Diddy recently took part in a Twitter Spaces for what would have been Biggie’s 50th birthday. During the discussion, which also featured JAY-Z and Fat Joe, Puff Daddy revealed he and The Notorious B.I.G. tried ecstasy for the first time while shooting the music video for “Hypnotize.”
“Ah man, the video was fun,” Diddy reflected. “That was like the first time we both tried ecstasy. I mean, it was an experience, you know what I’m saying? Ayo, Biggie’s 50. Check this out, we have nothing to hide. That was a long time ago… it was the first time. It was just a little nibble, it was all right. It was a little nibble. But we was in extra high, high spirits. Yeah, this breaking news and shit. Fuck it. On his 50th birthday, I wanna let y’all know that.”
“Hypnotize” was released in March 1997 and appeared on Biggie’s final album, Life After Death. The song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 1998 Grammy Awards.
Paul Hunter was the director behind the “Hypnotize” video, who has a résumé that boasts the likes of Michael Jackson, Eminem, Aaliyah, Dr. Dre, Lauryn Hill, JAY-Z and A Tribe Called Quest. During an interview with Spin in 2017, Hunter revealed Biggie’s video had just a $900,000 budget, with Michael Bay among the names in talks to direct it.
“There was a lot of talk because Biggie was really hot and he had [Life After Death] coming out — there was a lot of people who wanted to direct it,” he explained. “I remember hearing names like Michael Bay and there were a lot of people that they were talking to. I just was relentless on wanting to work with him. I loved the track.
“I don’t know if [Bay] was actually gonna go for it or what the situation was. I just remember Diddy going, ‘Man, you better be on top of your game, ‘cause I’ve got all kinds of people wanting to shoot this video. There’s Michael Bay… blah, blah, blah, blah.'”
Hunter also revealed Biggie never watched the final version of “Hypnotize,” but he liked what he saw during the editing stages.
“Biggie never got a chance to see it in completion,” he said. “I showed him about a minute and a half in the early rounds and he was really excited. He smiled like a kid. This big, warm smile. He never got to see the final product. I never thought that people would still be talking about it today. During that time, it felt like I was just pushing, breaking the rules.”
He added, “We weren’t playing by anybody’s rules and we were trying to elevate the genre and bring more light to it. I’m glad you still see that positivity — that energy to push and create, it’s still happening. It makes me feel lucky, I’m happy to be a part of that.”
Revisit the iconic video below.