Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘MSG Freestyle’ Gets Animated
Notorious B.I.G. routinely made microphone magic happen early in his career. Who can forget the image of the 17-year old Biggie ripping competitors apart on the streets of Bed-Stuy? Well, one of Big’s most quoted moments comes from a verse that’s known as the ‘Madison Square Garden freestyle’ and it recently received an animated treatment.
As to the origins of the recording, the verse, known for its refrain — “Where Brooklyn at? Where Brooklyn at?” — was dropped early in Biggie’s career during a feature at Madison Square Garden. Veteran DJ Mr. Cee explained that the performance came during an event called the Budweiser Superfest in 1993. He had 10 minutes to put together a hip-hop performance to open for other performers like Patti LaBelle and Tony! Toni! Toné! and reached out to Big for a verse during the rushed mayhem backstage.
“Big had the record ‘Party and Bullsh–‘ out from the ‘Who’s the Man?’ soundtrack,” Cee explained to MTV News earlier this year. “He was starting to bubble. When we got to the Garden, Tupac was there anyway. The movie ‘Poetic Justice’ just came out the week before. Everybody was already hype off ‘Pac, because the ‘Poetic Justice’ movie came out. [The freestyle] just came about backstage. ‘Pac, Big, the Rugged Child Shyheim. We just brought all of them onstage, and the magic happened. I recorded that on a cassette inside Madison Square Garden. So the whole ‘Where Brooklyn at?’ To this day, when they hear that, they know [that Madison Square Garden show] is where that comes from. I recorded that on cassette, then it eventually got transferred to vinyl and became probably one of the illest live hip-hop performances of all time.”