay to readjust to recording, as the pair worked closely in the years prior.
“I don’t have anyone to bounce off of, you understand? We bounced off each other like, ‘Oh that was crazy; I gotta make something crazier.’ When you don’t have that, you don’t have that gauge,” he said. “It’s just hard to adjust; you have to find other ways to motivate yourself.”
Watch the interview below.