The Notorious B.I.G. is one of the most legendary rappers ever to grace the microphone. However, he may not have reached that status if he never worked with Brooklyn DJ 50 Grand, who helped create the late rapper’s first-ever demo tape. Unfortunately, friends of Biggie are mourning once again as DJ 50 Grand passed away over the weekend. He was 55 years old.
Biggie’s cousin Lil Cease revealed the news on his Instagram page with a post remembering the man that played a pivotal role in Hip Hop history. According to reports, the cause of 50 Grand’s death hasn’t been made public.
“This One Hurt Man,” Lil Cease captioned his post. “We Was Literally Was Just Celebrating Wit You For Big Smh!! Wouldn’t Be No Big If It Wasn’t For You!! We Love You 50 Grand & Your Gonna Be Missed!! @kevin50grangriffin #RipDj50Grand #Big1stDJ.”
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50 Grand produced the iconic 1991 Biggie Smalls demo tape that eventually landed in the hands of a young Uptown Records executive named Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. 50 Grand spoke on his relationship with Big during an interview with The Fader in 2011.
“I started working with Big in ’91,” 50 said. “I was 21; he was 15. I met him through a friend of mine. They hustled together on [the intersection of] Bedford and Quincy. People in the neighborhood knew him as the hottest rapper around. Everybody that stepped in his path, he ate ’em up.”
He added, “He earned that stripe from that one battle he had on Bedford and Quincy. I was the one that was playing the music.” In a recent conversation, he expounded, “I took [Biggie] straight to the basement. We smoked. We drank,” Griffin told Tinsley. “And ’bout an hour later we came out with that demo.”
That demo tape contained four songs, “Microphone Murderer,” “Guaranteed Raw,” “Live In Action” and “Love No Ho.” “Microphone Murderer” would be the song that Diddy heard and had him waste no time in signing Biggie to a recording deal.
HipHopDX extends our condolences to DJ 50 Grand’s family and friends.