The Notorious B.I.G. Was a Mentor to This Iconic New York Rapper

The Notorious B.I.G. is an icon of New York hip-hop and one of the undisputed greatest rappers to ever live. Even though his career in the spotlight only lasted a few years, Biggie cemented his legacy not just with his music, but with the other artists who came up after him whom he helped get started as rappers themselves.

The Notorious B.I.G. performing in a leather vest
The Notorious B.I.G. | Larry Busacca/Getty Images

The Notorious B.I.G. was a New York icon with unforgettable songs

The Notorious B.I.G. first started rapping on the streets of his home neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn in the early 1990s. He was eventually discovered by record executive Puff Daddy (known more commonly today as Diddy) and got to work as a professional recording artist, starting with his smash debut single “Party and Bulls—.”

Biggie’s debut album Ready to Die was released in 1994 and contained several hit songs such as “Juicy,” “
Big Poppa,” and “Gimme the Loot.” Biggie reinvigorated New York hip-hop after years of West Coast domination, led by his friend-turned-enemy Tupac Shakur.

The East Coast vs. West Coast hip-hop feud continued to heat up in the mid-1990s. Biggie began recording his second album, Life After Death, but he never lived to see its release: the album came out just two weeks after his untimely death in 1997.

Toward the end of his life, Biggie took it upon himself to foster some of the best new rap stars of tomorrow, such as his Junior M.A.F.I.A. groupmate Lil’ Kim.

The Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Biggie Smalls on the red carpet
The Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Biggie Smalls | Larry Busacca/WireImage

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The Notorious B.I.G. was a mentor to Jadakiss

Three of Biggie’s labelmates on Diddy’s Bad Boy Records were Jadakiss, Sheek Louch, and Styles P, who made up the group The LOX. The group became close with The Notorious B.I.G., who took them under his wing.

Jadakiss reflected on his relationship with Biggie in a 2020 interview with Talib Kweli for Uproxx. “Whenever we would get a chance to be at the studio while Big had sessions, we would just go inside his session and pick his brain [and] ask him mad questions,” he recalled. “He liked our work ethic. He really f—-d with us. He dug us. He told us he was happy we was doing the label with him, and we was going to do a lot of big things — music and tours — and he had big plans for us working together.”

“He just always instilled keeping the hunger and never take no days off,” he continued, adding that being around for moments in the studio with Biggie and other hip-hop icons was “priceless.”

Jadakiss marveled at Biggie’s ability to lay down cold verses while there was so much activity in the studio in a 2020 interview with HipHopDX. “Just the way he could conduct a studio session with so much going on and then the final product was incredible,” he said. “It’s like party session, but he was still able to focus and weed all that out, concentrate and lock in on the song or the topic or whatever he was doing and make the s— come out amazing.”

Jadakiss visits the Build series
Jadakiss | Jim Spellman/Getty Images

Jadakiss became successful with The LOX and as a solo artist

After Biggie’s death, The LOX went on to have several chart hits, including their number-one single “Money, Power, & Respect” with DMX and Lil’ Kim and their feature on Jennifer Lopez’s “Jenny From the Block.”

Jadakiss’s solo career kicked off in 2001 with his debut album Kiss Tha Game Goodbye, which featured popular guests such as DMX, Eve, Snoop Dogg, Nas, and Swizz Beatz. The album was certified gold with over half a million copies sold.

Jadakiss’ second album Kiss of Death was released in 2004. The single “Why?” became one of the year’s biggest hits, boosted by a remix with Common, Nas, and his LOX groupmate Styles P. “Why?” peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains Jadakiss’ biggest hit to date, while another single from the record, “U Make Me Wanna” featuring Mariah Carey, peaked at number 21. 

Jadakiss has continued to release music as a solo artist, with his most recent project being 2020’s Ignatius.