Easy Mo Bee Speaks Out About ‘Notorious’ Snub, B.I.G,’s Death
Having crafted beats for Big Daddy Kane, Miles Davis, Busta Rhymes, Craig Mack and most of GZA‘s pre Wu-Tang album ‘Words from the Genius,’ Easy Mo Bee is an indisputable rap legend, and one of the most respected producers ever. However, the height of his career came during hip-hop’s most conflicted period, when Mo Bee was working with a young Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac.
We talked with the Grammy-winning producer about the good ol’ days, how he first met Big and why he was cut from scoring ‘Notorious,’ which hits theaters Jan. 16.
The Boombox: What happened with the ‘Notorious’ score and soundtrack, and why aren’t you on either of them?
Easy Mo Bee: I was contracted to score a portion of the film and also had some extensive connection to the soundtrack, but mysteriously, they packed up the film and moved on without me…neither of them happened.
The Boombox: We were hoping to hear some of your unreleased tracks on the soundtrack. Do you have songs with Biggie that people still haven’t heard?
Easy Mo Bee: Sure man, the original ‘Dead Wrong.’ I got a ‘Me and My B—-’ remix. ‘What You Want N—-,’ the original version. The ‘Dead Wrong’ original was a lot more soulful, a lot harder and a lot more boom bap. ‘Me and My B—-’ was just much more laid back. I can understand why Puffy didn’t use it, but in this day and time, with the rarity of Big material, it would probably be respected. The original ‘What You Want N—-’ was just Biggie, no Jay. There was another joint that was untitled, the title was just ‘Money, Hoes, Clothes.’ He would do that sometimes, just do songs and be like ‘I don’t know what the f— we callin’ it!’
The Boombox: How did you and B.I.G. first meet?
Easy Mo Bee: The first time I ever heard about Big was through Mister Cee. We grew up in the same [housing projects] together. Big Daddy Kane used to come and show up with the limos and with that Volvo and that wide body Benz, to pick up Mister Cee for shows and all that. Biz Markie was coming upstairs to my house and Kane and all of them.
The first song we recorded was ‘Party and Bulls—.’ And immediately thereafter we started recording songs for the album. The first two we recorded were the title track and ‘Gimme the Loot.’ The music was real jazzy at the time and flows was totally different and everything. We didn’t have too much of that rough sound over here, lyrically.
The roughest thing that was coming from New York was Kool G Rap’s album ‘Live and Let Die.’ They came down on that album hard man, they crucified Kool G Rap for that album. And here comes Biggie, and he’s in the booth doing ‘Ready to Die,’ and we get to the lyric, ‘F— the world/f— my moms and my girl/my life is played out like a jheri curl/I’m ready to die.’ And I was like, ‘Yo, you know you just said f— your moms right?’ And he was like ‘Yo Mo, that’s just how I’m feeling right now. That’s just an extension of how I’m feeling. I feel like s— is so rough out here that I feel like I’m ready to die.’
The Boombox: How did you cope with Biggie and Tupac’s death?
Easy Mo Bee: It was traumatic to me. I’ll be honest with you. I couldn’t make music for a couple of months after Pac died. And it was more than just thinking about ‘this dude is gone,’ I’m thinking repercussions. You understand me? Because anybody with common sense would say if they had some heat between them, if one die, what’s supposed to happen to the other one? What now?
But to this day, the sad thing is, we got a whole movie being made and neither one of those brothers murders is solved. I think it’s disgusting. We can make a movie, but these brothers murders are unresolved. And regardless of everything that we think and how it touched us, there’s a mother whose son, both of them, is gone and they don’t know why. Imagine that all they can do is be strong, without the closure…of ever knowing why.