DJ 50 Grand, who was an integral part in the rise of The Notorious B.I.G., has died. 50 Gran, as he was also known, posted to his Instagram page just under a week ago celebrating with friends and family in the music industry.
Lil Cease, a longtime compatriot of B.I.G., shared the news of DJ 50 Grand’s passing to his Instagram page, noting that the pair just celebrated the 50th birthday of the late rapper in New York.
“This One Hurt Man !! We Was Literally Was Just Celebrating Wit You For Big Smh!! Wouldn’t Be No Big If It Wasn’t For You!! We Love You 50 Grand & Your Gonna Be Missed!! @kevin50grangriffin #RipDj50Grand #Big1stDJ,” read the caption of Cease’s post, which can be seen below.
The story of how 50 Gran and Biggie Smalls joined forces to create the tape was told from his own vantage point in a 2011 Fader piece.
From The Fader:
DJ 50 GRAND (Biggie’s neighborhood friend and first DJ): I was the neighborhood DJ. Me and my man D-Roc, we used to hustle together. Because I knew a lot of people, he asked me to be Big’s DJ. I went to the basement at my crib, we made about four demos and it went from there. After we finished making money, we’d go get beer, weed, some movies and just get in the basement and make tapes for the rest of the day and night. That’s where it went down after the money was made. He taught me a whole lot. He changed me. Breaking down songs, he knew what he wanted, how he wanted it.
One of those early demo tapes made it to the hands of DJ Mister Cee, who eventually became B.I.G.’s DJ. Mista Cee got the demo into the hands of The Source’s Matty C, who included Biggie in the magazine’s Unsigned Hype column and the rest is Hip-Hop history.
Kevin “DJ 50 Grand” Griffin was 55.