The Notorious B.I.G.’s crown and photograph by Barron Claiborne at Sotheby’s. (Source: Instagram)
Sotheby’s, the world’s oldest and largest internationally recognized firm of fine art auctioneers, recently sold over $2 million worth of iconic items celebrating hip-hop’s five decades of cultural impact. The auction was organized by Monica Lynch, the former president of Tommy Boy Records.
The majority of items were consigned directly by artists or their estates and included: Notorious B.I.G./Barron Claiborne Crown + Photograph, DJ Ross One’s “Wall of Boom” (featuring a stack of 32 rare and vintage, and in some cases still functioning, 1980s boomboxes), the Tommy Boy DJ Headquarters Original Neon Sign, plus a lot of 22 love letters written by a high school-aged Tupac Shakur.
A portion of Sotheby’s proceeds from the auction benefitted the Queens Public Library Foundation to support their hip-hop programs and Building Beats, a non-profit community organization focused on DJing and music production programs.
Impressive to note here is that the artifacts, in many cases, sold well over their expected auction price. Biggie’s‘s crown — worn in a 1997 “King of New York” photoshoot with photographer Barron Claiborne — was sold for $595,000, which is 100% more than the estimated $300,000 auction price. Factor in the fact that Claiborne originally purchased the crown for six dollars; that’s a mind-blowing six million percent increase in worth.
The original neon sign at Tommy Boy’s headquarters exceeded nearly 200% of its expected auction value. However, the most staggering figure is that an original, sealed 12″ copy of Rammellzee vs. K-Rob “Beat Bop” (featuring artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat) exceeded pre-auction expectations by three-thousand percent. At $126,000, it has been declared, by Sotheby’s as “the most expensive hip-hop vinyl record sold at auction.”
There is no word as to when Sotheby’s will schedule another hip-hop auction. However, an unexpectedly lucrative marketplace exists for these items, of which many are likely available for auction.
Related Post: Tommy Boy Releases Second Volume of Tracks on DJcity
Emerging Toronto DJ/producer Lincoln Baio has given The Notorious B.I.G.‘s timeless anthem “Hypnotize” a dancehall twist. His 102 BPM rework adds new drums and samples while keeping much of the original track intact.
Preview the remix below and download it exclusively on DJcity.
Follow Lincoln Baio on Instagram.
Genius’ Deconstructed series focuses on recent tracks, but occasionally it breaks down classics.
On the latest episode, Deconstructed sits down with legendary producer Buckwild to discuss the making of The Notorious B.I.G.‘s “I Got a Story to Tell.” The track, which was released in 1997, appears on the rapper’s second and final studio album, Life After Death.
A member of the D.I.T.C. crew, Buckwild is best known for producing hip-hop classics like Black Rob’s “Woah!,” Big L’s “Put It On,” O.C.’s “Time’s Up,” and Organized Konfusion’s “Stress.”
On the episode, Buck says that Biggie liked his productions, but didn’t think Buck had any tracks that worked for him. “It’s like basketball when they say you can’t hit a jump shot, you go back in the gym and keep shooting,” Buck says.
Eventually, the Bronx producer sent him a beat tape which included the instrumental for “I Got a Story to Tell.” The rest was history.
Watch Buck break down the track above.
Wax Only is a series that showcases samples used on classic hip-hop albums. It’s hosted by Power 106’s Production Director, Vin Rican.
Ready to Die was Biggie’s only studio album to be released during his lifetime. It featured the singles “Juicy,” “Big Poppa,” and “One More Chance,” and sampled artists like Dr. Dre, James Brown, and The Isley Brothers, and Mtume. Released on Bad Boy Records, the album reached No. 15 on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified quadruple platinum in 1999.
Watch above to see Vinny go through the samples from the album.
The track, which was produced by DJ Premier and features an unreleased Biggie verse, is taken from Faith and the late rapper’s upcoming duets album.
Fretless Fridays is a weekly series that features DJ Brace scratching over well-known songs using John Beez’s Fretless Fader.
Emerging producer Arona Mane has returned with a new groover just in time for pool season. Clocking in at 110 BPM, “Loungin” combines rhythmic nu disco-style production with samples of The Notorious B.I.G. and Royce da 5’9. Stream it below and download it on DJcity.
Related: Nas’ ‘It Ain’t Hard to Tell’ Gets Futuristic Remix From Arona Mane
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