August 1994: Notorious B.I.G. Debuts with "Juicy"

Submitted by notoriousclassics on Tue, 10/20/2020 - 19:46
Image from JUICY video

The legend Notorious B.I.G. arrived fully formed on August 9, 1994, with the release of his debut single, "Juicy." The song hit the hip-hop nation like a bomb, reverberating out of summer cruising car stereos and storefront bodegas across America.

Produced by Poke of the Trackmasters and Sean Combs, the song's smooth, laid-back groove comes courtesy of a substantial sample of Mtume's 1983 hit, "Juicy Fruit." The idea for using the R&B classic for a hip-hop track was inspired by iconic producer Pete Rock, who claims that Combs stole it for "Juicy."

"I did the original version, didn't get credit for it," Rock told Wax Poetics. "They came to my house, heard the beat going on the drum machine, it's the same story. You come downstairs at my crib, you hear music. He heard that s--t and the next thing you know it comes out. They had me do a remix, but I tell people, and I will fight it to the end, that I did the original version of that. I'm not mad at anybody, I just want the correct credit."

While Pete Rock was given a remix on the original single, he has yet to be credited for the original song.

"Juicy" was a breakout smash, soaring up the charts to peak at #1 on the Hot Rap Singles chart. The tune even broke through the mainstream, crashing the top 40 to reach #27 on the Hot 100 for the week of November 5, 1994. The #1 song in America that week: Boyz II Men with "I'll Make Love to You."