The Notorious B.I.G.’s rookie release album Ready To Die turned 25 years old, and to commemorate its place in the annals of rap history, Amazon Music has produced an eight-minute mini-documentary billed as The Birth of Biggie.
The silver anniversary vignette for the Brooklyn-born artist takes viewers through his upstart journey and marks his legacy-defining breakthrough. The doc details how producer DJ Mister Cee played a pivotal part in Biggie’s rise to fame by redoing the late rapper’s demo and submitting it to The Source editor Matty C to be included in the magazine’s “Unsigned Hype” series.
“When Puff heard me, he got me to the office,” the late rapper says in the doc as he recalls his days of building underground buzz while dealing drugs. “He was like, ‘Yo Money, this is a serious thing. You need to come up here. I’m really ready to sign you for some big money.’ Came down, let’s sign me, let’s put me to work.
“I made the record for New York, but I want the world to hear it… I want to be that one n***a that come in, present, and bow down like, ‘Thank you all,’ you know what I’m saying?”
Amazon’s short film predominantly features commentary from album producers Easy Mo Bee, Mister Cee as well as Biggie biographer Cheo Hodari Coker and Rob Stone, the former SVP of promotions for Arista/Bad Boy. It’s complemented by featuring archival audio and photos of the self-proclaimed “black Alfred Hitchcock,” who was 21 years old at the time of the album debut.
“When he started rapping, it was like he became a different person,” said Mister Cee. “He was very shy when I first met him. Whenever he talked to me he’d either have his head up in the air with his eyes closed or his head down with his eyes closed. But when he started rapping, it was like he became a different person.”
The mini-doc also touches on how Puff Daddy helped shape the album and encouraged Biggie to write more commercial songs so that it could appeal to a wider audience.
The Notorious B.I.G. x Apple Music – Ready To Die 25th Anniversary
Separately, Apple Music also released a six-minute video of commentary on Ready To Die from the likes of DJ Premier, Lil’ Cease, and again Easy Mo Bee and Stone.
“Raw. Uncut. Lyrical — he didn’t sound like other MCs,” said DJ Premier.
From movies to static images, the commemorations have come from all corners for Ready To Die’s quarter-century anniversary.
In New York, his don-like figure is portrayed in two murals sponsored by Optimo Cigars in Bed-Stuy and Williamsburg. It’s billed as “Biggie Inspires,” and a third mural will be painted later this month in Atlanta.
Optimo is name dropped in Biggie’s classic opus “Big Poppa” in Ready To Die.
“It’s beautiful,” said Voletta Wallace, Biggie’s mother, per The New York Daily News. “It gives me the shivers just to know he’s not here to see all of this. It’s sad but it’s also kind of nice, nice to know that he’s remembered in such a very very beautiful way.”
Check out flicks from the event down below.