Daddy-O Releases Biggie’s Original Demos For Junior M.A.F.IA. For The First Time Ever (Audio)
When The Notorious B.I.G. (a/k/a Christopher Wallace) was murdered on March 9, 1997, he did not leave much music behind, relatively speaking. Later that month (March 25), Bad Boy Records would release Life After Death, a diamond-certified double-album containing 24 tracks from the Brooklyn, New York MC. To that point, in less than three years, Big had released his acclaimed 1994 debut Ready To Die, and a 1995 group album by Junior M.A.F.I.A. After the massive success of his sophomore LP, in 1999, Bad Boy would follow with Born Again—an album of remixed, unreleased tracks, and re-purposed lesser-known verses. In 2005, Bad Boy seemingly closed the book on Biggie Smalls albums with the straightforward Duets: The Final Chapter LP. While both of those works were commercial blockbusters, B.I.G.’s archives were minuscule compared to that of J Dilla, Tupac Shakur, Mac Dre, or Pimp C.
Approaching 20 years since his death, former wife Faith Evans had begun promoting a duets album with Biggie of her own. However, that family-themed moment (which is now confirmed to feature Lil’ Kim as well) is not the only unheard Notorious B.I.G. material to hit the ethos. Chopped Herring Records is not a household name. However, the imprint that helped introduce the world to Action Bronson (via Dr. Lecter) and Meyhem Lauren has built its following through limited edition vinyl pressings—largely of shelved releases and demo tapes. The label, launched by Bob Lipitch (a/k/a Pro Celebrity Golf) has released sought-out archival works by Prince Paul’s Horror City, and Keith Murray’s demo (produced by J.V.C. Force, not Erick Sermon). Today (August 8) Chopped Herring has released what is known as Biggie + Unknown Producer EP. Within three minutes (following two botched attempts last week that allegedly crashed the servers), the 500 vinyl copies sold out.
Mike Pizzo at Medium’s Cuepoint found out more than what is presently available online surrounding this already-coveted EP. For starters, the producer is not unknown at all—it’s Daddy-O. The longtime front-man from Stetsasonic, a fellow Brooklyn, New York native was instrumental in discovering Lil’ Kim. As Biggie and Kim took their chemistry to Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s eventual 1995 album Conspiracy, Daddy-O produced multiple songs. Some of those were never released—until now.
The article, which interviews Lipitch, chronicles the two songs on the extended play vinyl. “As far as I am concerned, these two tracks are better than anything on [Conspiracy], by far. They also happen to be the origin of a couple of well known Biggie verses, namely the ‘Wickedest Freestyle,’ which was actually written as a demo track for the Junior M.A.F.I.A. album over a Daddy-O beat. You can hear in the melody of the lyrics that that is where that verse comes from,” said Lipitch. He is referring to the “The Wickedest (Freestyle)” on Mister Cee’s acclaimed Best Of Biggie mixtape.
After working with Liptich previously, Daddy-O, the Mary J. Blige producer and onetime MCA Records executive, brought the tapes to him. “I had just done a record with Daddy-O with some of the Stetsasonic unreleased stuff from 1991–94 and we had a little working relationship. He asked if I would be interested in this and sent me some snippets. I think these are two of the best tracks that Biggie’s been on. I would say that because I’m selling it at the moment, but that’s what it is. On the other side of the record is a proposed track from Freestyle Fellowship’s Innercity Griots album, also produced by Daddy-O that didn’t make the cut for one reason or another.”
Pizzo, who was able to preview the tracks, confirms the other to be strongly similar to his “Player’s Anthem” verse, one of the highlights from Conspiracy. However, while Clark Kent laced that moment to be a so-called “Tunnel Banger,” this Daddy-O version places Biggie with reported “’90s boom-bap,” likely more in line with Biggie’s work with Easy Mo Bee, DJ Premier, and Pete Rock.
“I don’t have an original verse that nobody has heard before, but I was just stunned that this thing had fallen into my lap anyway,” said the Chopped Herring founder.
Earlier this year, Daddy-O spoke to Sway In The Morning about his days with Biggie Smalls and Lil’ Kim. “We’re the street-story side of [The Notorious B.I.G.] and Junior M.A.F.I.A. We lived on the block. We lived right around the corner. We own this neighborhood; he’s the guy that raps. We know [Lance “Un” Rivera], and Un comes to me and says, ‘Yo, man we can make a group […] All them dudes that hang around Big,’ I’m like, ‘[Lil’] Cease and them?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, let’s make a group outta them lil’ niggas, man. But I know one person that can rap, the girl Kim from the Bronx that Big be with, she can rhyme.‘” In that March interview, the Stet’ front-man asserts that Kim is not originally from Brooklyn. He also chronicled an early run-in with her and Foxy Brown, who was mentored by Smoothe Da Hustler and Trigger Tha Gambler.
While the Biggie + Unknown Producer EP appears to be officially sold out, Chopped Herring (when its site relaunches) has plenty of previous releases available.
#BonusBeat: A label-sanctioned mix of some of Chopped Herring’s releases, including appearances by Masta Ace, Meyhem Lauren, and Timeless Truth:
Chopped Herring has additional information.