1. Biggie rapped the way he did because of Puff Daddy.
Puff Daddy was crucial in the development of Biggie’s flow. In a recent interview with WNYC’s Soundcheck, veteran writer and old Biggie pal dream hampton explained Puffy’s influence: “He had Biggie slow down his flow, which was key…Biggie was speed rapping when Puff met him, but Puff insisted he slowed down so people West of New Jersey could understand him.”
2. DJ Premier only got $5 grand for “Unbelievable.”
DJ Premier almost wasn’t on “Ready to Die.” The album was done, but at the last minute Biggie called needing a beat. The only problem? “Ready to Die’s” budget was shot. Basically, Primo did a huge favor for Big, making “Unbelievable” while only taking $5K for the beat.
3. At the time, “One More Chance” was the highest debuting single of all time.
Big’s “One More Chance” was released on May 9th, 1995. The song debuted at number five on the Billboard Hot 100, tying Michael Jackson and his “Scream” record for the highest debuting single ever, at the time.
4. Biggie’s least favorite song on the album was “Juicy.”
“Ready to Die” came out in the era where rap music had to have a certain hardiness to it. In fact, “Machine Gun Funk” was going to be the first single off of “Ready to Die.” However, Puffy convinced Big that the album needed a song for the radio.
5. Method Man only got $2,500 for his verse on “The What.”
About “The What,” Method Man told XXL: “I got paid $2,500 for “The What.” And I had to hunt Puffy down for my $2,500. It took like two months to get it. I was like, ‘C’mon Puff, stingy bastard, give me my money!’”
6. Pete Rock claims Diddy jacked the “Juicy” beat from him.
In an interview with GrandGood.com, Pete Rock explains what happens: “Biggie and Sean came to my house one day and [‘Juicy’] was playing…Biggie thought I was making it for C.L. [Smooth]. When I told him I was just making it for myself, he immediately wanted it…Then, next thing I know, I heard it playing somewhere. I’m over it now though.” Trackmasters and Puff Daddy are credited as producers on the album.
7. Big Daddy Kane had the beat to “Warning” first.
Before he was producing half of “Ready to Die,” Easy Mo Bee was Big Daddy Kane’s go-to man. And, according to Bee, he played Kane the beat to “Warning” first, but Kane wasn’t interested. Bee told XXL: “So I did this joint off of Isaac Hayes, and I’m just feelin’ it. I’m feelin’ myself. I just know he gonna love this. This is the vibe. But he was like, ‘Play the next beat.'”
8. Speaking of “Warning:” “my nigga Fame up in Prospect” is actually rapper Lil Fame from M.O.P.
Rapper Lil Fame explained the Biggie connection to BrooklynBodega a couple of years ago: “His best friend used to live next door to me. He had moved from Bed-Stuy and was staying next door… I used to fuck with Big hard. We used to get on peddle bikes and shit, ride over there and smoke weed all day. One day his friend gave me the tape and said, ‘Yo, that nigga shouted you on a record.”’
9. Disappointing first week sales.
Although “Ready to Die” would eventually become a smash, going platinum multiple times, the album wasn’t a hit until “Big Poppa” was released in 1995. In fact, the album only sold 57,000 copies in its first week.
10. The beat for “Big Poppa” was traded by the Lost Boyz for “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz.”
Easy Mo Bee originally sold the beat to “Big Poppa” to Mr. Cheeks and The Lost Boyz. However, Puff really wanted the track, so Bee ended up trading the beat for “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz,” which originally belonged to Craig Mack and Bad Boy, to The Lost Boyz for “Big Poppa.” It’s safe to say the trade worked out well for everyone.