DJ 50 Grand, the man responsible for the demo tape that put The Notorious B.I.G. on the map, has passed away at age 55.
50 Grand, born Kevin Griffin, not only served as a producer on Biggie’s Microphone Murderers demo tape, he also ensured that it got into the right hands, thus launching the legendary rapper’s career as we know it.
In a previous interview with Fader Magazine, 50 Grand explained how he first learned of Biggie’s incomparable talent.
“I started working with Big in ’91,” he recalled. “I was 21, he was 15. I met him through a friend of mine. They hustled together on Bedford and Quincy. People in the neighborhood knew him as the hottest rapper around. Everybody that stepped in his path, he ate ’em up. He earned that stripe from that one battle he had on Bedford and Quincy. I was the one that was playing the music.”
It wasn’t long before the pair linked up in the producer’s basement to record what soon became the launching pad to Biggie’s career.
Once the tape was completed, 50 Grand was able to get the project into the hands of DJ Mister Cee, Big Daddy Kane’s DJ, who eventually transported the tape to Matteo “Matty C” Capuloungo, the person responsible for the infamous “Unsigned Hype” column in The Source Magazine.
It was that very feature article that led to Biggie’s connection with a young executive at Uptown Records, known to the world today as the legendary Sean “Diddy” Combs.
Fellow Junior M.A.F.I.A rapper Lil Cease took to Instagram to express his condolences and pay homage to the renowned DJ.
“This one hurt man,” he wrote in a caption. “We was literally just celebrating wit you for Big. Wouldn’t be no Big if it wasn’t for you. we love you 50 Grand and Your gonna be missed.”
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