Just about everyone in the hip-hop community will agree that the March 9, 1997 shooting death of Biggie Smalls cut short what promised to be a long and illustrious musical career—in other words, his passing came Too Soon. If there’s a silver lining to that cloud, though, it’s that the legendary emcee was able to inspire so many during his short time in the game, from those who worked with him personally to his legions of devoted fans. On this new tribute record, Joell Ortiz addresses B.I.G. chiefly as a member of the latter category, expressing gratitude for the icon’s legendary contributions to hip-hop, and lamenting the fact that he wasn’t able to continue pushing the genre forward. In addition to contributing a mournful, piano-driven beat, DJ Khalil bookends the record with two poignant samples, the first taken from an interview with Biggie, and the second from a news report of his death. Too Soon is set to appear on a forthcoming collaborative project with Khalil. In anticipation of his Free Agent LP’s summer release, Ortiz also plans to drop a collection of freestyles entitled Covering the Classics and a Pre-Agent mixtape.
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