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Nobody Rides For Free: The Lost 12″ by Biggie Smallz

As a preface, I’ve seen a few writers cover this topic over the years, but the sheer amount of blank…

As a preface, I’ve seen a few writers cover this topic over the years, but the sheer amount of blank stares the conversation elicits on my part suggests that revisiting it wouldn’t be such bad idea. I’ve made it no secret in the past that I’m a vinyl head. I spent many a sunny afternoon in my rip-roaring 20s digging for vinyl at my local record spots. One day, while digging in a leaky store basement through some bargain bins I came across a 12″ called “Nobody Rides For Free,” by Biggie Smallz. The Z–for whatever reason– didn’t seem weird. Being that it was from some no name record label, I assumed I’d stumbled upon some gold. I headed back to the lab, naturally excited, only to pop it on and realize this was not–in fact–the portly rapper better known as the Notorious B.I.G, but a relatively unknown white rapper from LA who shared the same name.

My first question was, how can this be? Well, apparently, he is one of three Biggies that exist. This one guy was, unbelievably, connected to the late-great prolific rap icon Tupac Shakur. The artist was working with Pac’s go-to producer Johnny J–who had produced well over 100 tracks with Pac. Johnny saw Biggie was starting to blow up, so he asked Pac if–as a favor to him–he could ask Biggie to change his name to help avoid market confusion. Unbelievably, Puff let that happen. Well, Biggie Smallz had only really released three records before he was tragically murdered in 1994 outside of a liquor store; however, there aren’t many–or rather, any–details outside of these records about his backstory, which makes him quite mysterious. Unfortunately all his seemingly closest associates are all dead.

As I mentioned, there was also ANOTHER Biggie Smalls, who also went by Big Dirk. Dirk was a member of the Live Squad, who Pac also linked with; Big Stretch was also part of this crew. Unfortunately, Dirk passed away before him and Pac could collaborate, but his death helped to spark one of the most cited pieces of audio proof that Pac’s death was seemingly faked — notably, the intro where Pac says “rest in peace to my motherfucking nigga Biggie Smalls.” It’s been noted Shock G and a few others in Pac’s circle that this was, in fact, a salute to Dirk.

Well, this rabbit hole of hip-hop knowledge is ultimately brought to you by Biggie Smallz, so I’ll leave a few of his records below. Random, amazing.

RIP Johnny J, Pac, Dirk, and Biggie Smallz.

Keep Digging.

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns
#IndieSpotlight, interview, Interviews, Main

#IndieSpotlight: Reíne Imoan Sets The Tone With Her Soulful Debut “Soul Sista”

Long Island, New York, singer Reíne Imoan is about to make a splash in 2019 with her debut VWR. Her…

Long Island, New York, singer Reíne Imoan is about to make a splash in 2019 with her debut VWR. Her first official single “Soul Sista” produced by Shepard X is out now — and as Imoan recounts to AAHH, the track was fun to create. “It was made off of groove and straight vibes … brings me back to the late 90’s early 2000’s, which was one of my fave eras of music.

“I remember Shepard X introducing the beat to me with the concept and instantly I started bopping and knew I had to have it,” she continues.

She has always been involved in music — and it all started with her father, who used to play his vast music collection constantly. “From Roots Reggae to R&B soul every Sunday dinner,” she recalls with a smile.

“I remember singing the first verse I ever wrote to my friends and they hyped me so much,” she says. That push made me want to keep going and see what else I can do. I searched on youtube for beats and just kept writing. I felt it in my heart that this is what I’d be doing for sure.”

All roads have led to her upcoming project, but she’s not rushing anything. “I want to take my time with this one and give people something they can relate and bump to,” she says adding that the collaborations lined up are worth waiting for. I used to rush things because I saw other people putting stuff out … I was just so eager to get out there. But I had to center myself and say Fuck that, take your time and don’t let others make you feel like you have to rush anything. Quality over quantity, always.”

Ultimately, she’s crafting a first impression that she hopes will be great. “I’m working every day and practicing my craft to be one of the best entertainers in the industry. I plan on writing songs for other singers and artist in the industry, along with working with them on projects,” she says, describing her long-term objectives.

“After I drop my EP, I’m going to keep creating and see where the universe lands me. I plan on doing lots of performances this year and putting myself out there. Later in my career, I plan on dabbling into acting — another art that I’ve always enjoyed. When God gives you a talent, I believe you have to share it with the world.”

Check out her debut single, “Soul Sista,” below.

