The late Biggie Smalls, also known as The Notorious BIG, became one of the biggest names in East Coast hip hop through the early 1990s before his tragic murder in 1997. His catalogue is stacked with all-time genre classics, and beyond his lyrical and rapping talents, he had a long list of sample sources, DJs and producers to thank.
Perhaps his three most well-known classics are ‘Hypnotze’, which took its sample from Herb Alpert’s ‘Rise’, ‘Juicy’, which sampled Mtume’s ‘Juicy Fruit (Fruity Instrumental Mix)’ and ‘Big Poppa’, which sampled The Isley Brothers’s ‘Between the Sheets’. According to one of Diddy’s producers, ‘Big Poppa’ almost wasn’t his song.
During the premiere of her Iconic Records podcast series, Angie Martinez spoke to Nashiem Myrik, a member of Diddy’s Bad Boy production team, The Hitmen. The pair were discussing tracks from Biggie’s debut album, Ready To Die, when Myrik revealed that Biggie wasn’t initially interested in the proposed tracks.
“Big didn’t want to do certain songs, like ‘Big Poppa’. He didn’t like that record. ‘Juicy’? He didn’t like that record [either],” he said. “He [just] didn’t want to do them records, but Puff knew he needed singles, and those were them.”
Myrik created ‘Big Poppa’ with the late Chucky Thompson, another Hitmen member. He continued to explain that Diddy suggested giving the backing track to the Lost Boyz because Biggie “refused to do it.”
After handing The Lost Boyz the track, he got it back for Biggie by trading it for the beat that was ultimately used in the collective’s ‘Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz’ from the Legal Drug Money album.