(From left to right) Lil' Kim, Notorious B.I.G and Diddy at the 1995 Billboard Awards. Photo credit: Mitchell Gerber/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

It has been reported that Notorious B.I.G wanted to leave Diddy‘s Bad Boy Records before his untimely death in 1997.

In a new exposé by Rolling Stone, several people corroborated the long-standing rumour that the Brooklyn rapper wanted to leave the label. At the time, Diddy – real name Sean Combs – was in a legal battle with the rapper’s lawyers over the publishing rights to Biggie Smalls’ music.

“I will never give it up until I’m dead and my bones are crushed into powder,” Combs told the lawyers, according the book The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop. Diddy started the process of returning the publishing rights to all Bad Boy artists last September.

’90s hip-hop photographer Monique Bunn told Rolling Stone: “[Biggie] was absolutely about to leave Puff. I know for a fact [because] he told me that.”

Another unnamed source added: “Everybody wanted to leave Puffy. Everybody leaves him.”

Notorious B.I.G and Diddy in March 1997. pHOTO CREDIT: Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Notorious B.I.G and Diddy in March 1997. pHOTO CREDIT: Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Rolling Stone further accused Combs of “capitalising on the shock and sorrow” of Smalls death after he was murdered in a drive-by shooting in March 1997. The ‘Bad Boy For Life’ star denied the leave request of LaJoyce Brookshire, Arista and Bad Boy’s former publicity director who was travelling with the rapper the day before his death. Instead, he demanded that employees worked towards Biggy’s posthumous album ‘Life After Death’ hitting Number One upon its release.

A few months after B.I.G’s death, Bad Boy Records was approached by Rolling Stone to feature on its cover. The label’s co-founder and then-president Kirk Burrowes repotedly suggested the honour should go to the late rapper.

“[Combs’s] was like, ‘No, he’s dead. I’m putting out [debut album] ‘No Way Out’ in July. I need to be on the cover of Rolling Stone,’” Burrowes shared. This came to be as Diddy was on the cover of an August 1997 issue of the magazine. The move was frowned upon even by Suge Knight – the founder and former CEO of Death Row Records and boss of Smalls’ rival, Tupac.

“When Pac left, I didn’t pick up a microphone,” Knight said on his Collect Call podcast (per Rolling Stone). “I picked up the pieces.”

Back in 2017, Dame Dash revealed in an interview that Smalls was on the verge of leaving Bad Boy Records to join Roc-A-Fella before passing away.

“Biggie’s plan was [to] give Puff [Diddy] and them like three more albums then come sign with us, and we was gon’ do The Commission,” he told Hip Hop Motivation.

“That was what was gonna happen, or at least that’s what was talked about very seriously. I think that’s why he did a double album. He was gonna do a triple album, and he was gonna be out his contract, and then he was gonna come fuck with us.”

In 2021, Gene Deal – a former bodyguard of the mogul’s – said B.I.G. had a record label offer worth more than $60million (approximately £47.1million) on the table before his death.

Deal said he saw the ‘Hypnotise’ star’s Bad Boy Records contract when he was watching over Diddy’s briefcase during a flight. It outlined the rapper’s earnings in increments of USD$250,000 (£196,387.50) but Diddy owned all publishing rights.

“He showed me. It had Charli Baltimore, Cam’ron, Lil’ Cease, Lil’ Kim, Junior M.A.F.I.A., Tracy Lee, and the Commission,” he explained. “I think the contract was for so many years for like $62million — it comes out to $62million.” Deal added that Smalls wanted to stop Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s way of doing business and have them “start writing and holding their own.”

B.I.G. reporteDLY planned to take Lil Kim and Deal along with him to the next label, but he believed the bodyguard was too loyal to Diddy.

Diddy has recently had numerous lawsuits from former employees made against him for physical and sexual abuse.

His former signee and ex-girlfriend of 11 years, Cassie Ventura, filed a lawsuit against Diddy last November, accusing her former partner of rape and repeated physical assault. The two then settled the suit “to mutual satisfaction” the following day.

Back in March, producer Rodney ‘Lil Rod’ Jones – who worked on Diddy’s latest album, ‘The Love Album: Off The Grid’also filed against his former collaborator, accusing him of sexual assault, coercing him to have sex with prostitutes, and having parties where underage girls and sex workers were both present. Diddy called Jones’ claims “pure fiction”.

In the same month, Diddy’s homes in Miami and LA were raided by US Homeland Security regarding a multi-state sex-trafficking investigation.

Last week, April Lampros – a former intern at Arista Records (the parent company of Bad Boy Records) – accused Combs of sexual assault, saying he “love-bombed her” into “an aggressive, coercive, and abusive relationship based on sex”.

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs has continued to deny all allegations against him.

Other employees of Diddy’s have spoken out against him, including his former head of security Roger Bonds – who said he saw the entrepreneur “get really physical” with Ventura and the late mother of his children, Kim Porter.

The post Notorious B.I.G reportedly wanted to leave Diddy’s Bad Boy Records before death appeared first on NME.


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