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Featured, Main

Last ‘On The Cusp’ Playlist Of 2018

On The Cusp is a living playlist dedicated to showcasing the buzzing new music on our radar — as curated…

On The Cusp is a living playlist dedicated to showcasing the buzzing new music on our radar — as curated by our writer Riley Wallace. For all inquiries and submissions, hit up the playlist’s official Twitter feed.

This week’s cover artist is EverythigOShaun.

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#IndieSpotlight, Main

#IndieSpotlight: Dylan 333 Is Breaking The Mold

Some follow the obvious that optically appears to be the most comfortable; North Carolina native Dylan 333 is breaking the…

Some follow the obvious that optically appears to be the most comfortable; North Carolina native Dylan 333 is breaking the mould. With only a month having elapsed since he first decided to try his hand at a career in music, he managed to amass some admirable number and gain the attention of one of the SoundCloud generation’s most notorious influencers, Adam22.

“The first week of my second song release — ‘Drum Talk’ — I caught the attention of Adam22 [nojumper] and was posted on his live stream,” he tells AAHH. “He reposted my song on Soundcloud and that instantly gave me the boost I needed.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BryY1HZDPqc/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

The attention earned him an invite to freestyle on the famed Most Wanted Radio on North Carolina’s 72.9. “[That appearance] gave me a local/regional platform in my city to build on,” he says. His first 30 days in the game saw him earn 50,000+ (organic) plays, 5,000+ likes and features on Funkmaster Flex’s Facebook and Tokyo Tonis Instagram — and even a like by JuiceWrld which is akin to proof of attention.

“I also have struck a distribution deal with AWAL where I can get my music out to performance centers and all major platforms,” he adds proudly. All quite impressive for a young upstart with four songs to his credit — all of which he produced and recorded independently in his bedroom. There is also a lot of foresight on his part, as he’s launched his own imprint, 333 Records, which is the primary owner/publisher of his music.

Born on the island of Jamaica, and later relocating to North Carolina, Dylan describes his sound as a mixture of dancehall and American rap. “[That blend] makes me sound extremely different from other artists,” he says proudly. “I started off as a producer so when it came to the point of me creating (my own) music I could produce myself without any help.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrqkiZbjP0H/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

 

With the recent success energizing his grind, he reveals to AAHH that he is currently working on his debut album, which he plans to release in 2019 — though he has no set date.

“My goal is to come into the game and actually change it,” he says humbly. “I want to inspire people to try out different things instead of investing all their money into education.”

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#IndieSpotlight, Main

#IndieSpotlight: Dylan 333 Is Breaking The Mold

Some follow the obvious that optically appears to be the most comfortable; North Carolina native Dylan 333 is breaking the…

Some follow the obvious that optically appears to be the most comfortable; North Carolina native Dylan 333 is breaking the mould. With only a month having elapsed since he first decided to try his hand at a career in music, he managed to amass some admirable number and gain the attention of one of the SoundCloud generation’s most notorious influencers, Adam22.

“The first week of my second song release — ‘Drum Talk’ — I caught the attention of Adam22 [nojumper] and was posted on his live stream,” he tells AAHH. “He reposted my song on Soundcloud and that instantly gave me the boost I needed.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BryY1HZDPqc/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

The attention earned him an invite to freestyle on the famed Most Wanted Radio on North Carolina’s 72.9. “[That appearance] gave me a local/regional platform in my city to build on,” he says. His first 30 days in the game saw him earn 50,000+ (organic) plays, 5,000+ likes and features on Funkmaster Flex’s Facebook and Tokyo Tonis Instagram — and even a like by JuiceWrld which is akin to proof of attention.

“I also have struck a distribution deal with AWAL where I can get my music out to performance centers and all major platforms,” he adds proudly. All quite impressive for a young upstart with four songs to his credit — all of which he produced and recorded independently in his bedroom. There is also a lot of foresight on his part, as he’s launched his own imprint, 333 Records, which is the primary owner/publisher of his music.

Born on the island of Jamaica, and later relocating to North Carolina, Dylan describes his sound as a mixture of dancehall and American rap. “[That blend] makes me sound extremely different from other artists,” he says proudly. “I started off as a producer so when it came to the point of me creating (my own) music I could produce myself without any help.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrqkiZbjP0H/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

 

With the recent success energizing his grind, he reveals to AAHH that he is currently working on his debut album, which he plans to release in 2019 — though he has no set date.

“My goal is to come into the game and actually change it,” he says humbly. “I want to inspire people to try out different things instead of investing all their money into education.”

Continue Reading
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Fresh Off The Decks: Fall Mega-Mix

You know us -- every season we hit you with a mega-mix packed with old school gems and new school...

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