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A few years ago I was asked to write a cover story in The Source magazine for the 10th Anniversary of Biggie’s passing. Being a jaded hip-hop production fiend I didn’t want to take the usual angle with the story, so I spoke with several producers and the DJ who discovered him, MR. Cee to get a unique take on the influence of the Notorious B.I.G on today’s hip-hop artists and fans. One producer in particular, Carlos “Six July” Broady, worked with both Biggie and one of his clones, Gorilla Black. It made for some interesting convo:

Easy Mo Bee: “Flavor In Your Ear,” “The What” “Warning” “Party & Bullshit”

As an MC, lyricist and as a writer, the thing that stood out about him was tone of voice, cadence or what we call flow. As tone of voice goes, a lot of people don’t know, anybody that entered the music life of Biggie…by the second album he had matured vocally into a really secure MC. He was so sure of himself that you heard it in his voice. In the beginning, “Party and Bullshit,” ” Gimme Da loot,” there was that loud, hard screaming voice. You can tell from the vocals that Fifty took were from that period. We heard the voice calm down a little on “Warning” but I really noticed it on “Big Poppa.” I was like yo, is this new Biggie? …

DJ Mr. Cee:

The importance of who he is and still being the greatest rapper of all time is still evident, but I think the one thing we need to start being concerned with is continuing to educate the younger generation on who the Notorious BIG is. As the years pass by there is a younger generation that is going to start not knowing who the Notorious B.I.G is. And it may sound funny that I’m saying this, but I DJ in these clubs all the time and it’s getting to the point where I can play “One More Chance” for an 18 year old audience and they almost don’t know the record…

DJ Premier, “Kick In The Door,” “Unbelievable” “Ten Crack Commandments”

Well, me personally, I don’t’ think he’s an influence at all on these new MCs cuz the skill level has gone way down. Biggie never said any dumb rhymes. His worst rhyme is better than anything to come out now. I don’t hear artists pushing the envelope. Other than Royce and maybe The Game, he had the most consistent album of 2006…

Carlos Broady “My Downfall” “Niggas Bleed” “What’s Beef” “Somebody Got to Die”

I think Biggie’s influence has survived because if you look at the style that Big had, the creativity…what I liked about Biggie is that he’d rap over any type of beat.When I hear cats like TI and hear them flip their lyrics, I can kind of hear it. I hear it in Lil Wayne as well. I’m from the south, so to see hip-hop doing what its doing makes me glad. We’ve been doing this for a long time and now we can do the things we want to do mainstream. I can definitely hear Big in Lil Wayne, the flyness. That’s just me…

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