As we think back on the legacy of The Notorious B.I.G., one of the most powerful extensions of his legacy points to his own idea of inclusion. Very few artists can boast having spit on the same track as Brooklyn’s finest. And one of the first- and at the time seemingly most obscure collabs- was with Bone Thugz-N-Harmony!
Thanks to Fat Joe and his new Coca Vision podcast on Tidal, fans now know that this classic might not have happened if it were not for the influence of Joey Crack.
According to Joe, Biggie reached out and asked him to get to connect him with the Cleveland group.
“I get a call from Biggie… Biggie was my brother rest in peace… And Biggie was like Joe I need Bone Thug on a song. …And because I know y’all, you were hesitant at first. You were like ‘We know ‘Pac’. We work with ‘Pac’ and I went in on y’all. I was like ‘No.. this ain’t now beef. This ain’t no nothing,’ Y’all need to get with Big. Y’all did it and ain’t y’all happy y’all did?”
Well, fans were happy. This song allowed Big to really flex and show how amazing he truly was. By adapting to the Bone style, he showed that his unique sound could translate well even in the quick staccato flow of BTNH.
Produced by then Bad Boy Hitman and now reality star, Stevie J, the song “Notorious Thugs” on the Life After Death album had a hidden gem. In it, Biggie maintained that his beef with “You Know Who” was really not what everyone pumped it up to be. Which was cool because at the time Bone was known to be close to ‘Pac (who the statement was made about) and had performed on a song earlier.
Steve Lobel, Bones’ longtime manager and visionary told HipHopDX in 2015:
“That song was done in not even an hour and half by Bone… They went in there and laid there verses and left. I stayed thinking Big was gonna lay his verse and I’m like sitting there wanting to be the report card. He didn’t do his verse. I left the Record Plant and Big passed. The song came out and I was like, ‘Wooahh Big killed it.’ I ran into Puff and he said, ‘It took Big a while to do that. He mastered that and really studied it.’ He just helped Bone on the East Coast…the East Coast was really fickle…. Bone and Biggie killed it and that was one of the biggest songs in Hip Hop, I feel.”
Another gem that was dropped in the Coca Vision interview is that Bone Thugz-N-Harmony was that they were the only act in history to have songs with Biggie, Tupac, Eazy E and Big Pun.
Check out the entire interview.