The online auction house Paddle8 will be auctioning the original contracts documenting the transition of late rap star Biggie Smalls, aka Christopher Wallace, and Sean Combs, founder of Bad Boy Records, from working with Uptown Records to signing on to a joint venture with Arista Records in 1993.
“The nine-page Bad Boy lot—which is expected to fetch between $5,000 and $7,000—includes Notorious BIG’s termination agreement with Uptown Records, signed months before the rapper released his massively successful 1994 debut, ‘Ready to Die.’ The document features the only authentic Wallace signature to ever be offered to the public,” says a report from Rolling Stone.
The auctioned documents trace Comb’s business strategies as he signed Smalls while working for Uptown Records and transitioned to Arista, which partnered with Combs and Bad Boy Records, essentially maintaining Smalls as an artist.
The Rolling Stone report continues, “Combs had signed Biggie while working at Uptown, where he began as an intern and worked his way up to vice president. While there, he founded Bad Boy and was named its CEO, but in 1993, Uptown’s Andre Harrell accused him of insubordination and fired him.
“The termination agreement—technically between Biggie and Uptown’s distributor, MCA Records—allowed the rapper to buy back the masters to the two singles he’d released at the time (‘Party and Bullshit’ and ‘Flip That Shit’) alongside ‘Ready to Die’ tracks the rapper had recorded, but not released, for just $326,092.91. ‘Ready to Die’ would go on to sell over 2 million copies and establish Biggie as one of the genre’s most influential and revered rappers.
“Biggie would eventually sign with Clive Davis’ Arista Records, which bought Bad Boy for almost $2 million. A letter confirming the escrow agreement between Arista and Combs is included in the lot and charmingly begins, ‘Dear Puff…’”