Hip hop heads will remember that the Tha Dogg Pound’s “New York, New York”, released on September 17, 1995 was one of the key moments when the East Coast-West Coast rivalry stepped up to the next level.
While Kurupt, Daz and Snoop would allege that the song was initially meant as a tribute to New York, during the filming of the music video in Red Hook, Brooklyn, the set was fired upon in a drive-by. As a result, the West Coast rappers decided to turn the song into a diss against the East Coast, filming themselves knocking down the city’s iconic skyscrapers.
This in turn lead to Capone-N-Noreaga collaborating with Mobb Deep and Tragedy Khadafi to release the response song “L.A., L.A.” The incident also prompted 2Pac, on behalf of his new Death Row family, to step up his involvement in the coastal beef. Things just snowballed from there.
But what a lot of rap fans won’t know is that Biggie actually rapped over the “New York, New York” beat first. The song’s producer, DJ Pooh, gave the Brooklyn rapper the instrumental so he could rap on it for the St. Ides commercial.
In an interview with Chad Kiser for DubCNN, Kurupt revealed that Pooh had actually gave him the beat first and he started writing to it.
“He [DJ Pooh] had gave the beat to me [before], because when I heard it, I said, ‘This is mine!’” Kurupt recalled. “I had it for a while because I wrote everything at home, and it was special to me because this is where I was going to make history for Kurupt, and finally get to show the world my true skills on the mic, and show them how much of an MC I am.”
But while Kurupt was writing to the song, St. Ides dropped the commercial featuring Big rapping over the instrumental, which prompted the Philadelphia-born rapper to knock out the record as quickly as possible.
Kurupt: So, the St. Ides commercial comes out and it reminded me that that was my beat, and I said I‘d better go to the studio and knock the song out! Biggie was busting on it and I was like, ‘Biggie’s about to get my beat!’ I went in the studio the next day! It was really Daz on the hook first, freestyling and having fun. I had just laid my verse and the beat was just playing as I was going through my second verse, then Dogg came in and he was singing the Melle Mel and Grandmaster Flash “New York, New York big city of dreams, and everything in New York.” and DJ Pooh said, “Stop! That’s it! Go in there and lay that as the hook.” Instantaneous classic. It changed my career. It changed my life. And I go the opportunity to show the world what I’m best at on this mic.Exclusive Kurupt Interview (March 2018) | DubCNN