The year was 1994.  Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy or Diddy had been let go from his position as vice president of Uptown Records talent and marketing divisions by his mentor Andre Harrell.  At that point in time he had built up a track record helping shape and mold acts on the label’s roster including Jodeci and Mary J Blige.  He had also brought onto the roster the Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls.  Puff Daddy at the time was working on forming Bad Boy Records which was going to be distributed through Uptown Records.  Biggie was going to be the first act on the new fledging label.

While on Uptown Biggie had been building up his name showing up on some high profile r&b remixes including Mary J Blige’s “Real Love” and Neneh Cherry’s “Buddy”. As well as appearances on tracks with hip hop heavyweights including Heavy D and 2Pac when they were close friends. Once Puff Daddy had been dropped from Uptown he had to figure out his next move.

Mary J Blige – Real Love (remix) feat. Notorious B.I.G.

 

Neneh Cherry – Buddy (remix) feat. Notorious B.I.G.

Heavy D –Let’s Get It On feat. 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G., Grand Puba & Spunk Bigga

During this time as well Puff Daddy had crossed paths with up and coming artist Craig Mack. Craig Mack’s demo had landed in the hands of Puff Daddy while on Uptown Records.  They then met for the first time at the legendary club “Mecca” in Manhattan, New York.  The way the story goes was that Craig Mack freestyled over a Mary J Blige song and Puff Daddy gave him a record deal on the spot.  Ironically the first record they would work together on was the remix to Mary J Blige’s song “You Don’t Have To Worry” off her album Whats The 411? Remix.

Mary J Blige – You Don’t Have To Worry (remix) feat. Craig Mack & Puff Daddy

Fortunately Puff Daddy was able to find a new home and distribution through Clive Davis’s Arista Records.  To create a buzz for the record label and these artists Puff Daddy came out with an unforgettable marketing campaign.  He would package and distribute promo music from the both of them, packaged like a McDonald’s Big Mac but would call it the B.I.G. Mack to play off the last names of the emcees monikers.

The results would exceed everyone’s expectations.  Craig Mack’s Funk Da World would go gold and the single “Flava In Your Ear” would go platinum and the follow up single “Get Down” would go gold.  As everyone knows Biggie’s career went into the stratosphere with his album Ready To Die eventually going 6x platinum and the single “Juicy” going gold while the follow up singles “Big Poppa” and “One More Chance” both hitting the platinum mark.

Craig Mack and Biggie would have two tracks together that were officially released.  One of them was famously the “Flava In Your Ear” remix.  The other track was titled “Let Me Get Down” which was released on Biggie’s album Born Again which came out in 1999.  It was actually a reworking of a track they had done together circa 1994 that had come out on a Marc Ecko Lyricist Lounge mixtape.  As well as freestyles captured on radio shows of legendary Dj’s Funkmaster Flex and Tim Westwood.

Craig Mack – Flava In Your Ear (remix) feat. Notorious B.I.G, Rampage, LL Cool J, & Busta Rhymes

Craig Mack –  Let Me Get Down feat. Biggie

Craig Mack & Biggie – Let Me Get Down (Born Again version)

Craig Mack & Biggie –  Funkmaster Flex Freestyle

Craig Mack & Biggie – Tim Westwood Freestyle

The “B.I.G Mack” marketing campaign was the catalyst for Bad Boy Records with Craig Mack, Notorious B.I.G, and Puff Daddy making history.  Bad Boy records would eventually become one of the most successful record labels of all time across all genres.  Craig Mack would place his stamp on hip-hop being the first act to launch the label off the ground.  Notorious B.I.G would create a legacy and be considered amongst the greats.  Lastly Puff Daddy would eventually become a rich and powerful business mogul who is closing in on billionaire status.

Craig Mack: Beyond Flava In Your Ear

Jermaine Dupri and Biggie: Brotherhood

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