8. Craig Mack f/ The Notorious B.I.G., Rampage, LL Cool J & Busta Rhymes "Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)" (1996)
Producer: Sean "Puffy" Combs, Chucky Thompson Album: N/A Label: Bad Boy
In the Fall of '94, Puff's BIG-MACK cross-promotion campaign for Bad Boy's two flagship artists, Craig Mack and The Notorious B.I.G., was hauling ass. Both artists' debut albums were released within a week of each other, each with bubbling first singles. But what Biggie did to the “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)” was the nail in the coffin for Craig Mack's Bad Boy career. This would be Big and Craig's first and last collaboration on wax.
Letting Biggie lead off the track could be classified as one of the greatest hip-hop fails of all time. By the time Craig rapped on verse two, listeners were still focused on what Big said. Seventeen years later many rap fans have no clue it's actually a Craig Mack song.
Big's booming voice and unapologetic tough talk eclipsed Mack's star, and proved he was the marquee act on Bad Boy. On “Flava,” Big sounded menacing and precise with every word and syllable, leaving timid MCs shaking in their boots.
In fact, due to Big's slight speech impediment, it sounded like he was unexplainably ethering The Roots (“Like the Roots, disappear, vamoose you're wack to me.”)—which was something Biggie denied and addressed in various interviews (he was actually saying “the Gooch.”). Biggie's entire verse was chock full of quotables, but none more potent than the still relevant: “Don't be mad, UPS is hiring.”