DJ Clue Reveals How He May Have Chosen Biggie’s 2 Most Successful Singles (Audio)

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DJ Clue was a pivotal figure in bringing Hip-Hop mixtapes from street culture to the charts. The Queens, New York native began in the mid-1990s, and helped pioneer the idea of exclusives. Records by Wu-Tang Clan, Jay Z, and The Notorious B.I.G. would appear on the mixmaster’s unauthorized cassettes and CDs before radio. By the latter half of the decade, Clue would have positions at Def Jam and Roc-A-Fella Records as well as at radio, and work in tandem with labels to break hit records, new artists, and feed the streets authentic Hip-Hop that the man born Ernesto Show, Jr. believed had lasting power.

The latest guest on N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN’s Drink Champs, Clue revealed how he may have had a hand in the diamond-certified success of Biggie Smalls’s Life After Death double album. “I went to the studio a couple weeks before I got hired [by HOT 97] and listened to the Biggie album [Life After Death], ’cause [Puff Daddy] wanted me to pick two joints to put on a mixtape,” Clue says at 17:00. Earlier in the interview, he explains that both Puffy and Biggie were initially upset with Clue for leaking songs earlier in his career. By 1997, they recognized the impact the DJ had in an artist’s success. “So I listened to the whole album; Puff was like pick two songs you want, and put ’em on a mixtape. I said, ‘Aight.’ So I picked ‘Hypnotize’ and ‘Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.’ So I picked them two songs; I put ’em on a mixtape [with me talking over the songs]. Like two weeks later, HOT 97 had [‘Hypnotize’] in rotation—with my voice on it—screaming, [giving] shout outs, everything.” HOT 97 went from playing Clue’s tapes on air to seeking out the artist as a prime time on-air personality and DJ. “That was [how the] Monday Night Mixtape [Show came to be].”

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Both “Hypnotize” and “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” are Biggie’s two #1 singles from his solo catalog. Respectively, the tracks are the first two single releases from Life After Death, which dropped just days after the Brooklyn, New Yorker’s murder.

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Elsewhere in the interview, Clue recounts Fabolous’s short-lived period on Interscope Recoords, and updates on the status of his Desert Storm Records “super-engineer” Duro.