Do Remember When Biggie & The LOX Flexed A Freestyle Over Wu-Tang’s C.R.E.A.M. (Audio)
Earlier this week, Styles P was on The Breakfast Club to promote his newly-released G-Host album. During the interview discussion, co-host Charlamagne Tha God mentioned The LOX and The Notorious B.I.G.’s important collaborative freestyle appearance on early 1997’s The Mixtape Vol. II: 60 Minutes Of Funk by Funkmaster Flex. He said the musical moment was slept-on, due greater recognition. It most certainly is.
At the time, Biggie Smalls was the reigning king of Bad Boy Records, New York City Hip-Hop, and arguably, the music industry. It had been well over two years since his acclaimed Ready To Die, and from Junior M.A.F.I.A. to 112 and Ma$e, everybody who could hang beside him on a song seemed to benefit. At a transitional time for Bad Boy Records, The LOX trio of Jadakiss, Styles P, and Sheek Louch were next up to bat, and they had the mic skills to earn the playing time.
The Bad Boy Mixtape Volume III hit in March of 1996 with a LOX and B.I.G. freestyle (commonly known as “You’ll See”) opening the cassette (embedded below). This generated a lot of buzz for the Yonkers group. Everybody wanted to know who these young MCs rhyming with Frank White were.
The Y-O troika (two-thirds of whom were first heard on a Main Source song “Set It Off” in 1994) got to share a track with Biggie yet again when Funk’ Flex dropped his second 60 Minutes of Funk volume. Together, the fearsome foursome rock Wu-Tang Clan’s classic “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)” instrumental. Over a beat not even four years old, each Bad Boy MC brings their absolute A-game.
Styles P starts the joint off and has some choice lines like: “Back to reality / My mentality is fatality / N*ggas making way over their salary / I think way out / like a 50-state layout / Thugs meeting up in one city to have a spray out…” Not one to be outdone, Brooklyn’s Finest flips an ill flow and drops: “Wherever I go, my crew, is true to swarm / Got stripes in New York like Yankee uniforms / When I was born, I know I make the world darker / The age of 15, tote gats, quick to spark ya / Like Bob Barker, if the price is right / Lay your ass down for spite, anybody aight? / Went from eatin’ no-frills cereals with food stamps / To Armani materials, coppin’ Rembrandts.”
Jadakiss and Sheek close out the “Bad Boy Freestyle” with rugged bars that matched the D-Block persona for years to come. The fact that Flex’s project dropped on the same Loud Records that housed Wu-Tang may have played a nice hand in clearing the sacred RZA production. Notably, The Abbott produced “Long Kiss Goodnight” on Biggie’s Life After Death double-disc one that released one month later.
That same season that this official freestyle released, Christopher Wallace was shot and killed. Music was forever changed on March 9, 1997. In the coming days, The LOX were tasked (along with Ma$e, and later, Black Rob) in keeping Bad Boy’s Rap legacy alive and fresh. Sheek, ‘Kiss, and P quickly made a Biggie tribute, “We’ll Always Love Big Poppa,” remembering their collaborator. Moments like this buttery “C.R.E.A.M.” freestyle show a short-lived camaraderie between a king and some would-be New York giants.
G-Host features Oswin Benjamin, Nino Man, and Dyce Payne, among others.
#BonusBeat: Bad Boy Mixtape Volume III:
The 1996 tape is mixed by DJ Stretch Armstrong and hosted by Puff Daddy)