This past September, we celebrated hip-hop’s 50th anniversary by collaborating with acclaimed music journal Wax Poetics to honor Brooklyn’s favorite son, Notorious B.I.G. To pay homage to his vibrant and enduring legacy, we invited fans to join us for two nights of events in his home borough.
On the first night we hosted a panel discussion at the brewery, featuring the inimitable Ready to Die producer Easy Mo Bee and Wax Poetics’ Editor-At-Large Andrew “Monk-One” Mason. In a fascinating conversation punctuated by stripped beats, they reflected on the early 90’s New York City milieu that bred Biggie’s musical success.
The highlight of the evening came when Easy Mo Bee presented the original floppy disk that he brought to Biggie’s studio for their first meeting. Attendees were captivated by the sight of the 29-year-old relic, but Easy added some lesser known context to its significance – some of its compositions were initially intended for Big Daddy Kane, including the now-legendary track “Warning.”
Easy went on to recount another anecdote that served as a testament to Biggie’s vision. During a studio session, he was switching between tracks on a disk, and Biggie heard potential in the transition between beats. He asked Easy to isolate the sound and integrate it in his album – it became the distinctive intro rhythm of Ready to Die’s “The What.”
Night two was held at Downtown Brooklyn venue BRIC. Rising rap prodigy MIKE and renowned Biggie-contemporaries Masta Ace and Marco Polo lit up the ballroom stage in a concert that proved homegrown hip-hop talent continues to persevere and inspire.
MIKE gave attendees a listen to his newly released collab album with Wiki and The Alchemist, and sent a lucky fan home with an unlabeled beat CD. Masta Ace followed with a high-energy performance that demonstrated his lasting position as one of the best performers alive. His set included songs spanning from his early recordings to his resurgence in the late 2000s.
Click the video below to see footage featuring interviews and performances from Easy Mo Bee, Masta Ace, Marco Polo, and MIKE.