The 25th anniversary of The Notorious B.I.G.’s debut album ‘Ready To Die’ is being commemorated with a new documentary.
Titled The Birth of Biggie, the eight-minute short doc by Amazon Music traces the New York rapper’s breakthrough including his friendship with producer DJ Mister Cee who helped propel Biggie Smalls to rap stardom.
- Read more: The Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘Ready To Die’ at 25: 9 surprising things about the era-defining album
Amazon’s short film predominantly features commentary from album producers Cee and Easy Mo Bee as Biggie biographer Cheo Hodari Coker and Rob Stone, the former senior vice president of promotions for Arista/Bad Boy records – the latter of which is owned by Sean Combs (P. Diddy).
The film also illustrates how Combs helped shape ‘Ready To Die’ and encouraged Biggie – real name Christopher George Latore Wallace – to write more accessible songs for a wider audience.
The Birth of Biggie also has archival audio and photos of the star, who died in a drive-by shooting in 1997 aged 24.
“When he started rapping, it was like he became a different person,” Mister Cee says of B.I.G. in the documentary. “He was very shy when I first met him. Whenever he talked to me he’d either have his head up in the air with his eyes closed or his head down with his eyes closed. But when he started rapping, it was like he became a different person.”
Apple Music has also released a six-minute video of commentary on ‘Ready To Die’ with contributions from DJ Premier, Lil’ Cease as well as Easy Mo Bee and Stone.
As part of the celebrations Biggie’s figure is also being portrayed in two murals sponsored by Optimo Cigars in New York’s Bed-Stuy and Williamsburg areas.
The artwork, called ‘Biggie Inspires’, will have a third mural painted in Atlanta later this month.
Optimo is name-dropped in Biggie’s classic Ready To Die opus, ‘Big Poppa’.