Monday, January 12, 2009

The B.I.G. One That Got Away

"Nobody Is Invincible" scene from "Notorious"

As the release of "Notorious," nears I've been reflecting upon that era. I had a chance to interview Biggie when he visited our home base, the Phono Booth, in 1994. Unfortunately, I was sick and couldn't will myself to come to the record store. My partner, Dre, shot some footage of the rapper as he signed some autographs. I attempted to sell that tape to Nick Broomfield for his "Biggie and Tupac," documentary, but he passed.

When Biggie came to Richmond again, (Dec. 26, 1994) I missed out on another chance to to record him. The rapper was performing at a local nightclub (The Flood Zone) and there was a guy from Bad Boy running through the audience putting his hand over video cameras and making threats. I knew I couldn't get way with filming the show as my camera was about three times the size of what most people were using. Somebody else was able to shoot the whole show, however and I've been trying to get that tape for minute. 

I do have clear memories of that night. Keith Murray opened with an energetic performance which climaxed with an unfortunate decision to stage dive. The crowd of Richmonders parted and Murray landed hard and came up swinging. He didn't miss a line of "The Most Beautifullest Thing," but he was relieved of his pager, which was an expensive communications device back then. 

Biggie came out with Puff Daddy and members of the Junior Mafia. The rotund rapper's performance was understated, which complimented Puff's dancing and continuous ad-libs. Busta Rhymes came out for the "Flava In Ya Ear" remix, which nearly tore the packed club in half. 

Later on during the show, someone from the crowd climbed onstage and made a few steps in Big Poppa's direction, and was thrown off the side of the stage by a member of Big's crew.  He might be the only one has bad memories from that show. 

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