On the 20th anniversary of The Notorious B.I.G.’s death, Diddy remembers his first meeting with the King of New York.
In an interview with Revolt, Puff spoke on his surprising first encounter with the young, aspiring MC, who would go on to become his artist, friend, and one of the most celebrated rappers of all time.
“The first time I met B.I.G., I brought him to a soul food restaurant called Sylvia’s, uptown in Harlem,” said Diddy. “The first thing that I remember was how big and black he was. I saw a picture, but in person, this guy is really a big guy and he’s really, really dark-skinned. This is during the time of Al B. Sure and LL Cool J. Dark skin wasn’t in. He was beyond dark-skinned. I remember him sitting down and he really didn’t have anything to say. So you have this big guy who has this in-your-face rap attitude, but was quiet.”
His demeanor was surprising, but so was his lack of appetite. “Here’s the mind-blowing thing,” added Diddy. “We at Sylvia’s. This is the best soul food in the world. You would actually just come to New York for this soul food. I asked him if he wanted to eat and he was like ‘Nah.’ He didn’t wanna eat. I realized that’s how big this moment was for him. This was really his dream. He couldn’t even eat. He just wanted for this to really happen. And it happened. It was all a dream. True story.”
Biggie released his Bad Boy Records debut Ready to Die in 1994. He was shot and killed in a still-unsolved Los Angeles shooting on March 9, 1997. Later that month, on March 25, B.I.G.’s heralded album Life After Death dropped. He’s since inspired artists of various genres for two decades, and his impact continues to grow.
Last year, Puff Daddy and the Bad Boy Family honored Biggie with back-to-back concerts at Barclays Center. This year, those shows will be the focus of Diddy’s documentary, Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: The Bad Boy Story.