Today (March 9) is the 21st anniversary of Biggie’s death. So, in memory of a true hip-hop legend, here’s something most people don’t know: Biggie’s 1997 classic “Notorious Thugs” happened because of Fat Joe. Before “spit yo’ game, talk yo’ s**t/ Grab yo’ gat, call yo’ click” was heard in “Spit Yo’ Game” with Twista and Bone Thugs, the lines were in “Notorious Thugs.”
Joe talked about the record and how it came to fruition during Coca Vision, his podcast brought to listeners by Tidal. According to Joey Crack, he linked Bone Thugs and the “Juicy” rapper by Big’s request.
As told by Fat Joe:
“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?”
Ranked by Billboard (and most hip-hop lovers) as one of the 10 greatest rappers of all time, Biggie was really flowin’ on “Notorious Thugs.” Within the six-minute-track, he spit about “tryin’ to win, tryin’ not to sin” and a “so-called beef with you know who.”
Stevie J, known as Bad Bad Hitman at the time, produced the record, which is also a little-known fact. Apart of Life After Death — Biggie’s last studio recorded album — it was released posthumously about two weeks after the rapper’s death.
During an interview with Krayzie Bone in 2017, the hosts of Ebro in the Morning pointed out that “coastal hip-hop snobs” held on to a “stigma” with the Cleveland group until “Notorious Thugs.” He said that the east coast hip-hop lovers were too “stubborn” to “accept something that was clearly so cool and influential.”