BY BANDINI • SEPTEMBER 11, 2019
This week (September 13) marks the 25th-anniversary of The Notorious B.I.G.’s debut album, Ready To Die. Part of Bad Boy Records’ “B.I.G. Mack” campaign, Biggie Smalls and Craig Mack took the fledgling label to new places in September of 1994. Since its release, Biggie’s breakthrough LP has been certified six-times-platinum and is remembered as a turning point album in Rap history.
Although Biggie was murdered more than 22 years ago, those who worked on the album are celebrating this important milestone and participating in its remembrance. With support from Faith Evans, Rhino Records is re-releasing Ready To Die as a limited-edition 7″ 45RPM record box set (via Get On Down) including liner notes by author/journalist Kathy Iandoli. Meanwhile, Amazon Music produced an eight-minute documentary that includes music from the album as well as rare Biggies interviews and photographs. Producer Easy Mo Bee, mentor Mister Cee, as well as journalist-turned-biographer and Notorious screenwriter Cheo Hodari Coker and former Arista Records executive Rob Stone appear.
The short opens with Easy Mo Bee recalling the early ’90s, and driving Biggie around New York City in his Acura for a creative retreat. The two Brooklyn, New Yorkers would take extended trips through the five boroughs to build ideas. Biggie would rhyme in the passenger seat while the DJ/producer/MC who’d worked with GZA, Big Daddy Kane, and Miles Davis maneuvered the Japanese luxury car. Mister Cee, Kane’s DJ, who co-executive produced Ready To Die, recalls Biggie’s shyness in the early 1990s. While he was an imposing and recognizable figure in various sections of Brooklyn, Christopher Wallace appeared timid when he was not spitting raps.