Label: Undeas/Big Beat
DJ Clark Kent: “I knew B.I.G. before he made records because of the neighborhood he was in, and I was cool with people in the neighborhood. I was very cool with Lance ‘Un’ Rivera, and Justice, Gutter, D-Roc, Daddy-O, all of them. I was cool with 50 Grand, who was his DJ, and who was Dana Dane’s DJ before I became Dana Dane’s DJ. And I was B.I.G.’s DJ too after 50 Grand. That’s crazy, right?
“I would hear B.I.G. and be like, ‘This guy’s incredible. He’s dope.’ His manager Gucci Mark [Pitts] grew up in my neighborhood, and I was practically like a big brother to him. When it was time for B.I.G. to do shows, they were like, ‘We need the best show DJ. Clark’s the best show DJ.’
“The first time he came to my house [to put his show together], we clicked instantly, because we were already cool. I was there when he was making records. I gave him one of his first shows to perform.
We come back on the tour and I’m playing beats, and Biggie's like, ‘We’re gonna use that for Junior M.A.F.I.A.’ And he makes up that hook as soon as that beat comes on in the bus, and I’m like, ‘Oh shit, this is gonna be dumbness.’
"I had a birthday party, and I was like, ‘Yo, come to my party and do a show.’ And he came and did ‘Party and Bullshit,’ and had the fight scene on stage and everything. It was at The Shelter. It was absolutely insane.
“So Ready To Die comes out, and we’re on tour, and he just decides he’s going to make Junior M.A.F.I.A. records. One day on the bus, he’s like, ‘Yo Clark, play me some beats.’ So we go home, and we come back on the tour, and I got beats.
"So I’m playing beats, and he’s like, ‘We’re gonna use that for Junior M.A.F.I.A.’ And he makes up that hook as soon as that beat comes on in the bus, and I’m like, ‘Oh shit, this is gonna be dumbness.’
“In my mind, I’m like, ‘Do that for yourself!’ But we’re on the tour, so we’re just going to do whatever is happening. And every beat that was chosen for that album was a joint effort between me and him and sometimes Lance and sometimes Jacob, which is why I got executive producer credit on it. We all had to agree that those beats were going to go on that album.
“That was the first time you heard Kim. She bodied it. She wasn’t on tour with us at that point. Lil’ Cease was on tour because he was one of the hype men.
That record was done instantly. As soon as all the verses were done we mixed it and made an acetate, and took it to the club. We went to The Tunnel and were like, ‘Yo, play the record.’ And niggas was like, ‘What do you mean, ‘Play the record’?’ And we were like, ‘Play the fucking record.’
“That record was done instantly. As soon as all the verses were done, without them even being chopped up or edited at the end properly, we mixed it and made an acetate, and took it to the club.
"We went to The Tunnel and were like, ‘Yo, play the record.’ And niggas was like, ‘What do you mean, ‘Play the record’?’ And we were like, ‘Play the fucking record.’
“It was me, and B.I.G., and Un, and Just, and we were standing next to the wall, like, ‘Wait ‘til you see what happens when this comes on.’ And Big Kap is like, ‘New Biggie and Junior M.A.F.I.A.!!!’ And Kap put the record on, and motherfuckers went crazy. [When the song started] in The Tunnel, that shit sounded like a movie.
“And we’re just standing there, not even flinching, and the chorus comes in, ‘Grab ya dick if ya love hip-hop.’ And people are like, ‘What the fuck is going on here?!? What is this?!?’ Then Lil’ Cease comes in. Then B.I.G.’s verse comes in, and once B.I.G.’s verse hits you, it’s like, ‘Oh no, this is really ill.’ And then the chick starts rapping! And niggas is like, ‘What the fuck is that?!?’
“We’re in the club, and that’s the first reaction, in The Tunnel, with nine million motherfuckers in there. They brought it it back a thousand times, and played that shit over and over and over. And we’re standing there, and I’m looking at B.I.G. like, ‘I told you son. We’re good money.’
"Un is like [imitating him in a high pitched voice], ‘Yo B.I.G.! We good B.I.G., we good. This shit crazy. Yo Clark man, me and you, we’re gonna be...’ [Laughs]. That shit was fucking hilarious. But that’s what it was.
That’s the first reaction, in The Tunnel, with nine million motherfuckers in there. They brought it it back a thousand times, and played that shit over and over and over. And we’re standing there, and I’m looking at B.I.G. like, ‘I told you son. We’re good money.’
“But that record was so crazy because it was instant. It did so well in the club, that it wasn’t like we just gave it to the mixtapes. Motherfuckers had test pressings a week later, and then everybody had it.
“This is how much I respect DJ Premier. [When Premier flipped the same sample for Jeru The Damaja’s ‘Ya Playin’ Yaself’] it wasn’t no sideways shit. He liked the sample, so he was going to use it also. What are you going to say to Preemo? ‘Yeah, you murdered it Preem.’
“[The stuff between Biggie and Jeru], that’s MC shit. That’s the Brooklyn bullshit. He liked a couple of Jeru records, but you know who B.I.G. really liked? KRS-One. He thought KRS was the shit. And one time, KRS said some sideways shit about him, and he was like, ‘What?! I think that motherfucker’s dope!’
“No one really cared about [the Jeru record]. It wasn’t beating ‘Players Anthem.’ That record was like, ‘Hold on, everyone is doing fine? Get out the way for a second. I’m going to put this record out with my crew and shit on things.’ And it really did. It moved everything out of the way, and set them up so ill.
“And the video was kind of crazy too, with the planes and all kinds of surveillance. People were like, ‘Damn, how’d they get all that already?’ We had a good budget over there. Those were the good days.”