Don't Sleep: Necessary Notables
Mixtape DVD: "March 9: Video Remix Collection"
Headliners: The Notorious B.I.G., Ralph McDaniels and J.Period
Key Cameos: No guest stars, but you have to check for the blends. "Flava in Ya Ear" over the track from Jay-Z's "P.S.A." "Hypnotize" over the track from Eric B and Rakim's "Paid in Full." "One More Chance" over the instrumental from Mary Jane Girls' "All Night Long" and the Gap Band's "Outstanding."
Essential Info: Ralph McDaniels is hip-hop. He's been documenting the culture since the beginning. In the early '80s, McDaniels, then a college student, would tape footage of hip-hop godfathers like Grand Master Flash and Melle Mel, not because he had an outlet to put it on, but because he knew in his heart that the culture had to be recorded. Thirty years later, McDaniels can be considered an architect himself, with his New York-based video program "Video Music Box" becoming a staple in rap. It was the place where you could find all videos from new artists as well as the stars every day after school. Jay-Z, Wu-Tang Clan, BBD, KRS-One and countless others not only sent their videos in, they gave McDaniels interviews at a time when we didn't see much hip-hop on TV.
One of McDaniels' favorite subjects was the Notorious B.I.G. Uncle Ralph described Biggie as being very serious in the booth but a jokester that could rival the Kings of Comedy when he wasn't working. McDaniels also remembers Biggie as a "student of the game."
"I have footage of him at a Big Daddy Kane concert, and he was just in the crowd," McDaniels told Mixtape Daily. "He was a student of the game. He knew Kane was an MC from Brooklyn that came early. That told me a lot. He wasn't anybody yet; he was just a cat trying to get on. To be around a guy like that, hilarious. I would want to be a Junior M.A.F.I.A. member just to be down with that cat there."
McDaniels recently teamed with J.Period to salute Big Poppa with a collection of remix videos called "March 9: Video Remix Collection."
"This thing was kinda the next evolution of the March 9th remix project I started on the 10th anniversary of Big passing with my man G. Brown," Period explained. "I been speaking to Ralph for a minute — I love what he does; he likes what I do with the mixtapes — about finding a way to collabo. This seems like the best first step: Find somebody like Big, take the remixes and see what happens. When you set it to video, it takes it to life in a whole new way."
"I always like looking for something new, something different," McDaniels said. "I was familiar with J.Period's original CD mixtape. I was like, 'This is kinda dope.' That's when we started talking about it. So I'll take the visuals. Sometimes, the visuals don't match, because there might be edits and all kinds of things like that involved. I have to find something that fits for that particular scene. I have to use my imagination and think about the fans as well. What would they like to see? Because I'm a music-video person, I live for the visuals. ... We try to input some of these things in to the video mixes. Biggie don't have a lot of videos he did, maybe only like five or six videos he was in. So we had to get creative. Thankfully, the ones we put out, they were ones he had videos for. But there's some songs like 'Party and Bullsh--' that there were no videos for. But there's footage out there of him performing. That's the creative stuff we had to work on fitting it together."
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