“It was all a dream/I used to read Word Up! magazine,” famously rapped the Notorious B.I.G. on his 1994 breakout hit “Juicy.” And three years later, he was living the dream before it all came to a tragic end.
Just two weeks before the March 1997 release of “Life After Death” — his second and final studio album — the rapper was making plans to hypnotize London in support of the ambitious double LP. And while the bottles were popping at Vibe magazine’s post-Soul Train Awards party in Los Angeles, he was trying to convince DJ Clark Kent to be his spinning sidekick across the pond.
“He was like, ‘Yo, you gotta go on the road with me. We gonna go to London for this new album,’ ” Kent — who at the time was senior vice president of A&R at Motown Records — told New york’s The Post. “And I was like, ‘Man, you know I got a job.’ But he was like, ‘I’m going to London and you’re coming with me.’ ”
Sadly, the two never made that trip: After leaving the party at the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Notorious B.I.G., a k a Biggie Smalls, was killed at the age of 24 in a drive-by shooting while sitting in his GMC Suburban. Twenty-five years after his murder on March 9, 1997, the case remains an unsolved mystery.
“It becomes more mythic that it’s not solved, that we don’t know [who murdered him],” said Alan Light, who was editor-in-chief of Vibe at the time.
And Kent still can’t shake the feeling that Biggie should have never gone to that party — six months after the murder of Tupac Shakur had escalated the East Coast-West Coast rap rivalry.
“We were together earlier at the hotel talking about things,” said Kent. “I didn’t know he was gonna come to the party. And then I go to the party, and he’s there. I’m like, ‘What the f – – k?’ Because in my mind, I was like, ‘Dog, stay out the way.’ I wanted him to stay out the way because, to me, the tension was there . . . I just didn’t even necessarily feel like he should have been in LA.”
But after making just two studio albums in his career — with only one, his classic 1994 debut “Ready To Die,” released in his lifetime — the legacy of the Notorious B.I.G. still lives large a quarter-century later. In fact, he became only the second solo rapper inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2020. And anytime “Juicy,” “Hypnotize,” “One More Chance” or “Mo Money Mo Problems” comes on, Big Poppa still rocks the party. Today inside the DJKam Show, The Heavy Hitter DJKam dedicates one hour of his to The Notorious B.I.G. on FreeAgentRadio.com simulcast on Broadcast HipHop Network, and Power 102
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