Although [artist id="13432"]Biggie[/artist] once spit the lyrics “Poppa and Puff, close like Starsky and Hutch,” the reality is, the Bad Boy duo weren’t immediately attached at the hip. Big was too closed in by his Brooklyn inner circle for that to happen.
And by the time Big’s sophomore album was shaping up, on which “Hypnotize” served as the lead single, the late rapper was already a superstar, money was pouring in, and he and [artist id="1244169"]Diddy[/artist] happily smiled away together on magazine covers.
The true foundation of Big and Diddy’s relationship, however, was cemented during — what else? — a moment of adversity. Diddy struggled to convince a young B.I.G. that a rap career was more lucrative than a career dealing drugs. But the rising executive wasn’t able to back up his talk with cash. So when Andre Harrell canned Diddy from Uptown Records for becoming too big for his baggy jeans, Big had a major decision to make: the block or the vocal booth.
In the upcoming film [movie id="360770"]“Notorious,”[/movie] due in theaters January 16, the scene plays out when Diddy shows up in front of Biggie’s brownstone and breaks the news. Diddy’s loss is also Big’s loss, because the burgeoning mogul was the future rap king’s only champion at the label. They went from two of the hottest in the game to two have-nots in an instant.
“That’s one of the scenes that’s very pivotal, where I think Big wrote ‘Everyday Struggle’ [based] off of the scene,” said [movieperson id="1021921"]Jamal “Gravy” Woolard[/movieperson], who stars as the Notorious B.I.G. in the film . ( For more classic Biggie tracks, check out Mixtape Monday‘s fantasy B.I.G. playlist .) “When Puff comes up and says, ‘There’s no more deal,’ he had lost his deal with Uptown [Records], and Big is hurt. As a man, I think the trust issue was playing in that scene. It was real touchy.”
The pair eventually bet on each other. Big trusted that Puff would find a new situation, and Puff put his all behind Biggie and Bad Boy.
Woolard said it was simple to get into character for the scene. As an upcoming rapper himself, Woolard garnered some buzz on the mixtape circuit but wasn’t able to capitalize when he lost his own recording deal.
“When I shot the scene, it was easy to tap into that emotion, because I know what it’s like to hear that bad news,” he said. “I understand the struggle when you’re trying to get somewhere and feed your family. Big was trying to take care of his family, take care of his mom. And when it don’t happen, it really touches you in a certain way. You try to get up and plant your feet, but there’s always an obstacle. But Big got around those obstacles, and [he and Puff eventually] built their trust. I think that [the firing] is touching, because they build their trust there.”
And the rest was history in the making.
MTV News has some B.I.G. things on the horizon surrounding “Notorious” — stay tuned for more this week!