The news of the recent passing of Brooklyn-based DJ 50 Grand (sometimes spelled 50 Gran), a.k.a. Kevin Griffin, saddened many of his childhood friends, as well as several of his music companions.
Junior Mafia’s Lil Cease shared heartfelt sentiments on his Instagram account: “This One Hurt Man :’(!! We 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 GonnaBe Missed!!! @kevin50grangriffin.”
During early 1991, as part of The Old Gold Brothers, based out of Bed-Stuy’s Lafayette Gardens Houses, aka L.G.=Loaded Guns, he became acquainted with a local aspiring artist named Biggie Smalls through mutual fiend D-Roc, and cut a demo tape recording which included the tracks “Guaranteed Raw,” “Love No Hoe,” and “Microphone Murderer.”
Legendary MC, Big Daddy Kane’s former DJ, Mister Cee took that demo tape to The Source magazine, which led up to Biggie being featured in its Unsigned Hype column. The prominent exposure eventually garnered the attention of Uptown Records’ CEO, Andre Harrell, and A&R Sean Combs. This led to Biggie being featured on several memorable recordings with Heavy D, Mary J. Blige and Super Cat, prior to launching his solo career in 1994 on Bad Boy Records.
Despite Biggie’s multi-platinum success, he never forgot his friend, mentioning him on several recordings, and they remained close friends until Biggie’s March 9, 1997, murder in Los Angeles.
In a 2011 interview, 50 Grand reflected: “I started working with Big in ’91. I was 21, he was 15. I met him through a friend of mine. They hustled together on [the intersection of] Bedford and Quincy.
People in the neighborhood knew him as the hottest rapper around. Everybody that stepped in his path, he ate ’em up. He earned that stripe from that one battle he had at Bedford and Quincy. I was the one that was playing the music.”
DJ 50 Grand attended the tribute to his late friend, Biggie, at Lincoln Center on June 10, just days prior to passing. Varying reports listing his cause of death have been reported, one being due to cancer, and another being a heart attack. Neither was confirmed. Reportedly, he was funeralized at Brooklyn’s Grace Funeral Chapel (607 N. Conduit Blvd.) the following week.